One of the best things a mom can do is say “No!”

Can we really ever thank our moms enough?   She took care of us when we were sick and passed down many of life’s lessons in the hopes that we could learn from her mistakes.  The different ways she took care of us help make us who we are today.  From the many lessons my mom taught me, I want to share just a few that you can apply to your finances.

Needs and Wants

“Mom I need this” and “Mom, I need that.”  One of the best things that my mom told me when I was a child was NO.  At the time I didn’t actually think it was so great, but she taught me that I didn’t need to get everything I wanted.  The truth of the matter was there were only a few things I truly needed as a child – food, clothing, shelter and love.  In adulthood I finally understood the invaluable lesson of the difference between needs and wants. 

For example, I wanted to go out to eat for lunch every day, but I would be able to save a lot more money if I packed my lunch instead.  I wanted to have the latest big screen that just came out, but my old television worked just fine.  As adults, we frequently confuse wants from true needs.  Now I remember that when my mom told me “no” that it didn’t kill me.  I want to share something with you – it also won’t kill you not to get everything you want.  And financially speaking, you will be much better off.

It’s Good to Share

My mom really didn’t say it that way; she basically said that if I didn’t share my toys with my little sister, she was going to take them away from me and give them all to her.  Being an adult, I now understand the importance of sharing with others because I have found that the most satisfied people are the ones who share the most.  Why is that? The positive feelings you experience when you share with others lasts much longer than the temporary high you get when you waste your money on yourself.  Sharing your financial resources also develops discipline and an awareness of others’ misfortune, which can help keep you focused on what is truly important. This can have a profound effect on your finances.

Paying Yourself First

When I was growing up, I had a lot of chores that needed to get done if I wanted to get my allowance.  From washing the dishes to taking the dog out, I would get a weekly allowance if I completed what I was supposed to do.  I was also given a piggy bank from my mom.  She would expect me to always put a little money in my piggy bank for a rainy day.  She didn’t mind if I spent some of my allowance on candy or toys, but she taught me the valuable lesson of always paying myself first.  That lesson can also serve you well.  You work hard for your money, so make sure you always pay yourself first!

Not Giving Up

I remember after my mom came home from work, she would still find the energy to make dinner every night.  I also recall her working two jobs when my dad was laid off so that my sister and I wouldn’t do without.  I think what impressed me most was that even when she was sick or not feeling well, my mom still would find the energy to take care of us, and when the going got tough, my mom kept going!  That same trait is extremely important to apply to your financial life because there will be setbacks.  When I might be feeling bad or success seems out of reach, I always keep in the back of my mind the knowledge that my mom was always there and she never gave up.  I want to encourage you to always get back on track and never give up. •


Steve Repak, CFP® is a professional speaker and the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money.  He is a member of the National Financial Educators Councils’ Personal Finance Speakers Association ( and a recognized financial literacy advocate.


Family Finance is sponsored by: