Financial Lessons Learned: Save Up, Set A Budget A request on NPR's Facebook page asking people to share the most valuable financial lessons of their youth brought more than 1,400 responses. Many wrote about the importance of saving money starting at an early age. Others talked about avoiding debt — especially credit card debt.
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Financial Lessons Learned: Save Up, Set A Budget

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Financial Lessons Learned: Save Up, Set A Budget

Financial Lessons Learned: Save Up, Set A Budget

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Budgeting, saving, understanding bills - all are important skills for developing money smarts. We're talking about financial literacy all this week in our series Money Counts. And we reached out to our followers on Facebook to find out what were the most important financial lessons they learned when they were younger.

A lot of you wrote about a couple of things - saving money from an early age and avoiding credit cards.


Kirk Guadalupe of Dallas, Texas grew up with seven brothers and sisters. The family depended on food stamps and government aid, and his mom taught them the importance of a budget.

Mr. KIRK GUADALUPE: Mom would often bring us together and explain to us this is how much money we have and this is how much we need to spend on different items and this is what we have left. So that's where I learned from mom what it meant to save and also to set a goal, save up, and then, you know, enjoy the fruits of your goal.

MONTAGNE: Rosalyn Washington is a kindergarten teacher in Decatur, Georgia, who also learned about finances from her mother.

Ms. ROSALYN WASHINGTON: My mother was a banker with Citibank and so we literally sat around and talked about stocks and bonds and CDs and all that sort of a thing. So, I understood that regular people, even working class people, had these things. These weren't mysterious things just owned by the wealthy.

INSKEEP: Kat Strack of Chicago sold vegetables out of a garden stand when she was young. She told us that when tax season rolled around, her father would fill out a 1040-EZ form in pencil, and then have her trace over his lines in pen. She says she's, quote, "never had problems doing my own taxes as an adult now, even as my taxes got more complicated."

MONTAGNE: Stephanie Downs from Concord, California learned her financial lesson the hard way. Almost 20 years ago she moved away from home and had a job cleaning rooms in a hotel.

Ms. STEPHANIE DOWNS: One month my rent check bounced, and the landlord lived upstairs and he was not happy. Basically told me he was going to evict me and all my roommates if I didn't have the payment in 24 hours.

MONTAGNE: Stephanie called her stepfather for help.

Ms. DOWNS: He was sympathetic but not willing to do much to help me out.

MONTAGNE: He suggested she see if her bank would be willing to lend her enough money to get by until her next paycheck came in. Much to her surprise and relief, it did give her a loan.

Ms. DOWNS: I was very fortunate and happy and I never bounced another rent check again.

INSKEEP: Financial lessons from Stephanie Downs, Kat Strack, Rosalyn Washington, and Kirk Guadalupe. They were just a few of the 1,400 listeners who wrote us on Facebook.

MONTAGNE: You can test your financial know-how by taking our money quiz at You'll also find a calculator that shows you exactly how time can make your savings grow.

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