Three bags: How I learned to manage money?

When I was seven or so, my mom gave me three ziplock bags and explained something to me. She said one bag was for tithes, one bag was for savings, and one bag was for spending.

Put 10% of your money in the tithes bag, she said, 10% in the savings bag, and then you can spend the rest. And then she had to explain what 10% meant.

I was a kid, and she was my mom. I just thought the bags were the way everyone did it, like washing your hands after using the restroom. It wasn’t until years later that I realized not everyone does this. In fact, the majority of people don’t do it. And like washing your hands, it still surprises me.

I realized even as a kid that everyone probably doesn’t give money to their church or to other people. I knew some people didn’t go to church, and I knew some people didn’t like other people.

But the savings part – that I still don’t fully understand. As a kid, I knew nothing of savings account interest, much less interest made on investments in the stock market or whatever. The incentive should be so much greater now that we know.

It’s not like you’re giving your savings away. You’re socking it away for yourself. Even just being selfish, why wouldn’t you want to pile as much into that bag as possible? It’s (almost) free money.

But some people don’t, most people, actually.

Part of my personality enjoys saving and automating and giving more than spending. But I still wonder how much of it ties directly back to my mom and the three bags she gave me.