I grew up poor. Not as poor as some, but pretty darned poor nonetheless. My mom dropped out of college when she found out she was pregnant with me and worked K-mart and a do-nut shop full time to provide for me. Then she married a guy she thought would be a great father.
Only he sucked at being a man and providing for his family.
Nonetheless, she had 4 kids with him and they fought all the time about money. Mostly because he worked crappy jobs and didn’t even try to work a job that would provide for a family of 4 kids. His jobs included McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Food 4 Less. All entry level positions, not a single management position.
So we were on food stamps, eating from food pantries and using WIC my entire childhood. Still, my mom did her best to instill money values in us early. When we were at Wal-Mart she would tell us, “God provides for all our needs. Not our wants. Do you need that? Will you die without it?”
I learned early the difference between a want and a need. Of course I was home-schooled so all that peer pressure to get “stuff” wasn’t on me yet. But I learned it all the same.
They finally divorced when I was in middle school.
By this time I was pissed at him for making my life hell by not having a decent job when he had plenty of offers. My mom was working full time as a CNA and I was in charge of the 4 (yes four by this time) siblings. I learned that even a $5 book in a book order at school came with a price.
When I asked my mom why my friends had Nike shoes and I shopped at Wal-Mart she said they had credit cards.
She was not going to pay for anything with credit because by the time you pay the interest you paid $75 for $50 shoes. “Plus,” she added, “they might think they are rich but they are very poor if they are in debt. It will catch up to them.”
So to this day I refuse to use credit.
I don’t spend my money willy nilly on something that catches my eye. My daughter only has the clothes she needs (maybe more if I find it at a garage sale!) and my husband laughs when I ask him if I can buy myself a new pair of shoes. He doesn’t get how odd it feels to spend even $25 on myself on a want.
Wants are luxuries in my eyes.
Has your past influenced you? Did your parents raise you with financial values?
~Guest Writer for MomDot