Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Revisiting old topics

I know I have written about money before, but I am gonna do it again...(which feeds right into A's accusation of my blog laziness from two weeks ago...very perceptive, that boy is...but this will at least be a new post, just an old topic.)

I grew up pretty poor. Not at all destitute...we always had a place to live, and I was never hungry or cold, so I know that there are a lot of kids that have it a lot worse. Like this little fella that Brandy talked about that made me cry and want to hug him and steal him away to live in a spare bedroom... But my mother never made much money, I don't think, and she spent a lot of it on cigarettes, lottery tickets and getting herself absurdly drunk. Drunks don't maintain the best financial discipline, I always remember her scraping by until payday arrived, and there were definitely large periods of time that we were on government assistance.

Things got better when she got married. Her husband didn't make a ton of money, either, but he was better with it than she was, and also made her quit drinking and smoking (which helps a hear that Still Just Me?!?! Quit because it's cheaper!!!) I think we still probably barely approached "middle class" but there was enough money for all the stuff we really needed, I guess.

But there was never any "savings". I am pretty sure that is a concept that was completely foreign to my mother and her whole family. The sum total of all of their "financial goals" was to make a paycheck last until the next one came. Part of it was that none of them made a whole lot of money, part of it was that none of them knew how to take care of it, and part of it was just that none of them ever really knew any better. Even now, I try to talk to my cousins about it (the ones that I still talk to at all...) and some of them just have no interest.

A lot of this I covered back in December (here and here...careful, they get a little bit preachy;-)) so I won't rehash too much of it. But I will reiterate that I really like saving. It makes me feel productive, and it makes me feel good about myself. Even though retirement seems like such a weird, cloudy non-tangible thing, I feel oddly mature because I have a 401k plan [I have to wrap this up soon, because I just started to think about where I will be when I am 65...]

But there are other things that are on a shorter horizon. Primarily, I guess, would be buying a house. That is kind of my primary goal, and I really like the idea of setting money aside to do that, rather than, say, buy another handbag or another pair of shoes that are just ever-so-slightly different than a pair I already have (c'mon...we have all done it:-))

For me, the key is making a game out of it. I like that I can easily measure my progress, and so easily judge how well I have done...when you look back on how much you made, and how much you have left, the numbers don't lie!

I guess I don't really know what the point of this post is...LOL. But this is what I am thinking about this morning, so this is what you get!


e.b. said...

I think that is an excellent way to look at it - I am terrible at saving, so any ideas help! Plus you are instilling great values into the little one.

Trixie said...

Kudos for you for knowing your financial goals and doing something to achieve it.

Good saving habits will also show an exellent example to your little sister of how to be responsible about money and financial security.

Good luck!! :)

ella w. said...

WHAT? Give up shoes and handbags? ;)

notbubbly said...

What timing you have! I sat on the bus this morning thinking about how badly I need to start my 401K today so that it starts by the next pay period. I also thought about the fancy dinner I could eat every month if I don't start it. I am filling out the 401K paperwork right now. Thanks for inspiring me!

Accidentally Me said...

e.b. - Maxing out the 401K is forces you to save and forces you to cut out some nonsense from your budget. And beyond that, make it a game...write down how much you want to have by when so that you force yourself to set goals!

Trixie - She is really good with it. If anything, I think she may overthink buying things.

Ella - Maybe not all of them...just some:-)

Notbubbly - Yay for you! You will barely even notice it! 40% of what you save was gonna go to the government anyway...LOL.

Double-A said...

Wow, I get mentioned in two blogs back-to-back! Speaking of 401Ks, I should be putting back more.. :(

Accidentally Me said...

Double A - Yes, you should:-P

(I am going for "Blogger Mom" it working?)

LeiselB said...

Thank you for your honesty- I really enjoyed this piece. Not just b/c I identify-- but also because it reminded me that I'm not alone in my desire to be fiscally responsible even if it is sometimes driven by childhood issues. ;-)

Desiree said...

Yes fiscal responsibility is good! And I'm still working on it. ;)

Still just me said...

I agree with you, I really do. He smokes 3 packs a day, me, I smoke one. Packs are around 4 something a pack, so to keep it simple, I will round it up to 5.

4 packs a day at 5 bucks- 20.00 a day, 140.00 a week, $7280.00 a year.

brandy said...

I am a HORRIBLE saver. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes I forget that I CAN save. Like, if I have $20 in my pocket, I don't need to see if I can spend it within the first 10 minutes of leaving the house. I think I'm going to follow your advice and make a 'game of' saving. Wish me luck!

Accidentally Me said...

Brandy - Do you have something like 401K plans in Canada?

brandy said...

Um... yes? I think so. Man, this is embarassing that I don't know. Okay. I need to look into this.