I am not a parent, but my parents taught me a lot. You don’t realize it… until you do. If that makes any sense.
I write this blog for everyone… single, married, parents, etc… everyone.
Financial responsibility. It’s so important. Yes, it’s not easy for those hardly making any money, I realize that. But, my parents never made a ton. My Mom didn’t work for years while she raised us. Sometimes a few hours in the school lunch room, then later, a teacher’s aide when we were in high school… but that’s it. My Dad was laid off while I was still in school, then retired.
But, boy did they know how to save money and be responsible.
I remember when my Mom quit smoking. She opened an account at a different bank. She put the money she used to spend on cigarettes into a separate account. When something came up or she wanted to buy us a gift or take us on vacation, she would always say… “don’t worry, we’ve got my cigarette money!”
Still to this day, she says it.
After college, I worked two back to back television jobs in two different small towns. My first job, I was paid $23,000 a year and my second job paid me $19.000 a year. Yes, I was a TV Anchor. Trips to Wal-Mart usually went on my credit card, the goal was always to find an inexpensive but clean apartment, sometimes that included having roommates to cut the cost. It wasn’t easy. I knew I had to do it though, in order to climb the ladder.
Finally in 2002, I was able to make about $10,000 more and live in my hometown. Yes, I was a TV Anchor. I know so many people think it’s such a glamorous and high paying job. It can be… eventually. YOU HAVE TO PAY YOUR DUES.
My point. Balancing all my fiances and staying out of credit card debt was a challenge. I also had to keep up my appearance and clothes for this job. Once I made a little more money, my goal was to immediately get rid of my debt. I always bought a reasonable car and watched my money.
I now see, it’s because I was raised that way. Appreciate the little things. Value everything you buy with your own hard earned money.
I moved to Las Vegas in 2004 and as I continued to work here and get promoted, I started paying things off.
I did it. No debt.
I bought a house in 2006. Just like the rest of Las Vegas, it lost value and my home was underwater. It was a bold move for me to short sale. It meant my precious perfect credit was going to take a hit!! It was the smartest decision at the time though. I did it. I moved somewhere less expensive and pushed money aside with the difference.
I do have nice things, but it’s not out of control.I love a bargain. I use coupons when I can. I still have an old Dell PC instead of a new fancy Mac. I pay off my credit card every single month and I don’t buy anything unless I have the money.
I learned all of this from my parents.
In June, I lost my job. Unexpectedly. I have a non-compete and can’t work jobs that I have the experience for and I am good at: TV, radio, closed circuit, internet. Unless I move. But, I have responsibilities here: car and condo leases and commitments. Not to mention, I love this city.
It’s been a struggle, but I must admit, I still live pretty nice. I still don’t have credit card debt. I still pay all my bills on time.
How? I saved. I had a savings. I learned how to budget.
Recently, my car lease was up. I thought, “what will I do? I can’t prove employment.” The dealer called and said since I make all my payments early or on time, I am pre-approved. No need for an employment check.
Wow. Saved again.
I got the same car (because I liked it and there is no need to upgrade or get something different in this time when I am not working.) I am just happy I was able to get a new lease without the old one expiring or having to buy the car myself.
I guess, I feel really lucky.
One day, as I sat down and thought, “gosh, I can’t believe I haven’t worked in almost a year, yet I have been able to stay afloat. How? Ahhhh, my parents. The way I was raised, the way I was taught. Thank goodness for them.”
Teach them young. Set good examples. It has saved me. Literally saved me. You never know when things might change in your life. Never count on anything. If this blog helps just one person, it’s worth it. I wanted to tell this story because I know life gets busy and we don’t think clearly all the time. We go day to day. Stop. Look at your finances, teach your kids, and it could save you one day.
Thanks Mom and Dad!