Growing up, my family did not have a lot. My parents always provided all the essentials: a roof over our heads, food, and clothes. I shared a bunk bed with my younger brother until I was ten. We never ate out. I actually did not start to eat pizza until I was 11 or 12 years old. The first time I went out to eat at a restaurant, I was 14. My best friend’s mom invited me to Olive Garden. I was sometimes jealous of my classmates when they had prettier clothes or got Golden Chick meals before basketball games, while I had more affordable clothes and home cooked meals. But I knew that money was tight. So, I saved up money to buy my first computer. I split the bill in half with my parents.
Growing up, the way I did taught me to save up my money towards a goal. I learned about managing my money, paying for the essentials first, and then splurging on the other things.
Now that I am older, it’s sometimes hard to not buy. Not to want to be the Jones. I love shopping for clothes, shoes, and jewelry. When I was single, I could buy these nice things, and not think twice. Well, I would think twice, but I did not feel so guilt about buying things –chuckles-. Instead of eating I would buy shoes, and live off of ramen. Girls, I am sure you have done that before, right?
Now, I have to step back and think twice. Since we got married, our expenses went up, and our income went down. We moved in to a very small and old apartment. We bought used stuff, and don’t splurge a lot since we are still in school (finish in May).
This year, I have seen too many people my age overextend their budgets. They get big deposits from their student loans and they forget they are going to have to pay this money back plus interest. I have seen my peers spend their money frivolously on TVs, cars, video games, etc., or they move in to their dream apartment, without having the funds to sustain themselves.
I do find myself having these thoughts on occasion. I find myself dreaming of a big house. It’s even worse when I start to think about how I want my things to be better than a particular’s person things. When I have these thoughts, I just try to keep grounded. I remind myself that I should not be competing with anybody, and everything comes at the right time. I need to live within my means.
If you are reading about personal finance, you have probably realized that getting into debt is no good, and buying things beyond a realistic price point are no good, either. Otherwise you would not be self-conscious about your money.
But life is more than just about counting pennies. You have to live life and determine the purpose of money in your life. These are my five values:
- Security- I want financial security that provides the essentials of life.
- Love – I want to be happy with my spouse J
- Adventure- I want to explore the world!
- Excitement – I don’t want my life to be boring J
- Growth – I want to keep on learning.
This is my value circle. My significant other shares the first two values with me, so we are good.
Share your experiences with me. What is the purpose of money for your life? What are your values? Do you share these with your spouse?