Being super poor isn't that bad.
After graduation, most people go out to a big fancy dinner, spend lots of money on graduation gifts and have a big job all lined up. Nope. Not us. For dinner, we enjoyed Hamburger Helper from the $1 section at the grocery store (with free meat from my parents' farm). I gifted my husband a small $15 cooler he can use when he commutes to university this fall, and he is still working at the same part-time job, probably for the next two years.
In a way, it's a blessing to be poor. We track every cent we spend, we always communicate about our finances, we don't buy frivolous things, our house isn't full of "stuff", and we find creative ways to entertain ourselves. We use cloth diapers and eat simply. We have a garden and I only buy books at yard sales. Being poor has forced us to manage our money better and think ahead.
True, we can't have the nicer things in life. We buy furniture at garage sales and I'm a freecycle.org frequenter. But my husband is able to get an education. Since our income is low, we are receiving financial aid for college, plus extra grants for gas and books. Somehow, it all works out and we are able to pay for the things we need, and in the end, it's hard to put a price on education.
Now that I think about it, my family was pretty poor when I was little. At the time, I didn't even notice. I had everything I needed, including a loving family. Someday, when my husband has a real job, it will be nice to be stable and upgrade our couch from a brown hand-me-down to something that actually matches. But until then, I'm thankful for what we have.
Carrie S. from Yakima, WA
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GOOD LUCK AND BLESS YOU BOTH
What a great attitude, Carrie! You have your priorities right.
It's amazing what you can live on when you have to. About 25 years ago, we had just bought a small house, we had two kids, the baby had a disability and was constantly at the dr. and on meds. Back then there was no HMO, just the traditional insurance that had about $2,500 deductable. My husband had been laid off several times and finally landed a good job, but wasn't paid well ($11,000 a year). We never took vacations or went anywhere except for the occassional baseball game when he received tickets from venders at work. We paid the bills, $10.00 at a time and I learned to shop on a budget. We didn't starve by any means and thinking back, I don't think we were deprived. Now things are a lot different, but we still don't take vacations, we do eat better food (not generic), I still have a vegetable garden at the same small house, we pay our credit card off each month and I still love going to thrift stores to get a bargain! I think we appreciate things more if we have to sacrifice and it stays with you forever. I still think if we won a great deal of money in the lottery, I probably wouldn't know how to spend it! I would just save it!
Hi Carrie, I know all about being frugal. I also, wanted to say that my brother and his family live in Yakima, WA. Well good luck to you and your family and God Bless.
Having been at all places on the wealth/income scale, I can say that the time I was most limited was certainly the most fun. Always something physical to do, so no time to sit around getting neurotic.
The larger the house, the more each cost related to it comes--gardener, pool man, housekeeper, car payments, and the neverending repairs to deal with.
I grew up with money--my Dad's--but I was always on guard for what I said and did, because people watched and talked about anything we did in public. I remember one lady actually remembered what I wore a year before to a party. I didn't. When we were in public, people would become very quiet, so they could hear what we talked about.
In medical school, I had to be very frugal. Everyone had loans, scholarships and/or grants.
Later, when I was in practice, I rarely saw my family. I met one lady outside my house, who parked there every day so she could dream about living in my house, she told me. I thought this was the most frugal guard service I could find.
Then, after many years, I was disabled. Now, I'm back to frugal. It's just as good as I remember, and the best part is, my family and I are closer than ever.
You are learning the important things in life. "Things" will come later and be much more appreciated. Experience has taught me that and I wish I could teach that to my children and grandchildren who "have things". Keep up the good work.
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