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What Motherhood Taught Me About Money: 8 Moms Weigh In

It’s true — everything changes when you become a parent, including your finances. Besides facing a slew of new expenses, you’re charged with the financial well-being and future of another person. And that person, whom you adore, is probably learning about money from you.

Eight moms across the country answered the question: “What has motherhood taught you about money?” (They responded by email, and a few answers have been edited for length and clarity.)

Budgeting is a huge help

“Motherhood has taught me to carefully budget and be more resourceful. Having children can double or triple your monthly costs. Budgeting for the added costs and finding free activities has been a huge help. I’ve become very aware of where each dollar goes and find myself much more disciplined than I ever was in the past.”

— Elizabeth Preble, 34, of Billings, Montana; her children are 8, 7, 4 and 2

I shouldn’t pave the way for my kids

“From the day I became a mother, I realized how hard it is to deny my kids things I can afford. However, as my kids become adults, I’m learning it’s harmful to pave their way even when I’m tempted. It’s important to let them experience their own ‘lean years,’ because being young and broke is the best money education you can get.”

— Joni Gonzales, 51, of Hanover, Pennsylvania; her sons are 31, 23 and 20

Financial stability is key

“Once I became a mom, it became very important that we were financially stable and could start saving for the future. I had people who relied on me to provide for them no matter what. It spurred me to learn how to meal-plan, stick to a budget and improve my career so I could continue to support them.”

— Candice McDaniel, 34, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; her kids are 10, 7 and 3

Start financial education early

“Motherhood taught me that we need to start to educate kids as early as possible to prepare them for becoming financially responsible adults. We actively involve our children in discussions about saving money, paying bills, doing taxes, how much vacations cost and investing in the stock market. My kids have a debit card with special controls for their spending money to teach them about tracking purchases and savings for things they want. Additionally, we provided them the tools to research stocks and let them choose some of the stocks in their college funds. It has made for interesting dinner conversations on whose stock is doing better.”

— Adrienne Allgire, 51, of Bel Air, Maryland; her kids are 15 and 12

Time together beats pricey toys

“Happiness is inexpensive. No matter how expensive a toy is, time with parents is what a child really craves and will remember when they are older. That’s why I always have extra cookie dough on hand for impromptu baking days.”

— Sara Lundberg, 33, of Portland, Oregon; she has 3-year-old twins, a 20-month-old and a 9-month-old; she’s expecting her fifth child this summer

Two kids would be too expensive for us

“I always wanted two kids, but motherhood taught me to think twice about having a second child in terms of money. My husband and I both work full-time and have great careers, but we live in a higher cost-of-living area. Childcare is scarce, and we were unable to get our son into daycare when I returned to work. We had to hire a nanny, which is not cheap. Looking toward the future, my husband and I had to take a hard look at what our quality of life would be financially, as a family, if we had a second child. Ultimately, we decided not to have a second child.”

— Krissy Hadick, 38, of San Luis Obispo, California; her son is 2 and a half

Invest for my family’s future

“Being a mother — especially in the time of COVID, when we’ve all experienced change and loss in many areas — has taught me the importance of not taking anything for granted, being intentional with my finances and using money to invest in ways that will provide for my family for years to come.”

— Rowena Winkler, 35, of Laurel, Maryland; her baby is 14 months

Set aside money and plan ahead

“The longer I’m a mom, the more I learn about money. Rainy days happen all the time as a parent, so I’ve learned it’s crucial to have money set aside. I’ve learned to plan ahead so I don’t overspend on groceries, clothes and activities. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I shouldn’t wait to teach my kids about money. They can learn at a very young age to save, spend, donate and plan for things they really want.”

— Jen McConaghie, 35, of Chatfield, Minnesota; her children are 11, 8, 6 and 3



This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

Laura McMullen writes for NerdWallet. Email: lmcmullen@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen.

The article What Motherhood Taught Me About Money: 8 Moms Weigh In originally appeared on NerdWallet.