“Thank you for my mommy.” This is what I read from the Sunday school paper our daughter Amy threw in the front seat of my car when I picked her up at age 7. I turned to the back seat and said, “Oh, Amy, this is so sweet of you!” She gave me that look. The look I hoped she wouldn’t learn until she was a teenager that said, “What are you talking about!?” I read the sheet again and it actually said, “Thank you for my money.”
Oh. Was this a good thing or not?
What was I actually teaching my kids about money?
I was glad Amy was picking up how important gratitude is for building wealth. Yes, she did have money at age 7 as we had started allowance when she began kindergarten and she was a great saver even back then. (More on that in this interview I did on the Art of Allowance podcast.)
What did you learn from your mom about money? Before you answer ‘not much’ think again. In my family although my dad handled most of the finances, I learned plenty from my mom. Mostly through seeing what she did. As Mother’s Day is coming up, I’ll focus on the awesome things I learned here. Yes, there were other things I’ve realized that on the surface might not have been so supportive but they have become growth opportunities for me so they are good too.
Here are some of the best money lessons I received from mom:
- Be generous – my mom was always involved with non-profits. She volunteered, she ran fundraisers and she donated. Over the years I’ve learned that generosity proceeds prosperity – the roots of this started early.
- Be a smart spender – there was never overspending in our house. It was like there was an internal thermostat for spending. When my dad’s business did well, we did a bit more. When it didn’t, we didn’t. No drama, just flexibility.
- Communicate with your partner about money – this sounds so old fashioned (which it was) but my mom would say, “I need to ask your dad for a check.” Kids interpret things they see and hear all different ways. Instead of seeing this as ‘oh men should control the money,’ I took this as a lesson in talking about money with your partner. I’m grateful for this and it plays out well in my 33-year marriage.
- Focus on the positive – my mom didn’t complain. Not in the martyr-y kind of way. She didn’t focus on what was challenging, she focused on what could make things better. She once said that I was Pollyannaish. I’m not sure she meant it as a compliment, but I chose to take it as one. This is the foundation of an abundance mindset.
- Baking makes life sweeter – This has nothing to do with money, but I love that my mom taught me to bake. She baked with love and always had a freezer stocked with cookies and brownies. I’m getting ready to bake my chocolate chip cake for Mother’s Day – it’s the most requested dessert by my family.
What did you learn from your mom about money?
Oh wait, you want the cake recipe? Here you go!
Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake
1/4 pound butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream (I usually use yogurt as that’s what I have in the house)
2 tablespoons milk (non-dairy milk works great like almond or coconut)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs until mixture is light and fluffy. Sift together flour and baking soda. Combine milk with sour cream. Into the butter-sugar-egg mixture beat in part of the flour, then beat in some of the sour cream-milk mixture. Alternate until all are well combined. Add vanilla, then fold in chocolate chips. Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube (or Bundt) pan. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half the mixture onto the batter in the pan. Gently pour remaining batter, then sprinkle remaining cinnamon and sugar. Look at the batter and send some love into it (my secret ingredient). Bake 45 minures. Allow to cool in the pan for about 2 hours before removing cake.
Most of this recipe is from The Complete Chocolate Chip Cookie Book, by Bob and Suzanne Stat.
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