Hey everyone, today I have a killer post for you by Misty over at SimpleOrganizedLifestyle.com! You all know I'm a believer in finding wisdom everywhere. One of my favorite things about running M$M has been bringing in Baby boomers and the Gen X crew and sharing things they've learned about personal finance throughout their lives!
This post also made me think of all the random stuff we grew up with as Millennials too! Enjoy! ~M$M
I was a child of the 80’s raised by a single mom. My mom worked really hard at a textile plant, coming home with cotton in her hair and a machine smell that I will never forget. I spent most evenings out of her way either playing outside or watching tv.
The only time I remember getting a financial “lesson” was when I mailed in a card out of a magazine to get “10 Books for One Cent” and my mother found out by getting an overdue bill a few weeks later. She explained that there was something called fine print and she now owed this company a lot more than one cent. Whoops.
As I grew up and took my own journey to pursuing debt freedom and financial independence, I realized being a child of the 80’s taught me a lot more about personal finance than I thought. Even though my mom didn’t talk a lot about money, I was still impacted by the experiences from my childhood.
5 Things Being a Child of the 80’s Taught Me About Finances:
1. Less can be more
I spent a lot of time at the lake in the 80’s. The adults took the “three B” essentials to the lake. Those were a boat, bathing suit, and beer! Everything else was optional.
Good times were had without a high dollar cooler or a monogrammed tumbler. As I remember, styrofoam held the ice and a koozie held the can.
These days, fun memories can still be made without buying the latest and greatest new gizmo or gadget. The best part of that is keeping money in your pocket. Less really can be more.
2. Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive
Many kids in the 80’s had their birthday parties in a few reserved booths at McDonald’s. The entertainment was stacking Quarter Pounder boxes. This was a fun birthday party that didn’t blow the family budget.
There is so much pressure these days, especially as moms, to host a party complete with everything from cake pops to photo booths. How about reducing some of that pressure and introducing the kids to an old-fashioned game of pin the tail on the donkey? I bet they will love it as much as we did in the 80’s!
Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. There are great options for families to enjoy time together that doesn’t require a credit card. Things like free community events or programs at your local library, parks, museums or just running through the sprinkler on a hot afternoon!
3. Fads are not for the frugal
If I learned anything from my childhood in the 80’s, it was that fads come and go. I would beg my mom for packs of Garbage Pail Kids, lip smackers, and the latest Babysitter's Club book. The new wore off faster than the bills were paid and I was on to the next “thing I had to have.”
Now my college-age nieces pay big bucks for ripped jeans that their grandfather offers to design for them for a fraction of the price. This gets a good laugh around the dinner table but I think the message behind his teasing is that fads are not for the frugal. Most fads become items that take up space in a useless storage tote.
Remember the Beanie Babies craze? Okay, so I hadn’t had a lot of these personal finance revelations at that time and I have several of these taking up real estate in a closet right now. I’d love to say this was my entrepreneurial spirit making an investment for a future rare collectible. But the truth is I wasted hard-earned cash from my college jobs on a toy stuffed with plastic pellets. Cringe. Learn. Don’t repeat.
4. The Jones’ are still in debt
Some things don’t change three decades later. The Jones’ were in debt in the 80’s for a box t.v. and latest VCR. My mom sold her Ford Pinto for a T Top Camaro. I remember the stress of the bills more than any kind of joy from a popular car.
Debt steals joy. Why do we need to keep up with the Jones’? The Jones’ are tired and stressed out! Yes, they are going to post a picture of a filet mignon cooking on a Big Green Egg on their social media profile and it makes your spaghetti at home seem a little less glamorous. However, we know something they don’t. Debt costs us our freedom.
My husband and I are super focused on a debt freedom plan. If anything, my childhood from the 80’s opened my eyes to the opposite of what many consider the American Dream. Our American Dream is living life on our terms without the stress of debt!
5. Take care of Tupperware
I cannot begin to tell you how many Tupperware parties I sat through as a child in the 80’s. There was no mercy for the kid that innocently used a Tupperware bowl outside to make a mud pie or feed the pet!
Here’s what I learned from the Tupperware obsession. If you must buy stuff, take care of it. It will last longer and stand the test of time, returning your investment over and over again.
These days, many people get a new car because the “old” one hits 125K miles or loses the new car appeal. A used car that’s regularly maintained has a lot more life on it than people think. What if we drove the used car and put the money saved towards our debt freedom plan instead? That’s much more appealing!
A lot of the readers of this site are Millennials. What I love about Millennials is that you are questioning how things have always been done to see if there’s a better way. I look for you all to figure out finances much sooner than I did. That’s going to pave the way for the next generation, including my five-year-old son, to follow in your smart financial footsteps!
Misty is an online publisher at simpleorganizedlifestyle.com, where she provides helpful tips for simplifying & organizing home and finances.