What I’ve Learned About Money By Watching YOU

We’re excited to introduce you to another wise voice on the blog today, Katie Bomar!  Katie has been an intern with us for the past three summers at Hopetown and brings a dash of delight and creativity wherever she goes.  We wanted to share with you some important truths she learned from her dad.

Katie Bomar is finished her senior year at UT in Knoxville after spent her summers interning at Hopetown with Daystar. She enjoys anything creative she can get her hands on from graphic designing to watercolor painting to teaching art classes at Hopetown!

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What I’ve Learned About Money By Watching You

Growing up I heard a lot about money sitting around the dinner table because my dad worked in finance. He always said, “It’s all God’s money. I just get to manage it.” And that’s how I’ve watched my parents strive to relate to finances. As I grow up, I’m stumbling through what that means and how I can live it out with grace and generosity. It is not easy! But my parents have given me some helpful clues along the way about ownership, awareness, generosity and gratefulness.

Ownership

I remember learning my first lesson in money around the age of eight. This lesson in ownership centered around what nearly every elementary school girl scribbles on her Christmas wishlist- an American Girl doll. I was lucky enough to have two. One doll was purchased with my own money that I had saved up for months. The other was gifted to me at Christmas. A few months later, one doll was in pristine condition and the other was a bit of a mess. You could probably guess which doll I had spent my own hard earned money on…the one in perfect condition. It was then I realized that working hard for my purchases gave me a real sense of ownership and changed the way I treated my things. Starting at a young age, my parents challenged me to occasionally save up my own money for what I wanted. Something about ownership and responsibility clicked in my little eight-year-old brain when I saw the difference between the two dolls and it has stuck with me ever since.

Awareness

As I got older, my wishlist changed from dolls and bikes to movie tickets and cars. Then, one of the financial lessons my parents emphasized the most was awareness. They weren’t sticklers about every dollar, but they showed me how important it was to simply be aware of how I was using my resources. I learned to write it out on paper periodically so I could get a bird’s eye view of where my money was going. My dad taught me age appropriate budgeting that increased in intensity as I got older. By the time I got to college, I felt confident enough to maintain a basic budget and make empowered decisions about spending in moderation.

Gratefulness and Generosity

While my dad took charge of teaching me how to budget, my mom showed me what it looked like to cultivate a grateful spirit. She always made sure I wrote thank-you notes to friends and family anytime I received a gift. This simple practice helped me slow down long enough to reflect on the generous gifts I had been given. It became a habit that reminded me to live with a little more genuine gratefulness. My parents also encouraged me to save up money to buy gifts for others. Once I realized how fun it could be to pick something out for someone I loved, it felt easier to give generously. My hope is that the small seed of thankfulness my parents planted will continue to grow and spill over into the way I manage my money…with more ownership, awareness, gratefulness, and generosity each year along the way.