Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Is This Awkward?

I was raised not to talk about money in social situations. It was inappropriate and bad manners to do so coupled with the reality that growing up in a family of four children equals very limited funds. So today's post is pushing boundaries for me...a lot. My insides are literally crawling and I have typed, deleted, retyped this first bit a minimum of six times. In my particular case, not talking about money has led to some interesting financial behavior. For example, as a child I was required to do chores but I didn't get an allowance so I had zero spending money. My siblings and I would ride bikes to "the little store" and buy candy with whatever money we might have saved from birthdays or holidays. Since I was bad a saving money, I couldn't buy candy. So I got inventive. I saved my church-school offering ($1/week), pocketed it as I walked up the stairs to my classroom and dreamt about what I could buy on my next bike ride. I know...I stole from unfortunate kids in other lands, the church and was a low point, one I'm not proud of. I also never knew what my salary was during my teaching years. This was a defense-mechanism I am sure. I knew whatever my salary was, it would be disappointing in terms of how much I was compensated for how much time I spent/what the job entailed. chest isn't as tight anymore, I am loosening up. When I found out I was pregnant with Savannah, Tim and I decided one of us should stay home to raise kids. It is the best decision we have ever made. It meant scaling back from two salaries to one, and some serious budgeting. When we discussed personal spending, Tim let me choose the amount we each got per week. He must have been sweating bullets as it took a while for me to figure out what I could scale back to and what we could afford. Lucky for both of us I was very content and excited to scale back knowing it meant we would be welcoming a baby soon and wanted to provide a great life for him/her. I couldn't think of anything I needed and so I decided on $20/week. This $20 covered everything. Clothing, coffee/eating out, entertainment, gifts for friends, antiquing... It was SO hard at first, but like most situations when you find yourself with few and limited resources, you get creative. Consigning clothes, selling with yard sales, second hand shopping, asking for discounts and price adjustments, coupon-ing and stalking my next purchase in store and online for greater deals. I have become a great saver and smart shopper. And I don't buy anything I am not 100% sure I want. We have been doing this for seven years now, and I can honestly say that I enjoy my meager $20 a week. I don't feel like I am missing out on anything and the items and experiences I have indulged in are so much richer, they mean a lot to me. I know I am very fortunate and realize that some people don't even have two nickels to rub together. But I am curious, do you have a budget? Were you raised talking about money? Did it make you money-wise? 

1 comment:

  1. Oh this hits so close to home right now! Gabe's currently out of work, so money is a huge hot button's nice to hear someone talk about it in the blog world!

    For me...we never had money growing up. There just wasn't ever enough. And we didn't really talk about it, either. I don't think my parents ever told me what they were paid...and we didn't get allowances, either. Totally feel you on the saved birthday/holiday money.

    When I was old enough to get my own place, I was scraping by and was very careful about my grocery budget, my "fun money" budget and so forth.

    Without being tacky, I will say that Gabe is used to making a very comfortable wage. He's been on that type of budget for the past five years. I got used to that, too, but never really lost sight of the way I was to pinch and save when neeeded. How to trim down your purchases. I've come to believe that Gabe just doesn't remember how to do that...and there are so many times in the past few weeks I've wanted to scream "WE CAN'T/SHOULDN'T BUY THAT!!" even if it's just more expensive type of ground coffee, or a speciality bakery item. When I'm out $40 after just "dropping by the store" to pick up two things, it drives me nuts! Especially when you're not sure when the next paycheck is gonna come rolling in.

    Whew. Clearly it's something we need to work on. ;)

    Anyway. I feel better now that I've put to words that frustration! I'm inspired to hear that you can trim down, come to grips with your budget reality and learn to save. :)

    Thanks, Dusty! :)