This time of year, “winter is coming” is not something that many folk want to hear. Yet, a record number of people tuned in last weekend to hear just that (well, not that specific quote, but you get the idea).
Yes, SALT™ Blog favorite Game of Thrones is back for more head-chopping, white-walker-warning, and Joffrey-hating goodness. And while “winter is coming” is probably the best-known family motto from the show (thanks for teaching us about House Stark, Bran!), this blog is more interested in a different one: “a Lannister always pays his debts.”
Here’s what our team came up with.
Our family motto is, “Don’t just pay it back; pay it forward.” Good financial karma comes to those who give willingly to others in need. Life isn’t just about paying back debt; it’s also about investing in others.
So, for example, my mom surprised me with the gift of buying all the major furniture for my new apartment. I tried to pay her back, but she wouldn’t let me! So I figured out the perfect way to pay it forward—I’ll take my brother on a dorm room shopping spree when he starts college in the fall.
My family’s motto for saving is, “If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.” Seems like a no-brainer, but really it’s not. My family doesn’t use credit cards often, and if we do, it is for a purchase we know we have the money for and can pay off at the end of the month. No paying interest in this family! Of course, this doesn’t apply to big purchases like cars and houses, but those little things can really add up. Keeping cash on hand, rather than a card, is always the way to go in my family.
I totally want it to be something hard-nosed like, “If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.”
But really, it’s probably something like “Sure, if you think it’s a good idea.”
I think my family’s motto would be, “Do every weird thing you can think of to avoid spending,” or something along those lines. My mother won’t put the heat on until Thanksgiving, and my grandmother steals ketchup packets from fast food restaurants. My whole family washes to-go containers from restaurants and reuses them and empty Cool Whip containers as Tupperware.
“A McNichol works hard, but knows when to spend.”
My whole family is fairly frugal, but when it comes to spending, we get bang for our buck. As a family, we’re big on fun activities and doing them cost effectively. From our yearly beach trip to my Dad and my cheeseburger obsession, we find ways to have fun without overspending. Most importantly, we know that to have fun, you have to lay a foundation first with hard work.
My family doesn’t have a motto, per se. But my brother and I were taught not to ever live beyond our means and always pay bills/credit cards in full each month. It follows me to this day. My parents also always fully support entrepreneurship and innovation (ironic since one of them is a government employee and the other works for a giant corporate company!).
One time as a teenager, I wanted to buy my then-girlfriend an extravagant birthday gift (like Tiffany’s extravagant … ah, youth). My dad remarked that I was “awfully cavalier” with my money, especially since I didn’t have a lot of it. That parental guidance stuck in my brain, driving my personal spending motto today: “Not cavalier with money since 2003!”
Words of wisdom from the family matriarch, my 89-year-old mother, on love and financial security: “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as it is a poor person.”
And my new motto that I will be telling my kids: “Be sure you understand how your boyfriend/girlfriend handles money, how much debt they have, and what their credit rating is before tying any knots …”
All right, readers, now it’s your turn. Share your family’s money mottos in the comments.