When I look back on the journals that I’ve kept since kindergarten {some in crayon scribbles}, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in my money journey.

Sneak Peek: One of my most favorite entries is this really funny, dramatic essay where I moan about having to ‘drain’ $13.00 from my account each week for gas (oh, the look of horror in my 16-year-old eyes at what our current monthly gas bill is)…

Yes, I’ve financially matured since then.

But it didn’t happen overnight.

If I travel back through time, I can think of several mistakes I made with concrete (read: savings account-draining) consequences.

butterfly money edited

At the time, they were really painful {financially} to go through. Especially since I was earning my money mainly through mucking horse stalls, milking cows, and other forms of exhausting, smelly work.

But boy am I glad I learned them when I did compared with learning them as an adult…because when you’re an adult small mistakes can have much costlier consequences, and even be potentially irreversible.

3 Financial Lessons from Childhood Mistakes

  1. There are Financial Consequences to Not Taking Care of Your Belongings: Flip back in time. The year is 1999, and I am a drummer in our high school marching band. I manage to lose my marching band tunic. It could have happened at any of the parades we went to, or perhaps on a bus to/from the event (to this day it’s never shown up in my belongings). I dreaded each and every event we had thereafter because I had to ask to borrow one from the band moms, explaining yet again that I still could not find it. Then, the end of the year came. I signed over $385 to the band fund to make up for my mistake. Ouch.

    Flash Forward: I honestly don’t think I’ve lost anything of large value (or perhaps even of ‘small value’) since that band tunic. I am organized, and keep my belongings in good working order because I’ve realized how costly it is to replace them.

  2. Some Deals are Too Good to Be True: I was one of those teenagers who desperately wanted some CDs of my favorite music, but just couldn’t afford to purchase them all. One day I found a deal in the mail from BMG (remember those guys?). It was something extremely tempting, like 5 CDs for $25. My mother gave me fair warning the first time I approached her with this unbelievable deal, but still dutifully sent in each check I gave her when I didn’t want to listen. Then one day, it dawned on me. Since you had to become a member of the club and buy a certain number of CDs over the next year or so, it turned out that in the end, you really paid just as much for those CDs as you would have in the store. Except you spaced out the purchases. Doh!

    Flash Forward: I excel at finding great deals. By learning all those years ago to sit down and do the math before signing up for an offer that sounds too-good-to-be-true, I’ve developed quite the system for quickly sifting through fool’s gold to get at the real thing.

  3. Sometimes You’ve Got to Cut Your Losses and Move on: One night my father offered me $20 to milk the cows. I decided that I would do it because I really wanted this new jean skirt from a catalogue (ordering from a catalogue was something I rarely did, so this was a special treat). So, I spent the two hours or so sweating it out in our barn, milking all of our cows, and showering off the manure smell right before settling into my homework. The next day I placed my order. But the skirt didn’t come. Three weeks passed, then four weeks, then I just about forgot about it. Until a letter came in the mail letting me know that this company had declared bankruptcy. Yikes! All that work for nothing.

    Flash Forward: This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn, and honestly, I need a tune-up every so often. Things do not always pan out in this world. When I sink tons of time and energy into a losing battle, it’s important to cut my losses and move on before investing even more time, energy and money into something.

I’m sharing this with you so that hopefully you can feel more confident and steady when allowing your child to feel their own financial mistakes. Learning these lessons when the consequences were relatively minor, and when I had my entire life to reap the benefits, really changed the course of my money future.

Do you have children? Share with us a financial mistake and consequence you let your child work through. Has it changed their thinking yet? 

Frugal Confessions Fridays – Frugal Living

April 18, 2014

Hello Frugal Confessions Readers! Here is my frugal confession of the week: Boy did I make out at a JCPenney sale last week. Remember how I said it is a great idea to get on their mailing list? Every so often they send out these awesome coupons for $10/$10+. Whenever I receive one of these coupons I typically find an item for $10 or slightly above to pay next to nothing out of pocket (in the past I’ve gotten a nearly free set of dish towels, our kitchen rug, measuring cups, etc.). This time I did so well that I just have to share. Paul needed a new belt, so I perused the belt section until I found an Eddie Bauer one on clearance for $16.97. Not bad for a high-quality belt, right (after the $10 coupon, of course)? But then when it rung up at the cash register, it came to just $7.97. In order to use my coupon I had to find a filler for a little over $2.00. The clerk pointed me in the direction of their clearance section…where I found a beautiful button-down Van Heusen shirt for just $3.97. Really. I walked out of JCP with […]

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Less is More: But More of What?

April 14, 2014

What if I told you that going through your closet and choosing twenty items to donate, sell, or recycle/trash would make a difference in your life? You might be hesitant to do so. What is the big deal of keeping things in your closet if you have the space anyway? Purging your closet of just twenty items may not be enough to see a huge effect, but it could start a snowball of change in your life. This is because less is more. But what is less more of? Hoarding: An Extreme Example Anyone who has watched the show Hoarding: Buried Alive will easily come to the conclusion that less is more. You watch in horror as the homeowners meander through what appear to be World War II underground bunker lanes carved throughout their impacted homes. In many episodes you learn of the huge financial ramifications of leading a life of collection, such as people who have whittled away their retirement on trinkets that they can no longer find. The energy of these homeowners is getting sucked out of them each and every day, starting when they wake up and hobble off of their makeshift beds into the kitchen for […]

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Frugal Confessions Friday – Frugal Living

April 11, 2014

Hey Guys! Happy Friday to you. Here is my frugal confession of the week: This past week I renewed our electricity contract. By doing a little shopping around (www.powertochoose.org), I was able to find an offer for 1 cent per kilowatt cheaper than our current company’s renewal offering. Hurrah! What is your confession of the week? I’d love to hear it.

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