I had my first encounter with an Internet troll this week.
Some of you saw my excited Tweet about being included in this story from Business Insider. The article offered a roundup of great money advice from moms in honor of Mother’s Day. Seems like a fairly innocuous and totally thoughtful topic, right? You wouldn’t think my contribution would spark such anger in a person, but I guess that’s just my naivete talking. People get irate about the weirdest things and the Internet gives them an anonymous outlet in which to publish their nasty, hateful words without fear of repercussion.
I couldn’t help but respond to the comment since it included some personal attacks against my mom. I kept it professional while letting this person know they’d crossed a line. Once I clicked “submit,” I was able to focus on other things, like sleeping through the night without tossing and turning in fury.
With that behind me, I started thinking about everyone who has helped shape my attitude toward money and finances. At 28, I still have a lot of years to adjust my financial habits but so far, I’m pretty proud of where I’m at. Not many people my age can boast zero student loan and credit card debt. I’m not perfect, but I do credit my smart financial decisions to a number of people including:
My mom – As my contribution to Business Insider points out, my mom was instrumental in shaping my financial independence. Self-reliance is something she always promoted, but she also instilled in me a love of family that helped balance my independent tendencies. And because of her, I have an almost moral aversion to spending full price on clothing and shoes.
My dad – Before making a big purchase, my dad puts most university research departments to shame in his pursuit of information. He reads reviews, peruses forums, scans books and watches videos for weeks and months before making a decision. Though waiting is the hardest part for me, my dad’s meticulous methods ensure he’s getting the most bang for his buck.
My husband – My husband has had an enormous impact on my attitude about debt, saving and spending. Simple things like comparing products based on per-unit price didn’t occur to me before him. Big things like paying off credit card balances each month are now an integral part of my financial plan. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life and his financial savvy is a huge bonus.
My mother-in-law – I can’t thank my husband for his frugal ways without also thanking his mom, who inspired his respect for money. She shops thrift stores, antique shops and supermarket sales like a champ and keeps a keen eye on all the money that goes in and out of her household. She’s not afraid to speak up when she doesn’t get the deal she expects, but she’s also kind, patient and extremely giving.
My grandma – My grandma was raised during the Great Depression and is characteristically waste-averse. While I cannot fathom what she endured during this time of extreme austerity, I can be inspired by her steadfast dedication to a frugal lifestyle despite her current comfort. I likely won’t hoard take-out tupperware as she does, but I will try to treasure my existing possessions as she does.
My job – Okay, my job is not a real person but I’d be remiss not to include it in this lineup of money influencers. Before this job, I never couponed and rarely looked for online discounts. Now, I pull out my smartphone and search for mobile coupons before each shopping trip and have discovered such innovations as discount gift cards and cash-back rewards.
My budding network – In addition to introducing me to tools and techniques, this job also opened my eyes to the world of personal finance bloggers. The people with whom I’ve exchanged tweets, comments and questions serve as daily inspiration and further help me to define my frugal lifestyle. I get advice on everything from minimalist living to the merits of juicing from a community of like-minded people from across the continent. How cool is that?
Who are your biggest money mentors?