Wednesday, May 13, 2009

She gave me her eye color, too…

Money is not an issue with me. 

I am not saying that I am rich.  I am not saying that I don’t have a need or a want for money.  I am saying that I don’t allow money to be an issue in my world. 

I never remember a time when I was growing up that I was in need of anything.  I remember using food stamps and later having to remember the pin for the EBT card when we were shopping.  I remember the  white box with black letting food that we got for free at the Food Pantry.  I remember paying something like 40 cents for lunch on the low income program.  I remember having Medicaid for insurance coverage and 7 of us living in a three bedroom apartment while mom worked two jobs to keep us afloat.

But through all of that I never felt poor.  I always had everything that I needed…shoes, a coat, money for school field trips and programs.  I was never lacking in anything that I remember.  My mom (and my older sister at times) took really good care of me and I never felt the crunch of being low income.  Which is how it should be.

Although my mom was great at providing everything that I needed, she wasn’t (and still isn’t) the best at managing her money.  And since children learn most everything from the examples and lessons of their parents, I grew up with the same money management skills that my mother possessed.

What exactly does that mean, that I am not good at managing money?  It doesn’t mean that I am in debt up to my eyeballs or that I am one of those people that purchased a house way above their actual means and are now sitting in fear of foreclosure.  It does mean that I am not all that careful about money.  I don’t have a retirement plan or a college fund in place for the future.  I don’t have a massive savings account filled with money for a just in case.  I do have a mortgage, an equity line and a couple of credit cards. 

My husbands money skills mirror my own in most ways.  He is a bit more conscious about what we spend and when especially if the costs of eating out everyday are piling up.  He is more likely than I to make a large purchase (think cars) without my knowledge or consent whereas I will almost always get his input before spending more than $200 on any one item.  But for the most part, we both buy what we want now and deal with the payments later…in a responsible sense.  Most of our furniture was purchased through a furniture store where we paid no payments or interest until our tax returns came in the following year.  We remodel the house at will, using a Home Improvement store charge card and paying it down month by month.  I get the stresses now and again and need some shopping therapy so I head to Kohl’s and charge whatever clothes suit my fancy that day without thinking about the bill until I receive it a month later.  He charges tools at work on a monthly basis and makes a payment every Friday. 

However, knowing all of that, you must also understand that we are frugal.  I shop sales and rarely pay full price.  We use coupons at times and try not to buy more than we need of anything.  We love garage sales and auctions to furnish our house and clothe ourselves and our children.  We both absolutely love a good deal.

So, you see, I don’t make money an issue in my life.  I won’t have it when I’m dead and gone so there is no point in not using it now.  It is nothing for me to buy a meal for a friend when we are out because it is usually I that insists on something more expensive than McDonalds.  That is also why I sold a vehicle to a family member and have never mentioned the fact that I wasn’t paid a dime in return for the sale and why when a friend called me up today and said, “Please don’t think any less of me, but can I borrow some money?” I didn’t think twice before writing the check.  Money isn’t an issue for me and I think that because I don’t allow it to stress me out, it has always appeared when I truly needed it the most.  I am hoping that this holds true when I have to return to paying bills after my mega expensive European trip in July!  I guess we’ll see. 

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