“Earn your pennies” grandmas Isabel Melton, Mary Lou Starkey and Marlyn Woodruff say.
June 2016: Every year, my granddad would sit his grandkids down at the kitchen table and pour out a big jar full of coins he’d saved. We could have these coins but only after we sorted, divided equally and then rolled them. As little children, it felt like hours to complete this task, but the reward was a bag full of money.
When grandparents talk, we ought to listen, especially when it comes to money. They’ve invested a lifetime earning, spending and saving money. They can teach us a thing or two about the value of a dollar and the importance of saving for a rainy day. Here’s five financial lessons learned from grandparents.
Lesson one: Earn things.
My granddad always said, “A penny earned is a penny saved.”
He’d tell us,“If someone just gives you money, you’re more likely to go spend it. But if you have to earn it, you’re more likely to appreciate money and less likely to waste it.”
Lesson two: Stay out of debt.
Since their first paychecks, Mary and Jack Spinks have been careful how they spend the money they make.
“We’ve been fortunate to always have a little money in our pocket,” Jack said. “But the only reason we have any money is because of early saving habits. We really tried not to go into debt other than for our house. That went for cars and everything else. And the reason we didn’t go into debt was because we waited until we had enough money to pay for it. You don’t have to have it tomorrow.”
Lesson three: Make those sacrifices.
Marlyn Woodruff wishes she would have followed her grandparents’ advice.
“Not so much advice, because they didn’t say,” she said. “They did. Both of them worked. My grandfather worked on the railroad and my grandmother cooked. They lived on one salary, the other one went into the bank. And that was hard because they had five kids.”
These early sacrifices eventually allowed the couple to buy a rental property and future prosperity.
“It took a while to get there,” she said. “But they did it.”
Lesson four: It’s just stuff.
“We don’t need everything we want,” said Isabel Melton, “Not by a long shot.”
It’s all about perspective when applying these lessons. Once you put materialism in perspective, lessons two and three become easier.
Lesson five: Invest in yourself.
“Examine yourself,” said Don Purkey. “Not everyone is fit for college.”
The key to success is to find what you like or what you’re good at and educate yourself around it.
“Learn to work and earn what you want,” he said.
Isabel Melton also reminds us to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, because things will work out eventually.
A special thanks to grandparents everywhere who pay forward the value of saving.
Financially Fit is a column published by RCB Bank to help you gain knowledge on all things financial. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.
See more about A Penny Earned is a Penny Saved: