<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=407130234143631&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content

Not Your Mama’s Budget

Look, I’m the first person to call my mom when I have a question about anything.

“Uhhh…Mom? Is my washing machine supposed to make this sound?”

“Mom, would my dark blue jeans be considered business casual if I wear a sweater with it?”

“Hey Mom, what should I get for dinner, Mexican or Chinese food?” 

Woman BudgetingParents give great advice — and as a young adult, there are often no other humans on this planet who will invest in you and care for you the way your parents do.

However, it’s 2024. And the problems and circumstances young adults face today are quite different than in 1974, 1984, 1994, or even 2004. Especially when it comes to things like credit, the cost of living, saving, income, taxes, and pretty much every other part of your finances.

The credit card was created in the 1950s. However, it was limited to certain types of purchases, and no credit score was attached to you for future financial planning. FICO scores weren’t released to the public until 1989. YES, our parents were already of legal drinking age for the release of the credit score.

Availability of Credit

Back in the ’90s, because credit scores were a relatively new thing, getting a credit card wasn’t exactly easy. Banks were a bit stingy with who they handed them out to, and you had to prove yourself financially responsible. Fast forward to today, and it seems like credit cards practically fly through the mailbox (and inbox). With the rise of online banking and fintech, getting approved for credit and certain types of loans has become easier, but managing it responsibly is still key.

Don’t jump on the first credit card you get an advertisement for. Your parents’ first credit card was probably from one of the four places that offered lines of credit back then. Do your research and look for advantages different creditors offer. Many offer reward points (or cash back), discounts, and even investment opportunities. Look for low interest rates, benefits, and make sure to keep in mind any fees that come with the account.

While we may have more options than our parents did, that makes it even more important to make sure we’re making the right decisions to build credit and not just accumulate debt.

Cost of Living Concerns

Inflation and the rising cost of living makes basic budgeting, saving, and spending a little different than it used to be. It also doesn’t help that American wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, with worker productivity growing three times more than the pay for said job. So even though we’re working better, smarter, and more than ever, that growth is not reflected in our pay. Not to mention, we’re way more educated than previous generations.

Since the cost of living has drastically increased, it’s more important now than ever to set realistic budgets and financial goals. Be honest with yourself, and budget for your lifestyle while setting up your future self for success.

Prioritize your savings, stick to your budget, and spend responsibly. Don’t feel pressured by anyone — your parents, your friends, or society — to live outside of your means and make life choices you can’t afford. When my mom was my age, she had a husband and two kids, living comfortably off of one income. While I have a boyfriend and two cats. We both work full time, are responsible with our finances, and still aren’t where either of us would consider financially comfortable to make our next life steps in 2024. We’re making financial choices that work for us, and are on our own timeline. And you should be too!

Societal Norms and Life Decisions

With the passing of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974, women were legally given the right to open and have control of their own bank account, regardless of their marital status.

Things like the availability of credit, bank accounts, more education and job opportunities, for men and women, expectations and timelines changed, too. Women were working on their own careers the way only men had done previously.

With these societal shifts, big life decisions like getting married, having kids, and buying a home, have become priorities for later in life for some.

Your financial priorities are just that — YOURS. (And not your parents’.)

You need to make your financial plans and priorities work for you and the future you want for yourself. Your parents can be a great source of knowledge. However, it’s important to listen to yourself above all and understand that your priorities and timeline may be different than your parents’ timeline was. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

When making any type of big financial decision, it’s important to do your research, and getting the insight of those around you that you trust and have been through similar situations can be really helpful in your decision making process.

However, don’t let your family, friends, or society, make you feel like you’re doing something wrong by having different priorities than they do. It’s 2024, and things are different now than they were 30 years ago. Work toward the life YOU want, and you’ll make the right decisions for yourself.