I've been thinking about the things my parents taught me about money. I remember them telling me to ALWAYS balance my checkbook. This was a good habit. I don't like to write checks but when I do it is nice to know if I have enough money in the bank to cover it. I got a little lax about this lately because I wasn't writing many checks because so many of my bills are on autopay. But I soon found that just because I wasn't writing checks didn't mean I could stop paying attention. All of those things going in (direct deposit) and out (utilities, mortgage) weren't going to monitor themselves. Plus when I did need to write a check, if I haven't kept up with all the transactions I really have no clue how much money I have. Luckily I don't have to wait for a paper statement since my bank has online access. Now I just have to make myself spend a little time with my checkbook even if I haven't written any checks lately.
Another thing they taught me was to pay off my credit card every month. This has helped me to keep my spending within my budget since I know I have to have enough money in my bank account to cover the bill every month. And when I think of all the finance charges I could have paid, I am very grateful.
My parents followed a relaxed general budget most of the time. Only occasionally do I remember them counting pennies. I did not understand the need for a budget until I lived in my first apartment. I have had a pretty strict budget ever since. I track every dollar. Since I have decided to retire as soon as possible I see my budget as a tool that will get me there faster.
My parents did pass on their frugal gene to me. I am definitally a tightwad. I enjoy being frugal. It is a challenge. Plus wasted money just puts off my dream a little farther and I don't want that.
So those are a few things I learned from my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad.