The Value of Money

Below is an excerpt from the first chapter, Mother’s Truth from my book, Power of the Purse: Fear-Free Finances for Baby Boomer Women.  


[quotes style=”classic” align=”left” author=””]⇒ What my mother would say: If you need money for something, go ask your father.[/quotes]



The denial of allowances was often used as severe punishment for violations too horrid to be put into words: bad mouthing a teacher, failure to be home at a predetermined time, forgetting to do your Saturday chores, for example. There was a cause and effect for many actions that resulted in the deprivation of money. And that’s where we learned that money could be used to control or manage behavior.

If you had parents who denied you nothing, then money took on a totally different meaning: it was simply a means to an end and there was plenty of it. Need a car? Mom and Dad bought it for you. Need a new dress for a social engagement? Mom and Dad bought it for you. Whatever you wanted, you got it. And in many cases, the money never crossed your palms.

You learned that the supply of money was endless, and you could spend it on whatever you wanted. There was no relationship between earning money or saving it and the immediate availability of what you wanted. You learned that asking for something material and getting it was a way your parents showed how much they loved you.

Both of these are extremes, but they provide us with a significant basis for what “stories” we make up about money. Those who learned about money in the “save for what you want” category versus those who learned about “money as a never-ending means to whatever you wanted” came into adulthood with quite different attitudes toward the meaning of money.

If you were of the former camp, the first job out of college was a great learning experience in many ways. You had to learn to figure out how much rent you could afford, the car payment that would fit in the budget, and how much food really cost. These survival skills and how you dealt with them form the basis of how you now spend money as an adult.

[quotes style=”classic” align=”left” author=””]⇒ We say: Earning your own money and saving or investing some of it can give you freedom and choice.[/quotes]


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  1. Jen Sloot 6 years ago

    My parents both worked and struggled to pay the bills monthly. As a child growing up my parents both worked and struggled to pay the bills. I had an allowance that went up a penny a year and at the age of 10 it was 10 cents. However Dad did not remember to give it to give it to me and I could never bring myself to ask for it! At the age of 12 I started working and was a big saver. I bought all my own personal stuff and never had to ask for anything. I bought my own prom dress and as much as I feel so sad for my parents stuggle, I am grateful for the fact that I learned the value of money at a very young age, learned to save and always had money on me.

  2. Bev Otten 6 years ago

    I learned about budgeting at an early age because my father died a week before I turned 10 and my mother unwisely ran through what little money was left before realizing the need to budget and get a job. Therefore, I babysat until I could get a regular job and learned to sew my own clothes to save money. I worked to get scholarships and at part-time jobs while putting myself through college. Once married with not a lot of income, we worked together to live by a budget so we could save to provide a college education for our sons, purchase a lake house, and save for retirement. While doing this we subsidized my mother’s meager income. It also helped that my husband supported my efforts to obtain post-graduate education which ultimately helped our income. Yes, my education about finances came early and because of difficulty, but it certainly formed the person I became. It also helped that my husband and I were on the same page in regard to budgeting.


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