26 Comments

  1. Amy Kristin (@poshsweetly)

    This is great. My husband and I are complete opposites when it comes to money and finances. It actually works really for us, bringing us a bit of balance. I bring him a dose of reality sometimes, and he brings me a dose of spontaneity other times. He’s definitely the ying to my yang!

  2. Bahaha, this is adorable! My parents were never on the same page. I don’t think they even maintained a budget–as long as all the bills were paid, everything was just fine. From them I learned that Mr. Picky Pincher and I have to move as one unit. We talk about our budget and our money goals very often and there are zero surprises.

    • Yup. Same with the no budget thing growing up. For how incredibly opposite they both are, they were always working towards the same big-picture goals. They definitely had different theories on how to get there, though. It’s been fun (and funny) to watch them both try to get ready for retirement.

  3. My parents were both picky, but about completely random things. Mom is more proactive, and my stepdad is more reactive. Except for big stuff and then they’re completely opposite. My stepdad saved up for years ahead of time before buying a new car in cash. But! I learned a lot of great lessons from them about finances over the years so I guess it worked out 🙂

  4. Sam

    Let’s say I never learned any money lessons from my mom. She budgets so she can put food on the table, but I don’t think she’s too savvy with money.

    I’m definitely from a “let’s pay now and figure things out later” kind of family 😉

    • That’s really hard. That was my mom’s experience growing up. In fact, I still don’t know how my grandma got by on her own. Sometimes non-examples are great teachers, though I wouldn’t wish them on anyone!

  5. Sounds like we had similar experiences when it came to grocery shopping. My mom would line up the coupons and plan out which items to get at which stores before going out for her Saturday of grocery shopping. My dad would just pick a grocery store and buy whatever was needed. My mom has always been about deals and my dad has always been of the mindset that if you need something, then get it, and if you don’t, then don’t.

    • Yes! That’s a great summary of their money philosophies. He still tries to point out things like gas and time and everything else. But my mom just ignores him. 43 years of wedded bliss 😉

  6. Kat

    And isn’t it weird how siblings can meld those in different ways? My dad knows, to the penny, exactly how much is in his bank account and he doesn’t spend ever, while my mom has no idea how much money she has and she’s a spender. My mom always jokes that my sister and I somehow managed to meld those into opposite personalities. I know exactly how much is in every account that I have at all times and I spend like it’s going out of style (I’m working on that). My sister has no idea how much money she has, but she never spends a dime. We acquired one habit from each of our parents in a way.

    My mom also has an MBA that she got in the 90’s and her dissertation was on personal finance for women. So my sister and I managed to absorb random knowledge from her talks when we were kids that also falls into line with those melded habits. Mom used to practice her public speaking for class in front of my sister and I. It’s kinda weird/great to see how the speeches my mom had to make for class also impacted the two of us financially now even if that wasn’t the intention.

    • That is funny how it works with siblings! I’m an only, so I just I’m just the blur of both of them 🙂 And can I say how awesome I think your mom is? What a fantastic, fantastic thing to expose kiddos to. I love it!

  7. Mom, stepmother, and Dad all had different money strategies.

    With Mom, we rarely did fancy stuff, though we went out to eat, had regular vacations (rented cabins/beach cottages), and were signed up for plenty of activities. Food prices rarely came up, but there were few convenience foods in the house and lots of fresh healthy stuff. Mom did find some cheap ways to travel internationally and found money for regular investments.

    My stepmother was more of a couponer who bought lots of cheap food. We ate tons of packaged/can foods over there, white bread and bologna, etc. On the other hand, we also went to much nicer restaurants and nice resort vacations with her and my Dad. They drove nice newer cars, had tons of nice clothes, sent my brothers to private school, and they always talked about not having enough money and still don’t understand investing very well.

    Guess which one retired at 60 and which ones are still working?

    I try to follow my mom’s example. Spend on good food instead of crap and good experiences instead of expensive ones. Don’t spend so much on clothes and newish cars, invest money, and enjoy life. I love my Dad and stepmother, and respect them a ton for their generosity and community involvement, but I try not to follow their financial path.

    • I think that’s a really good hallmark of adulthood or maturity, Emily. To be able to respect a path and choose not to follow. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

  8. So interesting! I actually don’t really know how they own views were with money looking at groceries, saving and spending. They were really good in explaining it to us, after they talked over it together first. So the things we heard we always already aligned by the both of them.

    Seeing them now, my mother is more risk averse and is more in detail on what she should do with her savings. Whereas my father has his own ideas about it, but in the end just follows my mother along in her sayings 🙂

    • That’s really interesting. My mom was always more vocal about money. I think it’s so fascinating how different families do different things. So much to learn from so many strategies!

  9. Not caring to do the work of couponing yourself is one thing, but throwing her work in the salsa is another. Not ok behavior.

    My dad would drive across town for gas that was one cent cheaper. It was silly to watch even then. My mother would have her utilities off all the time. Neither gave good solid lessons.

    • Yeah. I’m sure he got elbowed. That’s pretty much their relationship.

      Normally, I get gas whenever I see a gas station and remember to fill up. This week, I didn’t because I knew I was running errands in a different town later (and still had 1/4 of a tank). I saved 60 cents a gallon! I was so shocked.

  10. Dad was horrible with money, and still kind of is. He can abstain from using it, in some cases, but there are more than a few cases where he makes just the Absolute Worst decisions. And it’s kind of heartbreaking that he continues to keep making them.

    Mom was better in that she worked really hard to save money but it was hard for her to save that money from Dad’s ventures because they had completely combined finances and trusted or supported each other a little too much. It’s hard to say if they were EVER on the same page, and I certainly wasn’t on the same page as any of them growing up, either. I learned my lessons watching their mistakes, well intentioned though they were.

    • I’m sorry that Dad is still making those missteps. I know what an impact they have on you, and I also know what you do for your family. Well, I have an inkling. I suppose I don’t really know 😉

  11. I love this post! It’s really very interesting to compare two parents’ views to each other.

    My parents STILL have very different financial mindsets. My father is the spender and my mother is the saver; my father is the gambler and my mom is anti-risk. The one thing they have always done is try to be DIYers around the house. For example, they are currently in the process of staining their patio.

    I think I ended up with a mix of both their mindsets, but I am more knowledgeable of the endless financial resources and tools out there!

    • That’s really neat that they come together to DIY. I think my favorite relationships to watch are the ones where people can be so different and yet completely gel.

  12. Finances in my family were a stressful secret, with all sorts of surprises after the eventual divorce…
    So I’m grateful that my husband and I are very transparent and work from the ‘one pot’ philosophy. We still have different styles, and I’m definitely more frugal, but we agreed on a budget and we stick to it (mostly).

    • One pot team here, too! I understand other perspectives, and I’m happy that people do what works for them, but I really think the one pot mentality helps us be a better team.

  13. We didn’t do coupons, but my mom was all about buying generic brands. She had my brother and I trained to look at (and sometimes calculate) the cost per ounce and compare brands, usually with generic winning. Only toilet paper and cookie dough were not bought generic.

  14. Hey Penny. The most important lesson I learned growing up was work. My mom and dad always worked. In fact, I don’t ever remember my dad calling in sick. But my parents weren’t savers. They always had monthly payments that took up the bulk of their take-home pay. Not exactly smart, but not exactly reckless. Dad had a very secure civil service job with a great pension.

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