Melissa | 27 | Portland, Ore.

Melissa's money lesson from her parents

Photo credit: Cara Hopkins

What is the most important lesson you learned from your parents about money?
Two answers, because two very different parents and two very different approaches to money. From my mom, I learned ‘spend it while you have it.’ Not necessarily the best one. And the one I learned from my dad is kind of the opposite of that. I’m still learning from him actually; now about how to manage it appropriately, and living within your means. But most importantly, I would say, learning what it is that you cost. How much your life costs—whether that be including fun activities that you think you may need to be happy, or just the regular cost of living. So yeah, mostly just learning what it is that you cost every month or every year is certainly the biggest key, I think. Certainly as a college student.

Are there things that you have scaled back on in your life?
Absolutely. As a younger person, I spent a lot more money on more fun activities, more recreational, leisurely things. Now, I’m a 27-year-old freshman. I think that’s a good decision—going to school later in life so that you can focus a lot more. And all those things that you really thought that you wanted or needed as a kid, you don’t really need now. I spend more money on food, I think, than anything else. I love to eat, and I’m very much a foodie. I spend a lot less money on booze, and go-karting and paintballing … and things like that. I spend a lot more money on food and books, and things that are more productive, I think.

What are you getting your degree in?
Linguistics.