I almost passed on this one, but then I got down to the last couple of questions and decided to give it a go.
Coming from a background of being severely financially challenge growing up I will try to refrain from whining and complaining about how much we did not have growing up. I remember things like my mom having to go to the local food pantry and getting those cans with the plain white labels and bold green type on them. We from time to time lived in subsidized apartment complexes. Money was a very difficult concept for me growing up because we never had it and it seemed that everyone else did. Isn’t it strange how children perceive things. Many people grow up in economically challenging situations but as a child in my limited vision I could only see what directly impacted me.
I am thankful as an adult I have learned to look at things with much more maturity and with a broader scope.
For reason that are obvious, being so financially challenged, I will skip to the last few questions.
How old were you when you got your first checking account or credit card?
When I was old enough to get an after school job aside from baby sitting I was first in line to fill out an employment application. I worked at several fast food establishment as well as a few restaurants as a waitress or hostess. As soon as I had my own transportation I was able to work after school and on weekends. I took great pleasure in having my own money that I could spend anyway I wanted to. I had my first checking account when I was in high school. I remember struggling to understand the concepts of how to balance it and how to set things up to avoid bouncing a check. I also remember being totally freaked out the first time I bounced a
really it was more like for or five check. REALITY CHECK IN A MAJOR WAY!
As a teenage I was not much of a saver. After growing up in our circumstances I seized the opportunity of finally being in a position to purchase something all on my own. I did not have to ask my mom and then be told that she did not have the money to get whatever it was that I wanted.
I remember being so excited the first time I was able to go to the drug store and buy my own make up. The thrill of getting it home from the store and opening up all the packages and lining them up on the bathroom counter and just looking at it.
When I graduated high school and got my first real full time job I had a few very small credit cards. I had a gas card and then I had Macy’s card. This in hindsight was probably not the best idea, but again I fall back on the fact that for so long I had gone wanting. When I got in a situation where I could afford to buy the occasional blouse or pair of jeans I found myself yielding to the desire to purchase whatever I wanted.
Thankful it never got totally out of control and after a while the appeal of shopping wore off over not having an outstanding balances every month.
How has the way you were raised impacted your handling of financial issues today?
Today it is a totally different ball game. Along with growing up under extreme financial challenges, the first 10 or so years of my marriage we faced some very difficult financial situations as well. We were forced to learn how to live on a very meager budget and over the years have really learned how to be good stewards with our money.
Ever had a $50.00 grocery budged…for one month? We never once went hungry, but I learned how to stretch a pound of hamburger meat to almost two pounds and I learned every possible way to utilize spaghetti.
It took us many years to step up to the concept of tithing, but I am so grateful that we have learned that valuable lesson. When we learned how to set aside a portion of the financial blessings we had receive then it became so much easier to place so many other things in their proper perspective. We don’t regret taking the step up to tithing and God has taught us so many lessons on the difference between what we need verses what we want.
Realistically who wouldn't want to have pile of cash tucked away for a rainy day. In this economy I am thankful that we have a sound roof over our head, that my husbands has a good job that keeps food on the table. I do find myself stressing a bit over the very sad state of our retirement but I am reminded that I must continue to trust in the Lord for discernment and for guidance.
Each day we make decisions on how to spend our money and each day we can either choose to put money in the saving or plan a trip to…. or go shopping…or support someone on the mission field, it is all a choice. Sometime we put the money aside for a much needed vacation and other days it goes into savings or off to support some person stepping out on the mission field for the very first time.
Learning how to be financially responsible is a very difficult thing. I have many friends who are suffering through foreclosure’s or bankruptcy issues right now so I am thankful for what we have and for where we are.
I have learned some very difficult lesson and we have paid our fair share of financial dues. From all the toils and trouble we have experienced here are a few thing is have learned.
- You can’t get blood out of a turnip.
- Hospital bills will eventually get paid off even if you can only pay $3.00 each month.
- Bill collectors don’t like it when you tell them you will be praying for them.
- $40.00 each pay period makes for a good Christmas fund and if you need more than that then your probably spending too much!
- Out of necessity you can live on Spaghetti and rice and beans.
- Credit cards are to be used like cash, if you don't have the money to buy it then you shouldn’t be loading it in the back of your car.
- 90 day is not the same as cash and Cable is not a necessary expense.
I put a big o’l bowl of red beans and rice on the table for dinner the other night, it was not out of necessity thankfully. Beans and rice may be very economical but they are also very good.
My financial struggles were not very fun and at times they brought many
many many tearful evenings into my life as I worried about how to pay for this bill or that bill but they also taught me a very valuable lesson.
We don't live beyond our means and now when the entire county seems to spiraling out of financial control we still have a home we can afford, groceries in our pantry and money to keep the power on and the water running.
Anything beyond that is gravy!
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds.