Its true everything changes when you become a parent, including your finances. Besides facing a slew of new expenses, youre charged with the financial well-being and future of another person. And that person, whom you adore, is probably learning about money from you.
In honor of Mothers Day, eight moms across the country answered the question: What has motherhood taught you about money? (They responded by email, and a few answers have been edited for length and clarity.)
BUDGETING IS A HUGE HELP
Motherhood has taught me to carefully budget and be more resourceful. Having children can double or triple your monthly costs. Budgeting for the added costs and finding free activities has been a huge help. Ive become very aware of where each dollar goes and find myself much more disciplined than I ever was in the past.
-Elizabeth Preble , 34, of Billings, Montana; her children are 8, 7, 4 and 2
I SHOULDNT PAVE THE WAY FOR MY KIDS
From the day I became a mother, I realized how hard it is to deny my kids things I can afford. However, as my kids become adults, Im learning its harmful to pave their way even when Im tempted. Its important to let them experience their own lean years, because being young and broke is the best money education you can get.
-Joni Gonzales , 51, of Hanover, Pennsylvania; her sons are 31, 23 and 20
FINANCIAL STABILITY IS KEY
Once I became a mom, it became very important that we were financially stable and could start saving for the future. I had people who relied on me to provide for them no matter what. It spurred me to learn how to meal-plan, stick to a budget and improve my career so I could continue to support them.
-Candice McDaniel , 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; her kids are 10, 7 and 3
START FINANCIAL EDUCATION EARLY
Motherhood taught me that we need to start to educate kids as early as possible to prepare them for becoming financially responsible adults. We actively involve our children in discussions about saving money, paying bills, doing taxes, how much vacations cost and investing in the stock market. My kids have a debit card with special controls for their spending money to teach them about tracking purchases and savings for things they want. Additionally, we provided them the tools to research stocks and let them choose some of the stocks in their college funds. It has made for interesting dinner conversations on whose stock is doing better.
-Adrienne Allgire , 51, of Bel Air, Maryland; her kids are 15 and 12
TIME TOGETHER BEATS PRICEY TOYS
Happiness is inexpensive. No matter how expensive a toy is, time with parents is what a child really craves and will remember when they are older. Thats why I always have extra cookie dough on hand for impromptu baking days.
-Sara Lundberg , 33, of Portland, Oregon; she has 3-year-old twins, a 20-month-old and a 9-month-old; shes expecting her fifth child this summer
TWO KIDS WOULD BE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR US
I always wanted two kids, but motherhood taught me to think twice about having a second child in terms of money. My husband and I both work full-time and have great careers, but we live in a higher cost-of-living area. Childcare is scarce, and we were unable to get our son into daycare when I returned to work. We had to hire a nanny, which is not cheap. Looking toward the future, my husband and I had to take a hard look at what our quality of life would be financially, as a family, if we had a second child. Ultimately, we decided not to have a second child.
-Krissy Hadick , 38, of San Luis Obispo, California; her son is 2 and a half
INVEST FOR MY FAMILYS FUTURE
Being a mother especially in the time of COVID, when weve all experienced change and loss in many areas has taught me the importance of not taking anything for granted, being intentional with my finances and using money to invest in ways that will provide for my family for years to come.
-Rowena Winkler , 35, of Laurel, Maryland; her baby is 14 months
SET ASIDE MONEY AND PLAN AHEAD
The longer Im a mom, the more I learn about money. Rainy days happen all the time as a parent, so Ive learned its crucial to have money set aside. Ive learned to plan ahead so I dont overspend on groceries, clothes and activities. Most importantly, Ive learned that I shouldnt wait to teach my kids about money. They can learn at a very young age to save, spend, donate and plan for things they really want.
-Jen McConaghie , 35, of Chatfield, Minnesota; her children are 11, 8, 6 and 3
This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Laura McMullen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen.
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