Money Lessons Learned from Siblings

Family and friends are very important to me. I could say they are in my top 5 priorities in life. So I hang out with them as often as possible. Sometimes it leads to profound questioning and inspiration, sometimes it is only laughs and fun, and other times you take good notes of stories or actions. So I did… about money.

1. “Use your stuff until you can’t repair it.” – Grandpa

My grandfather was a tinkerer. His things were not always the most beautiful, but they worked. If they didn’t, he would try to repair them first.  He not only saved a lot of money by doing this, he learned so much about mechanics, electricity and so many useful tricks!

2. “I’ll never buy a brand new car.” – Mr. My Husband

When I met my husband 10 years ago, he had an old 1991 Honda Civic. At the time, he didn’t want to buy another car because it was perfectly working, but also because he was putting money aside for his house to build – in which we currently live in. As you probably know, a car is THE one thing that loses the most value with time. So to him, there’s no point buying new when you can find one that’s just a few years old  for almost half the price! I’m now the best advocate of this lesson.

3. “Use your mortgage line of credit for big expenses.” – Brother-in-law

This one can be tricky but does make sense when well explained. In Canada, mortgage lines of credit are common. Interests on them are also lower than any other loan. So instead of borrowing money or filling up your credit cards for big expenses like a car, a home repair, etc., use this line of credit. However, be careful to set up a limit so your credit stays well below your house value. Also make sure that you save money for predictable expenses to avoid using that tool too much and end up with an unpaid home loan at retirement. This tip saves us a lot of interest expense.

4. “Pay your house as fast as possible.” – Parents-in-law

That could seem contrary to the previous point. Yet, it’s not. On one hand, we use our line of credit for big expenses when entire amount of money is not available. On the other hand, we make weekly payments much higher than the monthly minimum requested. We therefore pay more capital and less interests. This way, we should save around 10 years on our 25-year mortgage. This will give us more financial freedom at quite a young age (around 40).

5. “When you buy something, search for used first.” – Close Friends

I love these friends so much! They have so much stuff it’s crazy! Sometimes I even ask them to find things for me and they often do!! But the thing is they don’t spend much for all of them! They always find great deals through Facebook selling groups or classified ads. They also use the same system to sell what they don’t want anymore. Their kids often have new toys for next to nothing. They even found an upground pool in perfect condition for the quarter price of a new one! I also love the fact that it is environmental friendly and prevents more waste.

6. “If you want to travel, book your tickets first. Then, you’ll manage your savings for it.” – Myself!

Seems weird to quote myself, but this is really something that I’ve learned. I always tend to think I don’t have money to travel. There’s always a better use for my savings: clothes for the kids, a small repair on the house, a friend’s wedding to come, etc. the thing is, I realised that I always push my trips further and further and nothing happens. However, when we decided to go to Costa Rica with the family, there was only one option: going! So we booked everything and then, suddenly, savings for that became easier! We did it, and we didn’t borrow any money for it. This is my new philosophy to make my travel dreams happen. We are currently preparing a stay in Ireland!

7. “Your work is worth more than that. Believe it and others will believe it too.” – Brother-in-law 2

This brother-in-law is young. Yet, he’s good at what he does. Therefore, he makes good money out of his work. One time, I discussed the fact I was not earning much because I work part-time from home. He asked my hourly rate. He couldn’t believe my answer and told me it was too low. He said: “You don’t earn more because you don’t think you’re worth it. It should be one of the best advantages to be self-employed. What you deliver is of great quality. It does not matter that you do it from home part-time. It’s the results that count. You set-up what you’re worth. Others will believe you.” I must admit I raised my hourly rate since then and it worked. And I’m happy about it. It did make me more confident.

As you can see, money lessons don’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, the simplest advice can change your day-to-day money habits and make a huge difference on the long-haul. You might also have noticed that I didn’t write any lesson from my parents. Well, my parents didn’t always make the right financial choices. But they’ve always tried to bounce back. They taught me to work hard and to not regret the decisions made based on your best knowledge at the time, but to learn from your mistakes. So yeah, I guess that’s number 8!

8. “Have a plan and dedicate yourself to it” – Sister

My sister is one dedicated woman! I’ve rarely seen someone so determined. Last year, she decided to travel with her husband and family in a RV for one year! They went through North America up to Costa Rica. For over a year and half, she dedicated time to that project in other to make it a dream come true. And she suceeded. For sure this could be applied to money. Make yourself a plan, enter into a challenge and tell everyone about it! You’ll see how fast savings can add up!


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