Sunday is Mother's Day and while people are scurrying to find a gift suitable for such a recipient (no such thing), I am going to reflect on a gift my mother gave me. More like one of the million lessons she taught me. This one is about money lessons; how to spend it, save it and enjoy it. It wasn't something we had a lot of, but I never felt like I was missing a single thing it could buy.
Like I said, we didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. My mom was raising me alone on a teacher's salary and there wasn't a lot left after paying bills and buying necessities. Certainly not for clothes and accessories. Enter the thrift store. We would take multiple trips to this treasure chest of a building (Wednesdays were half off everything) and upon entering my mom would proclaim "the sky's the limit". When tops cost $2 and a pair of jeans were $1.50 it really was. I had every trend there was like all of my classmates at a fraction of the retail price, and without even knowing it I was saving the planet (literally). Today they call it sustainable fashion. You can shop at places that give directly to those in need like The Prop Shop in Eden Prairie. Or if labels are your thing, Fashion Ave 2 in Wayzata may be your place. Either way, you save money, help people, and keep our landfills free of additional waste.
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My first money lesson experience was when I was 8 years old, my parents took me to the Bank and I opened my very first savings account. I would deposit everything from birthday money to paychecks from my first job. It was a way to monitor my spending and earn a little interest. A good lesson that as an adult that I try to follow. You never know when you will need it for a rainy day. When money is not easily accessible, it's harder to make impulse purchases. Still working on that one.
My mom was the queen of experiences. We would take weekly adventures to new parks for a picnic, art museums, bike rides, farmers markets and of course our beloved thrift stores. Nothing can compare to the value of time spent with loved ones. The time spent with my mom are memories I will cherish the rest of my life. We didn't have a lot of money for fancy vacations, but we always had enough for adventures. Spend what you have on experiences rather than things. It's something I try to instill in my own family. If you can afford the vacations, take them. You won't regret a single one. If you can't, have an adventure. That's what your kids remember when they get older. Not the car you had or how many bathrooms your house had.
There were a million things my mom taught me. I will never the many money lessons she taught me that can apply to many other things in life. Maybe when you are deciding on a gift this Mother's Day, one of these will apply. Whatever it is, it doesn't have to cost a lot to be priceless.
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