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My First Money Lesson

There are a lot of first in our lives.
The one that I am always curious about is the first lesson someone has about money. I call it…


My First Money Lesson


I believe that this can be a truly defining moment for a person. It definitely was for me.


When all my friends were getting allowances (note I said getting, not earning), I gathered up the nerve to talk to my dad and ask him for an allowance.


He looked and bluntly said:


“What are you going to do to earn it?”


So I thought quickly on my feet and gave him a bunch of chores around the house I could do to start earning that coveted allowance that I desperately wanted.


He liked what I told him and we had a deal. There was just one condition.

I always saved half of what I earned from my allowance to buy something bigger.


This was a huge catalyst in my life, though I didn’t know it at the time. It carried forward into my work life, businesses and side venture I had along the way.


Every two weeks I put half of my allowance away in my “briefcase” (a.k.a empty cassette tape carrier) and counted and saved diligently for what every I wanted next.

Always Save Half of What You Make


My parents had this habit long before I was born. When my sister came along and was diagnosed with severe Autism my mom decided to stay at home with her. Normally for people this would be a huge change, but because my parents lived off half they could make the switch without blinking an eye.

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To this day, I always save a good chunk of each of our pay checks. I must admit I have fallen off the traditional “Save Half” rule but I am determined to get back to it. Instead of saving we have been paying down our mortgage with the ferocity of a lion on it’s prey. We want it gone, and soon it will be. In it’s own way I have changed the Save Half and apply it against our mortgage. Once we say goodbye to our mortgage, I hope to get back to Saving Half Again.

In its own way, I have changed the Save Half and apply it against our mortgage. Once we say goodbye to our mortgage, I hope to get back to Saving Half Again.

One other thing… ok it’s a big thing

Saving half of my money taught me to wait, to anticipate and get excited for something. It taught me to look forward and work toward a goal. I have started my kids with this at very early ages, I hope it has the same influence on them as it did on me.


What about you? What is your first lesson about money, how has it changed your life? Leave a comment below.


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  1. Reply

    What a great first lesson. Saving half is difficult for most people but I don’t think they give credit to the freedom and security it gives you. Like for your parents, we no longer have two incomes…not life-shattering like it would be for most.

    I’m collecting all these little nuggets of wisdom for when we have kids and this one definitely goes into the book.

    • Family Money Plan


      Thanks Mr. Benny. The more I go through this crazy world, the more I appreciate this lesson. Saving is easy when you start out that it’s just “something you do”. My kids are saving like crazy right now, they are focused on their “big purchase” and rarely buy things.

    • Family Money Plan


      Mr. Budget that is awesome! You are saving a huge amount. I’m still trying for half and I know how hard it can be. The way I look at it, every month I save half is another month I don’t have to work down the road. Maybe more if I invest properly.

  2. Reply

    Well done to your parents for teaching you that at such an early age, and to you for continuing it with your kids! Our attitudes towards money are shaped at such a surprisingly young age, so that’s definitely when you need to get in there and give them a good foundation for life!

    • Family Money Plan


      Thanks Jenni! I have started doing the same with our kids at an even younger age. My son got $2 yesterday and said “Can you go put this in my piggy bank?” I asked “Which one Spending or Saving?” He looked at me without hesitation and said “Saving”. I couldn’t be prouder. At his age it will grow to be his default as long as it’s encouraged and rewarded. Do you have any lessons you like to share?

  3. Reply

    Thanks for this article. I need to be more patient and removing all credit cards will force me to learn that!


    • Reply

      I’m happy you liked it. Credit cards are a dangerous thing. I have always used them like a debit card. Making sure I could pay for the purchase immediately after I used it to pay for something. Hard to do sometimes but has kept me out of a lot of financial hot water. Have an awesome day!

  4. Reply

    What a great money lesson to teach kids. What I do with my own children is first they understand that the money the get is because they earned it. I call it commission instead of allowance because if they don’t the job they don’t get paid. Second they must break up their earnings into these three categories – saving 20%, giving 10% and the rest is for spending. After doing this since they we’re very young it is now automatic. Now I am trying to teach them how to invest their savings.

    • Reply

      That’s great Michael! I love the idea of giving. We were talking about that last night. We are looking for local places to help out so are kids can discover the true meaning of giving and helping others. I like the commission idea too! Do you use a jar system for your kids so it’s visual?

  5. Reply

    I think my first lesson was, “money isn’t everything” and it’s one I happened to take to easily. My family was always poor and although we certainly lived like we were poor (all hand-me-down clothes and meal plans always heavy with the boxed mac and cheese) complaining was not an option. My parents never said anything along the lines of “We wish we could buy you lobster for dinner to go with the off-brand mac and cheese but alas, we cannot. Oh, our dreadful fate! Why, stars, hast thou aligned thus so?!”

    Yeah, it can be assured that they never said anything at all like that.

    We didn’t have money and that was okay. It made it real easy to go into the world and have enough money for lobster yet happily dine on the cheaper options. Saving is easy that way. Find value in the free things like relationships and spring breezes.

    • Reply

      That’s a great lesson to learn early on. While money is useful it by all means “isn’t everything”. I learnt that money is a tool and has great uses, but happiness comes from within (cheesy but true). When you learn to be without, you can easily learn to save as you get more.

  6. Reply

    I remember my first lesson well. My parents took me to one of those old-fashioned Savings & Loans (like in “It’s a Wonderful Life”) in our community and opened a passbook savings account in my name. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. I remember distinctly the first time interest got credited to my account. ‘What? People will give me money for doing nothing?’ That set in concrete my foremost lifelong financial goal: get to the point I could live on passive income only. I’m just about there. 🙂

    • Reply

      Kurt, that is an awesome first money lesson. Congratualtions on almost being financially free. It must be an awesome feeling. What is your plan once you achieve it?

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