Monday, October 13, 2008

My First Time

Get your minds out of the gutter!

I'm talking about my very first bank account.

I don't remember my exact age but it was definitely after I was 8 because we had already moved after my dad died. The bank was a small local town type of bank, not a big "Keybank" or anything. It was Puget Sound something and had blue register covers.

While I can't remember all the exact details, I do remember sitting at the bank desk with my mom and getting a brand new blank register with that blue cover and writing in the amount of money I deposited. It was very exciting to have my "own" money put away in the bank, but honestly I didn't truly come to appreciate it until my teens. I tended to want my money in front of me, not in some bank somewhere. But it was incredibly rewarding to watch the balance "grow" in that register.

My mom wasn't the *best* role model when it came to spending. She's fully admitted that she had a lot of guilt when it came to us kids because we didn't have a dad ... so she tried to compensate somehow with buying us a lot of "stuff" that we most likely did not need. I didn't *feel* spoiled because we didn't get everything in the world that we wanted but we surely didn't have any needs go unmet (aside from not having a father of course).

My father's insurance provided a large house (my brother and I each had our own room plus there was a guest room) and a new van. We each played sports. We had a Nintendo.

So my upbringing with money (at least from when I can really remember it) was one of more excess than of saving. My mom tells me that my dad was super tight with money and even made them live off of one paycheck and put the second one completely into savings. I wish I could do that now!

As I got older my bank account grew slowly ... I didn't really need to buy any of my own "stuff" because mom usually bought us whatever we needed and often what we wanted.

When I started working at KFC (my very first "real" job) I also got a checking account...oh boy! THAT was an exciting thing and even today I LOVE to write checks. I resisted using a debit card for a long time. I love duplicate checks because it helps me keep track of the checks I write (and yes, still today I pay extra for pretty checks with the duplicate option). I enjoy balancing my register to the bank record.

I didn't have a lot of bills but I must have inherited some of my dad's thriftiness because I did not end up blowing all of my earnings from KFC or my next jobs at the state (internship) on clothes or food or whatever else we were into at the time. I saved for college. It still boggles my mind that I was able to save over $4,000 for college. Not a lot but with my scholarships and beauty contestant winnings (no, I'm not joking) I was able to escape with a degree and very little loan debt.

Unfortunately, at 18 I also discovered credit cards. I would rack up several thousand dollars ... pay it off ... and start over again. By the time I got married my credit card was over $10,000 in debt. It was incredibly stressful for me and I hated it, but thankfully hubby was very understanding. Two home refinances later (don't worry we still have equity in our home) our credit card debts are paid off and we are working toward becoming debt free.

Sites like Gather Little by Little and now a new one I found The Passive Dad, are hugely influential in keeping that goal of a debt free life in sight. My car is nearly paid off and after that we work on hubby's truck. Then we tackle a stupid debt that hopefully won't take long to knock down and then we work on the house and saving for our dream land and home.

Having goals is great. And watching our savings grow - online now, not through a paper register - is just as rewarding today as it was to watch my piggy bank get fatter as a kid.


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I think most of us have ridden this ride. We are pretty much debt free now, but wow...there was a time. At least you know what a budget is. There are many that just can't quite grasp the concept of a budget. Have a great day. :)

wildcatsthree said...

Good information on living within your means. And your title caught my eye - yes my mind was in the gutter I guess. Have a great day