I learned my first lessons about money from my parents. One thing that I notice when looking back is that we grew up living paycheck to paycheck. They both had good jobs and they could be creative when it came to ways to save money, yet if something happened, it put the family into a tailspin. I thought that was just the way is was with everyone else. My mom took us school shopping twice a year for clothes and supplies. We had food and my father had the latest computer and internet service. I felt that we were fine until some screw u[ with HR or a client and then we had to scrimp and save until that got resolve and we got right back with spending.

While I now understand that it is common to handle your money in such a way, it’s not the best way. I learned through trial and error and when I was fed up I didn’t have more money in my account I decided to read up on finances. Most of he books seemed boring or didn’t feel appropriate for me as a college student. The first book that I enjoyed and read through was ‘Debt Free by 30′. It was written by 2 twenty year olds who advocated tracking all your spending and work on lowering your debt bit by bit. It had low cost recipes and lots of websites for me to look over. I also decided to talk to some friends and see what they thought.

I’m still learning and I enjoy reading up the blogs on my blogroll. I don’t try to change everything at once, but keep adding up little changes, so I’m likely to stick with them. There are different ways t learn and here’s some of them.

  1. Parents: This would be a great scenario if you learn good financial habits from them. Good examples from supportive parents can help cultivate the skills and desire to be financially independent. Unfortunately some parents don’t have the financial know-how t o pass on.
  2. Friends: You have to be careful this as you can learn bad habits from people just as inexperienced as you. Don’t just look at what your friends have. Some of the worst off financially have the latest gadgets and biggest houses.
  3. Books/Web: A common way people learn about personal finance is learning from a book or reading personal finance sites.
  4. Classroom: Some colleges have a personal finance class offered on campus. Many times this is more of an elective choice than a core class, which is a shame considering they offer that orientation class on how to study which is mandatory.
  5. Life: A common teacher for many. Basically you learn as you go along. The problem with this is that you can learn so many bad habits and keep repeating them because you don’t know any better way.

How did you learn about personal finance? I’m curious to see how many people learned good financial habits from their parents and/or friends. I also want to see if a financial crisis was the motivator to get it together. If you have any other personal finance sites I should look at, please share.

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Photo Credit: Ahmed Rabea