Lessons in Finance with Calculator.me | Living Life with Harassedmom
I feel like it is stating the obvious by saying “times are tough financially”.

Lessons in Finance I Wish I Had Learnt Earlier

I feel like it is stating the obvious by saying “times are tough financially”. I also feel old saying it because my parents also said it to me. But times are tough!

I often ask my older two varsity going kids why they don’t go out as much as we do – their answer every time is “it’s too expensive”. We obviously help them out quite a bit and they are both working but everything is just so much more expensive than it was when I was in varsity.

My dad was so incredibly disciplined when it came to money which has allowed them to retire comfortably and have the freedom to travel and do the things they want to. I wish now I had listened a little more and taken his advice a lot more seriously. We are trying to guide and support Cameron and Kiara so that they hopefully listen a little better than I did.

These are just a few of the financial lessons I wish I had learnt earlier.

Lessons in Finance with Calculator.me | Living Life with Harassedmom

Start saving the day you start working. Not a saving towards something but rather a savings fund you don’t touch. I started working in my aunts restaurant when I was 13 years old – imagine what would have happened if I had started a savings fund then? Seriously though, can you imagine if I had saved just 10% of every pay check I received for 32 years!

Get intimate with your finances. It took me a very long time to do this. I would get money in, pay stuff and then hope for the best. When I had a full time job I knew what I earned but wasn’t very clear on my expenses. Make sure you know exactly how much income you have and exactly where your money is going and this includes things like bank charges – they may seem like small amounts but they add up. Check your bank statements, know what is happening all the time – especially when you hit tough times! If you aren’t sure where to start with a budget, there are so many tools available that make it easier for you – like Calculator.me. Their planning tool gives you indications on roughly what percentage of your income each expense should be. This is so useful because you can then make changes if needed.

You don’t need debt. Sure a credit card sounds amazing but nothing is for free and at some point it all has to be paid back. If you pay your credit card on time your bank will more than likely increase your limit – nice, right? Nope, it just means you owe more and more. Same applies to clothing accounts – don’t do it! If you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t get it. Start a separate savings pocket for those bigger ticket items.

Do you REALLY need a car. Ok hear me out on this one. Yeah its nice to have a car, you can go anywhere and do anything but at what cost? We sold my car over a year ago and I have absolutely no desire to buy another one. We don’t really have a great public transport system but we do have Ubers/Bolts. For us it is definitely cheaper – there is no insurance costs, petrol costs and we don’t have to worry about tyres that need replacing or engines making funny sounds. With remote working and ride-share services and public transport, I am not sure a car is really worth the money. If you are on the fence about this, use Calculator.me to help you work out what your repayments will. Just remember to still add in your insurance and maintenance costs.

Start a retirement annuity as soon as you are earning a stable income. Find a financial adviser you trust and get it set up and prioritise paying it.

It is ok to be frugal – even if you don’t have to. I think one of the most invaluable lessons we taught our kids is how to be frugal. Now that they are living on their own and buying their own groceries and clothes, they don’t just buy whats in the first shop. They check for specials, they shop at thrift stores, they never say no when someone offers something. Just because you can afford the most expensive thing, doesn’t mean you need to buy it.

You don’t need all the things. When you start earning a stable income it can be so tempting to want to buy all the things. But all that happens is you end up with a lot of things – many of them things you actually don’t really want. One of the biggest money saving things we did was clear the clutter and only buy things that really, really made us happy. There are so many benefits to this – now we have things we really want, we don’t have clutter and we have more money.

If you have kids, start a savings fund for them the day they are born. Kids are an added expense you aren’t ever really ready for. Varsity fees are one of the costs you can mitigate by starting to save early on. You don’t have to use a education specific savings fund, there are loads of options you can do – whatever you do, just start doing it.

Its ok if you get it wrong. We have been through some tough times and have had to start from zero a few times and it is so hard but it is never permanent. If you needed to use all your savings because you lost your job or had an accident, it’s ok. Just start again.

And finally, I will say it again – save, save, save! Even if it is a small, seemingly insignificant amount – just do it!

We can’t escape dealing with our finances, as much as we may want to. Money makes the world go round and is also the cause of a lot of stress and anxiety for many of us. Saving, planning and knowing where you are can help to mitigate some of this anxiety and stress.



8 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing these insights on how to enjoy living and also build for financial security. My kids don’t always listen to me to I’m sending this to them!

  2. I totally agree with you that yes, we should start saving the day we start working. To be honest, I started saving a bit late so, we had to work double time to catch up.

  3. Your post resonates so much with me! The financial landscape has indeed evolved, and it’s a challenge we’re all navigating. It’s heartening to hear about the valuable lessons you’ve gained from your dad’s wisdom. Here’s to guiding the next generation towards financial savvy!

  4. Loving this and if I could go back….I would have saved and invested $25 a week from when I was 19 years old…. as I would have so much saved now. I had no one that taught me to save and even budget son I had to learn through my mistakes but they key there is that I learned from my mistakes and made changes for the better! Great post and thank you for sharing!

  5. Yes… it is tough out there financially right now but I am looking for ward to amazing changes for 2024 that will make all of the difference. I appreciate this insightful post!

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