My mom celebrated her birthday this past weekend. In honor of her I want to tell you how she is the reason why I am Miss Diva Dollars today. My mom a.k.a. The Original Miss Diva Dollars taught me a lot about money.
Early Financial Teachings
It all started when I was a little girl. My mom taught me how to count money at a young age by taping a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and a dollar coin to an envelope. She would tap each one then I had to tell how much each tap was worth. (For the life of me; I can’t find that envelope. I sooooo would have posted a picture of it.)
My First Financial Responsibility and Lesson
Now onto the fourth grade, I started to learn about checks. My grammar school taught the basic principles about money including how to write checks. We had to practice filling out a check properly. I was so excited that I came home and told my parents about it. Now here comes first financial responsibility ever!
My parents allowed me to fill out the checks for their bills once a month. I was very excited! I felt like I had a very important job to do. I felt like a grown-up! I filled out those checks with pride once a month. I made sure that I had a good pen and wrote very neatly. She even asked me to add the totals of the checks written so I could know how much money was spent on bills every month. This help to me realize how making good financial decision is one of the keys to success. This is also when my mom introduced me to the phrase “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” LOL!! I am going to use that on my future kids. LBVS!
I can’t wait.
Teens + Minimum Wage=BIG MONEY! (or so I thought)
My need for new things increased as I started high school. My high school did not require us to wear uniforms so I wanted the latest and the greatest fashions (THINK Girbaud Jeans, Air Force Ones, Abercrombie and Fitch, etc.) My mom said “Looks like you need a job!” I cringed at the idea at first.
Then I realized that this was my first step toward making my own financial decisions. So I started working at Moo & Oink Grocery Store (My Chicago Folks remember that store! *cues commercial* Mooooooooo and Oink!) I worked there during the summers in high school as a bagger. I moved up to cashier by the second summer. This is where my appreciation for working hard to make my own money began. My mom helped me to understand that in order to appreciate a dollar that I need to make it for myself.
Bills, Rent, and other things Mommy warned me about
Fast forward to post-college, I land my first real job. I was a Junior Accountant at an Advertising Agency downtown Chicago. I LOVED IT!! Since my family lived in the suburbs; we would only go downtown for special events and nice dinners. The fact that I am working downtown on Michigan Ave next to all these wonderful stores and restaurants was nothing but financial temptation for me. But I was ready for it! LOL! I used to go shopping on my lunch break AND after work. I would also frequently get take out at fancy, over-priced restaurants.
Since my new found wealth, I figured that I needed to live in the midst of this excitement. So I started apartment hunting. I only looked at apartments in the downtown Chicago area (South Loop, River North, and Lincoln Park). At that time the average one apartment was about $1100 (probably more than that now..) My mom said very sternly “Rent over $800 is a mortgage. You are wasting your money. Stay within your means.” My parents advise me on getting an apartment with rent between $600-750. Well, that burst my downtown living dreams bubble. LOL!
Meanwhile, I had two friends who just secured their 2-bedroom apartment in the South Loop. It was a block away from my favorite Target. SMH! You know I was jealous right?!?! When I told them what my mom said; they were like “Whatever! We are downtown divas! We have to be close the action!”
I pouted for a while but I obliged.
My first apartment was a quaint one bedroom apartment in Hyde Park, nice neighborhood south of the Loop. It was in my price range. I applied and was approved for it. It wasn’t downtown but I like the diversity and the proximity to the grocery store and Starbucks. During my time living there, I saw the manifestation of my mom’s advice. The two friends who I mentioned earlier who were living downtown ended up being evicted from their place. I didn’t want to admit it but my mom was right. You can want nice things but you shouldn’t go broke trying to get them.
Money Lessons Learned (and still learning)
I am grateful for my mom’s financial wisdom. She taught me how to first understand money, the importance of managing it, working hard for it, and maintaining a comfortable lifestyle with it. She really helped me to not get caught in some financial pitfalls that my peers have fallen into. She still gives me sound money advice to this day. As I in the process of preparing to purchase a house; she is guiding on this journey too. Mommy, thank you for being the Original Miss Diva Dollars.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY! I LOVE YOU!