Money. I remember being a kid and my Nonna would save these little film containers and fill them with loonies (and then twonies) for my cousin and I. We’d go to our grandparents house and run up the stairs to rush into “our” bedrooms to see what Nonna had left us this time. Usually, it was some sort of treat (gum, a chocolate bar) and a film container full of coins. I loved those containers of coins that opened up possibilities for me to buy things for myself (it usually ended up going toward candy and books).
Growing up, my family didn’t have much money. My parents are young and they busted their butts, but didn’t make a ton of money. I can’t remember feeling like I lacked anything, but I also was very conscious of not being one of the cool kids with designer clothes. Around Grade 7/8 when those things seemed to matter, we had practically no money. However, my grandparents, who have worked hard their whole lives, were great savers, and they treated me to two pairs of Levis jeans when I was in Grade 7 and I loved them.
My parents were not the types to just give me what I want. When I was 9, I had a paper route. My dad constructed a type of trailer out of an old toolbox and attached it to my one speed bike. I would ride that down our hill to a neighbourhood fairly close by and deliver the Herald on Saturdays. I was also in charge of collecting the money from those people to pay for their subscriptions. Over the years, I babysat, until I got my first real job at 17, making wine kits with my aunt and uncle at their business, then working at a video store. From there, I’ve had a variety of jobs.
However, I don’t know if I ever really understood the value of money. I mean, in terms of what it really takes to earn it and to choose wisely when spending it. Through university, I had student loans, a part-time job and my grandparents also helped me. I went on a few trips during that time, and at the end of my university degrees, my grandparents sold their four-plex and paid for my student loans. All about $30,000 of it. So, I didn’t have the consequence of what it would take to pay that back. At the time, and still now, I am unendingly grateful to them for their generosity.
I became entitled. I expected to have certain things and to be able to do certain things, even if I didn’t have the money to do it. In the back of my mind, I had my grandparents to catch me if I was flailing.
And flailing I was…and flailing I am. I’m in debt. And I think that it’s due to the fact that I spend money without fully being in reality about what money I do have to spend and the debt that I have to pay off. Then when I pay some of it off, some pretty, shiny thing pops up and I want it. So I buy it. Most of my money is spent on food (eating out, coffees, baked goods etc). Or courses in the personal growth program that I’m in. Between those two things, I’ve managed to rack up quite a pretty penny of debt.
It’s funny…I started this post thinking that I was going to write about money, but really it’s more about Entitlement. And my entitlement around money. I haven’t built the capacity to earn and manage money that I actually have.
That’s why I think it’s really important for us to raise our children knowing the value of money and how to earn it, how to manage it and how to save it. I know that in our society, we look up to those people who seem to have money given to them…their family has money and they have full reign of their own American Express Platinum card. They have people who make all of their meals, clean all of their clothes and room and are pretty much at their beck and call.
There’s a downside though. I think it stunts our ability to really be reliant on ourselves. Because what happens if all of that money is lost? Then where are we? I also think that kids doing chores is so important, because it helps to help them build a work ethic at a young age.
But, this is a topic for another day: Entitlement and how it can affect us in our lives.
Right now, I’m really focused on being as much in reality with my finances as possible and trying to question everything that I spend my money on. Because I know that it’ll feel so great to get myself out of debt!!! So, I can start saving! xoxo