Money is a huge part of my life. I'm not saying this because I have a lot or have a little. I believe I have just enough, thanks to my hard-working father who's supporting a family of 6. He owns a food supply business in New York and he brings home a decent amount of money. We aren't rich. We're alright. We live in a 1,320 sqft house on a 8,511 sqft lot. We own three cars, although four of us can drive. We have 3 TV's, but only 2 have Fios. We each share a room with another in our 3 bedroom, single-story, ranch-style house. I would say we're pretty average. Although I haven't had to support myself financially in any way, money is a big deal to me. Money has been handed over to me from my parents my entire life. I've never had to find a job in order to survive, although I've had a few. Whenever I needed a new coat to replace my worn-down one, or a meal out with my friends, my parents were always there with their wallets.
It takes a lot for my parents to say no to me, not because they give me everything I've ever wanted, but because I am fully capable of knowing when I should ask for something, and when I do, they trust me that it's important. Something my parents taught me growing up was that being told "no" was okay and that I didn't have the right to have everything I wanted. A few years back, I would pull something off the rack and show my mom asking her if she will buy it for me knowing she will say no. Hey, it was worth the try. But knowing that she won't buy it for me is okay. It's okay, and I'll just try again next time I find something good. But as I got even older, to the age I am now, I get a little ashamed asking for things. I ask with caution, knowing I can only ask once in a while. Not because I would get in trouble, but because I would be embarassed for asking for so much from my parents. I am at the age of 19 and I prefer not to be treated like a child, and that includes not relying on my parents for everything, including money.
At this age I've already had 5 different jobs, all but one at minimum wage, the other was $10/hour (yippee). At the times I had the jobs, I never needed the money. My parents never charged me rent for staying in the house or for eating the meals my mom prepared. I was fully dependent of my parents but I had a job just to keep busy and to make money, of course. My parents expected me to spend the money I made on the things I need, and when that runs out, I would ask my parents. My parents were now my backup plan. Asking for money meant I needed to use this backup plan and backup plans are only supposed to be used when you're in emergencies. Not wanting to feel like a child relying on my parents, I would spend my money on things I needed AND didn't need, since heck, it was my money anyways, I'll spend it the way I want to. And I managed to not run out until a few weeks after quitting each job for scheduling reasons with school. Then, that's when my mom would hand over a $20 bill to me every Monday morning for lunch. That was when she knew she had to help me, since I was still her child, and I still needed help. I didn't feel bad for taking my mom's $20s every Monday morning. I knew I needed $4 a day for lunch, and I knew I wouldn't find that anywhere else. That was money I needed to survive.
I don't believe in weekly or monthly allowances. I feel like allowances make kids believe their parents owe them money, like having an allowance is a right instead of a gift. I would be grateful for an allowance, BUT I wouldn't take money until I needed it. If I spent $3 on lunch for three days instead of $4, I would use that unused money on lunch for the next week. And until I ran out, I wouldn't take any more money. I didn't need it anyways, why should I take it when I don't need it? I know for a fact that once I needed it, it would be waiting for me back at home in my mom's wallet. Money wasn't something that could get me stuff, it was something I exchanged for food. And as long as I had food, I didn't need any more money.
I'm a typical girl and I get impulses to buy anything cute I can find, but it has to be in budget. I strictly do not buy tops that are over $10. If it's a nicer top, for example, a chiffon button down, I would splurge a little and go up to $15 on good days. I'm also not a trash bag, I like to dress nicely and do my hair and all that. I just don't like spending money where money doesn't have to be spent. I don't call myself cheap, because I will buy things that I need at the appropriate prices. I will splurge a little on a Calvin Klein winter coat that will keep me warm in the winter, but I will never pay full price. Coupons and sales are gifts from heaven. I will not pay for a regular-priced $100 coat, but will pay for a something normally at $200 but on sale for $100. This doesn't make me cheap, I just prefer to make the most of my money.
I have a friend who buys water from Shoprite, but instead of taking advantage of the 3 for $10 deal, he only gets 1 pack, because it's "cheaper in the moment." Spending $4 is definitely less than spending $10 if you're short-sighted, but based on how many bottles you get, clearly the 3 for $10 deal is much better. And who has ever said they have too many bottles of water. They barely expire and you're never going to not need water. Buying 3 packs for the family one time for 3 weeks and buying 1 pack for the family 3 times for 3 weeks makes no difference except saving $2, some gas money, and time traveling to the store. And you say $2 is nothing, but you wouldn't hand over $2 to someone else every week for the rest of your life for no reason would you? So why would you not save $2 every single time you make cases of water purchases?
Money makes me happy, it really does, and I"m sure it makes you just as happy. "Money can't buy you happiness." Yep, it can't, but I sure as heck would be much happier with money than without. Quoting Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wallstreet, "I've been a poor man, and I've been a rich man. And I choose rich every fucking time." Who wouldn't? I'm not saying I NEED money in order to be happy. I can make happiness out of anything. But I would like to have more options, and not having enough money, decreases the amount of options I have. Playing with a kite with my siblings makes me happy, but so does going on cruise to the bahamas, (which I have yet to do). You know what would make me really happy? Playing with a kite with my siblings while on a cruise to the bahamas. Now wouldn't that be super awesome. That sure would make me super happy, and I know for a fact it would make a lot of other people happy as well. Wouldn't it make you even happier knowing you had the option to even go on a cruise since you can afford it. I definitely don't have to go on any cruise for happiness, but it makes me feel better knowing I'm not restricted to simply a kite for happiness because I can't afford anything else. I don't need money for happiness, but having money gives me more ways to reach happiness, making it so much easier.
I used to be a TV/broadcasting major but switched my decision to engineering early on before my first semester even started. I used to think, "It's ok if I don't make that much when I'm older. I don't need that much anyways." But then I look at my mom doing the bills and see that we're "alright" and we still have only just enough to pay the bills for the simple stuff like the house and the cars and me and my sister's college attendance costs. These are only things that we NEED. How about the things we don't need? We're slowing paying back the $12,000 we owe from our trip to see our entire extended family in Malaysia. Seeing how "real" reality was, I decided that I needed to set my goals hire. I wanted to not just be "alright," I wanted to do better. My dad tells me all the time that every parents' dream is to see their child do better than they ever have themselves. I wanted to do better than my dad and he already made more than six figures.
Now don't start thinking I'm all about making money and not about following dreams. I follow my dreams. And I have multiple dreams. I dreamed about working for a TV station, and I also dreamed about building bridges. Just because I ditched my TV dreams, doesn't mean I'm not chasing any dreams anymore. I liked how I can get an easy life in the end if I just struggled through it in college in the beginning. I dream about being able to afford a nice house for my family and being able to fill up the fridge enough so that it's never empty. I dream about not having to worry about being so helpless when looking at my bills and not having to think twice about getting that nice car I've always wanted. I want to be able to give to my future family what I've been gratefully given from my own parents. I can ditch one dream for other dreams, so don't go around thinking I'm a gold-digging, dream-ditching dilusional pessimist. I like the idea of having a secure future.
This is why money is a big deal to me. It's a huge part of my life and a lot of my decisions are made based on money. Simply asking mom and dad for help makes me feel immature; how am I supposed to expect to be treated like an adult when I'm acting like a child. Money isn't something I deserve, I don't have a right to be given money from my parents. But it is something that helps me survive. My parents don't owe me money. I should be owing them, actually. Because I know I can't afford things I need like college, And until I start making a good amount of my own money, my parents will be there for me along the way.