I used to be more frugal than I am now. I sometimes wish I could be as frugal as my grandma was or at least as frugal as we used to be when we were living at poverty level. During those years, I remember reading books for tips on frugality, only to find I was already more frugal than the book recommendations! For example, one book recommended renting movies instead of buying them or going to the theater. Well, we were checking our movies out from the library – for free!
I was the oldest of seven children growing up. I observed my mother handling money poorly. Not that we had a lot to begin with, but she was careless with keeping track of money. In comparison, my maternal grandmother kept track of every single penny. She had these little books listing every single thing she purchased, every bill she paid, every bit of money she loaned to family members.
We were poor, and we didn’t have a lot of extras. When I would babysit, which was seldom, in the poor neighborhood in which we lived, I never charged a set fee. I’d take whatever the parents could pay, and I’d clean their kitchen, wash their dishes and clean their house (which was always a mess). The few times I babysat for a multitude of children, I was always underpaid. Like, two couples might pay me $5 for watching five children for six hours. I’d take the money home and give it to my mother, for we were always broke. My mom paid us an allowance – one quarter a week – this was during the late 70s, early 80s. The only problem is she didn’t even have an extra $1.75 a week to pay allowance to her seven children. Instead she kept track of it in a little notebook. But we didn’t have any extra money ever, so we never got to spend any of that accrued allowance.
I vowed to do a better job as an adult.
Click here to continue reading My Money Story – Teenage Years.