Saving money didn’t come naturally to me, I learnt from my parents 106



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When people say they learnt from their parents, it’s usually a good thing. But my parents taught me how to save…by being frivolous spenders.

I was having this conversation today with my friends when they commented on how savvy I was with money. I guess I’d never thought about it before but then I thought about my parents.

My parents were never well off when I was growing up – in fact, quite the opposite. My mum was a stay-at-home mum and my dad was a businessman who was rarely home. On the occasions I did see Dad, he’d drag me along to a custom fitting at a tailor. Mind you, we were living off rations at this point but still, my father wanted to make sure he looked his best even if his home life was in crisis! I never understood why you would live beyond your means. And my mum, when she did have money, would waste it. She received an inheritance from her uncle and spent it on a cacophony of different things, none of which she had anything to show for later on.

This pattern of money wasting and lack of penny-pinching went on until I was old enough to earn my crust. I started working at a local chicken shop and was able to save up for my own car, and my mother was confused as to how I could have done it. From that point onwards, I prided myself on my ability to save. I saved up for my first trip overseas and was very independent. Nowadays, I live off $300 or less a week, and spend about $150 on rent (I live in housing commission) and the rest of food and other things. The rest I save and so far I’ve been on cruises, flown overseas to see friends and family, and have been able to buy a nice car (though second hand). I have learnt a valuable skill and have been fortunate enough to give this life lesson to my own children, who are both savvy savers.

I taught them to value experiences and not the dollars that buy it. I taught them that money doesn’t equal happiness but it can buy it if you purchase the right things i.e. travel, a home, a gift for someone. I taught them not to let money rule their lives.

I know so many other baby boomers have come from poorer families that scrimped and saved but there’s surely a few of us who had parents who would spend money on things and didn’t think of the consequences. So thank you, to my parents, for all that you gave to me so I could live a happy life with sense (and cents)!


Did your parents shape your spending habits? Tell us below.

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  1. I am sorry but you say you are money savvy. You go on cruises, have nice holidays AND pay CHEAP rent because you live in housing commission rental?? Couldn’t some of those cruise & holiday payments have gone to your OWN home not governnent housing??
    Sorry if I sound harsh but that is how I see it!

    25 REPLY
    • instead of knocking the poster for getting out the poverty trap, how about showing her some respect for achieving that and saving for the extra’s in life..we don’t all have the same advantages in life

    • There are lots of people in housing waiting lists. Govmt housing is supposed to be a help up not a permanent thing.

    • This makes me mad also. Government housing is not for saving for cruises. I struggle to bring up grandchildren and pay my mortgage. No more holidays for me.

    • Yes I had the same thought (live in housing commission) many of us have worked hard and saved hard I have my own little house but have never had a luxury of a holiday eccept from camping when my children were young

    • I save….and live in a caravan. No house. My choice. As it is the posters choice to continue to live in government housing. Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than living in those awful houses and high rises.

    • I have seen too many people buy a house and because of low income and the the high interest we had to pay, not be able to keep it. Disastrous outcome. A bad credit rating often leads to a slippery slide into homelessness. People have to be smarter and seek advice on whether owning a house (interest, rates, insurance, etc) is the better option or not.

    • Good on you.
      Don’t listen to the knockers. They are jealous of your ability to be able to save for yourself. They woukd rather see you living in $350 a week accommodation and surviving if dry noodles and no heating.
      I admire your ability to save and enjoy your later years in life.
      I also live in govt housing and I actually moved from the city to a small country town so I coukd get a govt house. It is a lovely 3 bedroom home with a shed and a carport and a fully fenced 600sq mt yard. And we have lots of vacant govt houses here.

    • It is a personal choice whether to buy or rent, or apply for housing commission, depending on one’s circumstances. Some of the cruises are very cheap these days, so although the writer appears to be saving money and have holidays now, it doesn’t mean that they could have afforded – or afford now – to buy their own property. We do not know all the circumstances so should not be so judgmental.

    • Well most still have to pay quarter of their pension & rent goes up every six months, we also pay water rates, gas & electricity phone & Internet just like anyone else. I worked 34 years, not all are the same. Life has it’s ups & downs

    • Yep that’s right ! People in government housing don’t deserve to have any kind of life ! Pfft ….

    • I say good on her for doing her best with what she has. I was managing to save until my daughter came to stay. She is the spendthrift, and not careful with anything. A drain on my pension. She won’t even try to save a cent.

    • You continue to enjoy your life. You have worked and saved. Your not sitting there waiting for the government to hand over a holiday to you, you are patiently saving for it. Life is short go for it and enjoy every moment.
      Gee jealousy is such a curse.

    • I am not jealous, thanks, LawrieandChris. I am working my butt off to pay off my house so I don’t become a drain on the tax payer! If you read the post you will find the holidays & cruises are paid for by us, the tax payers.

    • I agree , I would be wealthy if l lived in housing commission home as well .and have plenty of money for holidays etc . What you described is you living off subsidized housing , and taking cruises at the tax payers expense . Should have withheld that story .

    • He deserves a good life, the same as everyone else. I say Good on him for being able to do what he does.

    • Good on you. I think you should be proud of what you have done. Those negative people need to get a life.

  2. Good on YOU. You saw what you didn’t want and made a different life for yourself. Pity more people didn’t see that following parents unsuccessful lives is an option not a necessity.

  3. I wont reply cause I could say it all and possibly wont be nice -I am a kiwi baby boomer

    5 REPLY
  4. If your happy with your life..then well is learning and you sound like you have learned the right lessons for you. Don’t let anyone put you down..we all live life in the best way we an

  5. Congratulations. That is impressive. For the knockers, anyone who can live on $300 a week and do it well deserves a medal. You couldn’t get a housing loan on this income so buying their own home is probably not an option. Your parents certainly taught you a valuable lesson, though in a backhanded way.

    2 REPLY
    • young ones i know drop $300 at the disco saturday night …then say”””””””” can not see how i ever be able to afford a house””””” mmmmmmmmmmmm

  6. I am a baby boomer and I learnt from my parents to save and my children have learnt the same thing, even though they always have to have every brand new, whereas we started with everything which was given us, second hand

  7. Im a baby boomer and this is why im money savvy
    Mum and dad were very poor so times were so hard for them. my dad saving a bit of money would on rare occasions say let’s have a family party for dinner so my siblings and I would walk to the only shop near us and bought party food ..mum would make fairy bread chocolate crackles sausage rolls and cocktail frankfurters ( little boys ) were a must.. those moments were exciting and fun for a large family .I know and learmt from my parents is that they gave us a better life than they had and even though my family stuggled many times I had saved to give my family a better life also I was able to help my mum (dad had passed away at the age of 47 )
    But saying that i have a very comfortable life and most of the time I find it really hard to spend money on name brands and expensive items

  8. If you are so great with money why the need to be dependent on welfare housing? Your are still wasting money like your parents with no thought or regard to the future exept you are spending on cruises instead of suits.

  9. Well done! Your parents were good teacher+ you obviously learned from them what you did not want your life to be. I applaud people like this.

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