Thursday, October 13, 2011

Money Choices & Respnsibility

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I'm posting it here because if it's a a true account of someone's life (and I hope it is), it's similar to my transition into the adult world, and I think more young people should be able to pay attention and see what they can do to make this situation their own, even if their parents are ridiculously wealthy and give them what they want, when they want it.  We need a massive change in the way we're raising our younger generations to think of money and how the way we spend it affects us.  

I graduated high school in 2002 and didn't go off to a 4-year University.  I didn't have perfect grades in high school and I'm one of a few people I know who never took the SAT's or LSAT's to get a measure of what schools would accept me in their bottom half of registration.  When I was 12 I started working on my school holidays at my mom's office in the filing room for a good 8 hour day, a couple days a month.  That graduated on to me working full days for a family friend doing the same thing, filing papers and doing mailing merges, 8 hour days, paychecks on file, all throughout my high school years.  I worked for her partway through my college years on a more regular basis as my off-college days allowed (I went to a community college where I received the basic University Studies AA), during which I still lived at home.  No student loans.  I bought used books from the bookstore as I could find them and sold them back at the end of the semester.  I still took my own lunch to college and only bought from the cafeteria on occasion.  My folks had the deal with me that I could still live at home rent free if I was working full time or going to school full time and if I was taking a full semester (12 units) my grandparents helped with tuition and fees, a deal they made with all their grandchildren that graduated high school and enrolled in college.  It wasn't my full expenses, either-less than 50%.  They, like my parents, expected that my brother and I could and had learned how to go about supporting ourselves.  

I moved out of my house after I turned 21, into a student housing apartment with two other girls to lower the rent on each of us.  I drove a crap car that I bought for $400, owned a basic cell phone which was off for several months because when I first moved out, as I was more interested in being able to pay for food, rent, and gas to drive me to my job to be able to earn a paycheck than having a constant communication device with all my friends.  I had internet and email.  My parents knew how to get a hold of me if they needed me.  I worked in the same city as my father so if I had any problems with my car, I had somewhere quick to go to.  I bought new work clothes every now and then, and by new, I mean slacks and shoes on from Target or Ross and skirts, blouses, nice shirts at second-hand stores that were in perfect condition.  I didn't and still haven't applied for a credit card and still possibly have no real form of credit for which to qualify.  I learned enough bouncing a few checks early on in my spending career that it was a good idea to constantly know how much was in my savings and checking accounts.  I survived on cheese quesadillas, Ramen, Mac and Cheese, pasta and chili, pizza bites, veggies,simple salads, grilled cheese, chicken noodle soup, & eggs or oatmeal for breakfast,homemade chicken salad (from the can) or egg salad or peanut butter and jelly for lunch.  When I was working two part time jobs both offices had coffee machine so I didn't get Starbucks coffee every day.  The only time back then that I constantly splurged on shop-bought coffee was during theatre season when I knew I would be at rehearsal for five hours at night.  I never lived anywhere I absolutely could not afford.  I got an extra-large pizza and a family sized salad once or twice a month and had leftover dinner or lunch for three days.  (Every once in a while in my first apartment we shared meals but for the most part, we bought and used our own food.)  My food treat was sushi for lunch or dinner from a moderately priced place one a month or so.  I tried to put money in savings when I could-I didn't spend it all until I had nothing left.  My folks helped me out when my first drive-able car died and bought my second one for me, still not brand new, very used for $1000.  I drove that until I got married and moved out of the country and my father drove it until it gave up and died-it gave us about three years.  Better than making payments of $1000/month for the time to buy or lease a brand new car, wouldn't you say?  Unless it's seriously classic or vintage, I'm not willing to spend much more than that on a used car.  I didn't shop at the brand name stores where garments cost $70 on sale.  Unless it's made from fabric that won't ever stain, tear, wrinkle or shrink after washing or drying and can be made into any garment, I don't think it's worth $70 for a little skirt or a flimsy blouse.  (That, and I was never into keeping up with the current fashions.  Just because someone says it's worth $500, doesn't make it pretty or necessary.)  I once I got a full time job I eased up a little bit but I still didn't spend a whole paycheck on things I wanted instead of things I needed.  I paid my bills, paid my taxes, did what I had to do before I celebrated.  I still went out with my friends, went to movies, bought new things from time to time bought I shopped for food on sale, learned new recipes to cook that were budget friendly.  I did what I could to have a good time and not blow all my cash.  

If more kids like the guy in the photo had stood up ten years ago, sharing what they considered to be reasonable, responsible spending without giving up all the perks, maybe more people in the higher tax bracket would have taken some notice.  I know there's more people out there like me-say, all the people that I hung out with in college and most of the kids I considered friends in high school.  My best friend, Kelsey, chose her current place in life to be on the east coast and she works two to three jobs as she can manage and works the jobs she can afford to afford her bliss while constantly looking for a job in the love venue of her life-theatre.  We can't be the only ones in the world in our age bracket who worked hard, played hard, and most of the time made smart choices when it came to money and spending and how to get our education to further our place in the world.  There must be more people willing to do what it takes and I surely hope that by some miracle, some of them will be voted into an office where they can make some sort of a difference someday in the way our government spends our money and makes our choices for us.  

Think and Enjoy.
Allie H.


  1. I'll gradaute this May totally debt free thanks to grandparents and to working since sophomore year in high school. It's been a lot of work, but it's been worth it! Thanks for sharing this, Allie! <3

  2. You're welcome, hon! Just a few note about what I think is of value and worth learning and I'm glad that my extended family has learned it as well. I didn't realize that you were so close to graduating! I'm so proud of you!