Talking about finances growing up was considered to be rude and unacceptable. I knew we had money – my mom owned her own printing company which was very successful and was growing by the day. We always had our needs covered, and presents during the holidays were in abundance, but it wasn’t a popular topic at family dinner; if you get my understanding.
I also remember receiving money from distant relatives and from Mr. Goodman (family friend that I’ve known from since I can remember) every time he saw us (nearly every day). My sister and I would instantly spend the money at the closest candy store or vending machine. Saving it? What did ‘saving’ mean? And ‘save’ for what purpose when I could get something right at that instant?
Obviously, I wasn’t taught about saving money, much less on how to do it. After joining the military at seventeen and going to boot camp right after high school, I started receiving my military pay. When graduating boot camp and released ‘into the world’ for the weekend, I spent every dollar I have saved the last two months. It was a habit….ooooops! Same thing happened when coming back from my overseas deployment. Oops! You can see the cycle, right?
Over a decade later I was still having the same financial difficulties. Old habits die hard.
Then we moved to Apple Mountain in Front Royal, Virginia in 2012. We lived at the top of the mountain (literally – the top), in the woods, with a three mile drive to the closest road and another five miles to the closest grocery store and shopping area. Not my cup of tea. At all.
Since I refused to go out every time I felt an urge to go shopping or to the grocery store, my money started building up. When we did go out on the weekends, we had a bit more money to spend than usual. It was nice. Something I could get use to. The winter was harsh (Winter Storm Sandy time), so we stayed in more than usual. More money saved up. Not talking large amounts to buy a car in cash or anything, but a bit more. We were able to put more money towards our debt. Very nice.
During that year I learned that what I wanted could wait if I really needed it, how to thrift shop, coupon on a larger scale, make many homemade items such as (laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner, homemade wipes), and live more frugal by following bloggers such as Andrea Dekker. What an eye opener!
While we still live paycheck to paycheck while I try to bring in some extra income blogging and offering some services, it’s not as difficult as it once was and my self-confidence in what I can do has soared! I hated living on that mountain, but great things came out of it – like this blog!
We still are not on a budget – I hate budgets no matter how much I need one, but we are on the track to developing one. Andrea has provided a great place to start with her Finance-Tracking Workbook.