Mom’s always right. She probably told you this a million times throughout your formative years, perhaps falling on deaf or defiant ears. However, at a certain point in life, we realize that mom really was right.
Many of us recall our favorite Mom-isms, ranging from “if you keep making that face it’ll stick that way” to “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” However, some of those classic sayings can also be applied to good personal finance management. In honor of Mother’s Day and the Moms we love, here are the top 5 Mom-isms that translate to important financial lessons.
“You never know until you try.”
Translation: Don’t be in the dark about your FICO score.
A lot of folks are just plain scared to check their FICO score because they’re afraid of how low it will be – but as G.I. Joe said, knowing is half the battle. Who knows, you might even be pleasantly surprised! Knowing your score is the first step towards establishing financial security. Remember that your score won’t change overnight – so the sooner you start establishing positive spending patterns, the better. This will also help you prepare for big purchases – like a new car or home – further down the road.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Translation: look for best deals.
We all know that maxing out your credit cards can spell trouble – but how do you pay off that debt? Start by saving money in other areas of your life: adopt some of mom’s frugal habits like clipping coupons, watching for bargains, and shopping conscientiously. Remember that convenience can be costly – sure, it’s easier to go to an ATM that’s close but not your branch; but those fees will add up over time. When your day is jam-packed, it’s easy to grab a to-go order from the restaurant next to your office– but try packing your lunches for a month and see how much you save.
“You’ll regret it later.”
Translation: don’t rack up credit card debt.
Although the temptation of that new stereo system or spa splurge may seem irresistible (especially with the numerous justifications we can make up) before you hand over the plastic, ask yourself: “can I afford to pay with this in cash?” If the answer is no, ask yourself whether you can really justify this purchase.
“I don’t care who started it, knock it off.”
Translation: there’s no use in assigning blame.
Remember this Mom-ism when coping with the debt of your spouse or relative. While it’s important to provide guidance and put an end to reckless spending behaviors, making the other party feel worse won’t be productive and only leads to more fighting and resentment. Instead of lecturing, offer your help and support, and commit to going through the process together. Consider making a weekly date where you go over budget and finances over a meal.
“It could be worse.”
Translation: there’s always a way out.
It’s hard to see the light when you feel like you’ve hit financial rock bottom, but do what you can, and don’t lose sight of the end goal. Reach out to friends and family -- and yourself. You’ll have to call on some of your inner strength and resilience if you’re digging yourself out of deep debt; but don’t lose hope. Mom believes in you.