My parents did a great job of teaching me the value of a dollar.
I've never wanted for anything. I was blessed by them paying my way thru college (school, room, and board), paying for nice family vacations to Europe, and generally helping me when I was short on cash. But, at the same time, I started working at age 15-1/2, paid for half of my first car (they paid the other half), and have never been unemployed.
I remember at a young age my Dad explaining to me that, if I started saving early enough, I could have over $1,000,000 by the time I retire. I still have a 2001 Kiplinger Magazine article that he mail to me regarding making the most of your 401(k) early on.
My Mom is equally financially savvey. You should hear her negotiate a deal - no one drives a harder bargain. My Dad once calculated that my Mom saved our family roughly $600 a month just by shopping around for the best value, buying in bulk, cooking meals at home, etc.
I have friends who go on multiple expensive vacations each year, eat out for most meals, and buy the latest gadgets. I'm sure it's fun now, but I wonder what planning, if any, they're doing for the future.
I'm very lucky to have parents who taught me the balance between having fun and planning for the future. Thanks Mom and Dad!