How My Financial Journey Began
I have early memories of going to our bank and watching my parent’s cash out old US government bonds. I had my own bank account very early at 2 years old. I would deposit birthday and holiday checks there, and eventually deposit my own money from various jobs.
My parents gave me an allowance. I remember it was $2/week for a long time. To get my allowance, I had to do chores around the house and keep my room picked up.
During the summer, my sister and I were assigned additional chores since we were home. We divvied up the chores each week. Our preferences were different enough to allow each of us to avoid doing the things we hated the most. I hated mopping the floor and dusting, but didn’t mind vacuuming as much.
Extra Money At Home
I earned extra money by helping out on weekend projects. My dad trimmed our palm trees, and I would carry the fronds to the front yard for bulk trash. I feel like the trees always needed to be trimmed.
Repairing things around the house was something else I helped my dad with. One, two or more trips to the hardware store were common. Looking back, I’m amazed at how much my dad knew, and how much he was willing to try. I’ll do things around our house now after watching Youtube videos, but he would rely on talking to people and getting demos at the store. These experiences gave me a good foundation for owning my own homes.
How I Saved
I kept longer term savings in my bank account. Some money was kept in my wallet, and I also used envelopes to save for medium term goals, like a specific computer game or toy. I remember counting up how much was in each envelope and writing the goal on the outside. I would save for a long time. When I finally reached the required amount, sometimes I would go ahead and purchase the item, and sometimes I wouldn’t. I found that after saving for so long, I longer wanted the item. Or something better came along that I wanted more.
My First Jobs
My dad would give both my sister and I opportunities to help him with some of his work tasks. Since he was in sales, I would collate marketing material and create folders to give to possible clients. He often worked with several warehouse distributors. At least once a year, the warehouse would do an inventory of the entire warehouse. My dad would help out, and bring me with him. He would read out part numbers, and I would marked down the count.
One of the best jobs available to a teenager is babysitting. I had several families that I would babysit for. I loved it! The kids were very good most of the time. The families had cable TV and game consoles, both of which were lacking in our house. I got to stay up late, sometimes even on a school night. And I got extra money!
Despite being young, I learned some important life lessons. Extra work = extra money. Saving is good and gives you flexibility. Writing down your savings goals helps you save.