Unsolicited Money Saving Advice
I grew up poor. By poor, I don’t mean middle class. If you combined both of my parent’s incomes, they might have made $50,000 per year during the late eighties. My father was in the Navy before that, a lowly E3. Mom kept things going while he was on “PACs” across the Pacific. After that, he primarily did unskilled labor; my mother was a respiratory therapist. We didn’t have the finer things in life.
Later, we moved to the country. Once a month, my parents would take us out to eat at Ponderosa (a nasty steak and buffet place), a Chinese restaurant, or a smorgasbord in the county seat. It was a big deal. We didn’t go on family vacations. I wasn’t on a traveling baseball team.
I wore the cheapest new clothes, and we often shopped at thrift stores. I went to school with wealthy farmers whose parents purchased designer clothes. If I didn’t wear them- and I didn’t, they insulted me. Such it was for me. I grew up poor, though still wealthy by a world standard.
Though people generally don’t turn to the poor for their financial advice, I’d like to think of myself as uniquely qualified to speak about how to save money, especially now that I’ve survived the pandemic on less than 35k per year. As an adult, you’d think I’d be further along than that, right?
Allow me to rewind a second for more context. When Dad returned from the Navy in San Diego, he would send me into dumpsters to find things others didn’t want anymore. He knew how to survive, and he knew how to find some genuinely cool things. Looking back, it seems lazy and haphazard of him to send me in there, though I suppose it made me half the adventurer I am today. Dad would take any advantage he could get over his puny pay.
I’m just throwing that in there for further emphasis. Things that some thought were worthless became valuable to us. I grew to appreciate the meaning behind what we kept and learned utility.
I know value when I see it.
In contrast, I have seen and experienced many expensive things in my life, and rarely do I find their price justified. It doesn’t mean I go digging in the garbage anymore.