My Relationship with Money

As a personal finance blogger, it’s obvious I care about my finances. I started the blog to keep myself motivated and to learn more about how to manage finances. At 21, I didn’t know a lot of investing, mortgages, credit cards, etc. I understood the highlights – save your money and don’t get into debt. I had learned about the basics of investing from my first boss in high school (I’m eternally grateful for his teachings). Looking back, I have learned so much about personal finance. In the last four years, we started our retirement accounts, established a small emergency fund, started tracking our expenses through mint, bought a house, and are planning for future goals. It’s great progress and I’m very proud of us. My husband constantly reminds me we are doing well for our age. Despite the progress, I still worry. This leads me to think about why I worry so much.

I grew up poor. My parents always provided a roof over our heads and food on the table, but there are many things I went without in life. I knew money was limited and learned not to ask for things beyond my parents’ means. If I wanted to do something, I found ways to go. I volunteered in student council and helped work the dances, in order to not pay the dance fees. I fund raised to pay for band accessories in high school. I saved absolutely every penny I had from baby sitting and other side hustles for years to contribute to a new computer. I don’t mind delayed gratification. I will wait until I think I can afford it, and then I splurge. I constantly analyze the numbers. Are we over budget? Ugh we’re always over budget when it comes to food.

It’s a hard habit to get rid of in life. Some people will say it’s a great habit, it allows me to manage our money. But the constant worry can be stressful. This is probably tied to my childhood.

My parents were always worried about money, constantly fighting over how it was allocated or who was controlling the money. I was often aware of these fights and discussions. I never asked for a big quincenera because I knew it would cause more stress. Having a big party was never a want/desire because from moment one, I knew it would never be possible. More stress meant more fights. I don’t think my parents realized the effect it has had on us. My brother is very aware of the cost of items. He’s choosing to go to community college to complete his basics first before transferring to a 4 year university because he realizes it’s much more affordable. He still has ways to go in the personal finance space, but he’s willing to learn.

My experience with money in my childhood has deeply influenced the way I feel about money. I know I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. I know I don’t want to worry about our retirement. I know I don’t want to depend on anyone for money. I know don’t want to fight over money. There’s a reason I am making the choice to save and invest.

Because when there’s not enough money to go around in the household, people stress and worry. I just don’t want that feeling.

Have you ever thought about how your childhood influences your current relationship with money?

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