Hindsight x’s 20 (Advice from the poor house )

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Please NOTE : I actually wrote this several months ago and it is aimed at the working class, particularly younger folks who are just starting out. It is the BEST advice I can give you! Perhaps old-fashioned BUT advice I wish I would have heeded when it was offered to me many moons ago.

Hindsight x20

I don’t know about you but I have always had to work hard for my money without a lot of extra to show for it. Luxury homes, car notes, dining out on a regular basis, and extravagant family vacations were never in MY budget. I think I’ve been to the movie theatre maybe three times in ten years. HUGE waste of money in my eyes.

Mind you, I am not complaining. I have always been pretty frugal and life was good in spite of the financial challenges. I certainly never considered myself to be poor or needy until now.

Still, I am sure that in my working prime, there was at least a period of 20 years when I probably wasted $5 a day more than I needed on items that I would not have missed otherwise. Ahhh yes, frivolous every day spending on everything from take-out to those impulsive ( not-on-the-list ) purchases at Walmart. Heck I probably could’ve saved $35 a week on groceries alone and still ate well.

Hmmmm…

$5 a day x 52 weeks a year, multiplied by 20 years is $36,400.00, straight up! WOW, and that’s if you just kept stuffing it under the mattress and never touched it otherwise. Imagine, if you were able to get some sound investment counseling, what that figure might soar to.

Even on a smaller scale. $3.57 a day x 7 days is $25 a week x 52 weeks a year, multiplied by 20 years is $26,000.00 or there abouts.

Remember, that’s money you wouldn’t even miss! It’s amazing!

And little disheartening for me considering, that IF I had that money available to me over this last 20 months or so, I would have been able to pay my bills and still had money in the bank.

My husband and I actually had a tiff the other day about this.

I’d gone to Dollar General, with the intent of spending at least $30.00 so I could take advantage of a $5 off coupon. I spent just over $30 and I got enough food to feed us for three days and other essentials . I also got non-essentials like cookies, Reese’s cup, and two bags of honey mustard snacks from the $1 aisle. Yes, my $5 savings was spent on snacks.

I was pleased with my purchases but noticed my husband grow sullen as he put stuff away.

He said, I was being frivolous with the snacks. I was appalled by his accusations. But my husband of scot heritage takes being frugal to a whole new level. CHEAP might be a better word, and I told him so.

Yes, he went too far in my estimation. And even he apologized for reacting the way he did once he had time to cool off and think about it.

But it did get me thinking about it and I got out the calculator the next time he left the house.

While my trip down the snack aisle isn’t the best example, it does prove a point.

We all do it and we all do it on a regular basis. I don’t care whether you make $15,000.00 a year or $150,000.00 a year.

There’s always room to sock a little away, and not even miss it.

I mean seriously, who here couldn’t benefit from an extra $20,000 dollars right now?

I know I could!

Hindsight is 20/20 they said. Sighs…

Free Fall and Psychological Fall – Out

Please let me begin by saying I generally have a positive outlook on life, and wake up each morning counting my blessings and always have. Besides I have strong survival instincts and have always been pretty resourceful.

And then, the last eighteen months happened.

Lets see… Where shall I begin?

When we first arrived we had a couple grand to work with. The mortgage had already been paid for the month and the thinking was.. : How tough could it be to find a couple of jobs, even if they were only part-time? It didn’t happen, and another month went by, and still nothing.

Now we’re scared!

With in a few months we were frequenting local food banks and for the first time EVER, applying for federal food assistance.

The little money we were making went to gas, toiletries and every day household incidentals.

There was nothing left for anything else. There were no more trips to the nail salon and regular haircuts became a problem for my husband.

We also began having a septic system problems which left us unable to use the washing machine, otherwise water would back up into the sinks, tub, toilet, etc..

This continues a be a problem. It really needs to be pumped out.

We eventually sold the washing machine and started washing our clothes in a tub. We used the drier until the belt broke from not being able to wring the clothes out properly.

It wasn’t long before caring for our basic needs became a very real issue.

There was absolutely no money for household maintenance.

Finally, a job offer came and I started working for a national hotel chain. But it didn’t matter because within days, my car stopped running due to an electrical problem under the dash. With no transportation there was no job. My net pay for the week was $112.00 of which I probably put half of that in the gas tank. The car was towed to a mechanic and it cost $200.00 to fix it.

It was during this time, we took on a roommate to help with expenses. That turned out to be a nightmare, and she lasted three weeks.

So many little things happened that by themselves would be nothing but with no money, seemed insurmountable.

The worry and stress alone is enough to kill you.

Yet asking for help, is downright demoralizing. And especially from family and friends, it was like trying to pull teeth. Eventually you stop asking for fear of straining these relationships any further. ‘Out of sight, out of mind too’, I guess because noone seems to ask how you are faring. That’s another thing I noticed.

You try to tell yourself that the struggle is just temporary BUT it just seems to go on and on and with very little relief.

Self-esteem plummets and depression sets in.

Do you have any idea what all this does to ones psyche?

I can tell you first hand, it’s devastating!