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Jaded.

September 6th, 2005 at 08:41 pm

walked with mom 45 min

I love reading stories that include descriptions of how people deal with money. Especially stories of early America. I like the Little House books where Laura describes how much money she makes by teaching school or sewing and what she spent it on. I like a Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith where she talks about making a bank out of a can that they put 5 cents at a time into. Walden by Thoreau where he describes how much money he spends for the year. These and many others are always fascinating to me.

The characters in these books seem to have an appreciation for money that I believe is missing in many Americans today, including myself at times. I think many of us are jaded. Money for basic expenses is often fairly easy to get. It's the money for the toys or the level beyond basics that frustrates most Americans, because they can't have everything they think they want and deservce right now. I'm not putting anyone down here, but just trying to describe how our/my attitudes towards money are different from previous generations when money was scarcer and meant survival instead of another toy.

I was talking to my mom about how money doesn't have as much meaning for me as it used to. If I want to buy something for $100 I can and it really doesn't make much of a dent in my lifestyle. I don't usually spend the $100 because there's not that many things I want anymore and I'm in the habit of saving up for big things. But if I wanted to I can spend that $100 and not miss it. Even a $1000 doesn't have a lot of meaning any more. What the $1000 represents has more meaning than the $1000. To me a $1000 represents 10 days of retirement.

When I went to college my real dad gave me a $1000. He had never even paid child support before that point, so that amount of money was a huge shock. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the amount, it was enormous to me at that time. It was like winning the lottery. I had something like $300 in my savings account that I had saved for 2 years. I made like $1.75 an hour in 1979 so that much money all at one time, in one place and all mine was stunning. This was before my saving days, so the money got frittered away over the next year. I've always regretted that.

I remember when I got my first paycheck. It was about $37. I was 16. At that time, that was a fortune to me. I felt rich at that moment. That money represented so many different things that I could buy. At the time I had a lot of wants and hadn't even started on the concept of saving.

With my first full-time job and living on my own, after paying my bills and food I had $10 a week left to spend on misc. That $10 also had a lot of meaning to me. It had to stretch a long ways and many times I didn't make it last and had to borrow. Money was much more important in my life when I didn't have as much and when my wants were greater.

Then around age 25 I started saving my money. Between then and now I've gotten most of the things I want. Car, House, furniture etc. Now my basic needs are easily covered. I'm at a point in my life where I don't have a lot of big wants anymore. My greatest want now is more time, which to me means retirement. I like saving money but it's more about the game of getting more for less than it is about the actual dollars. In many ways I feel that I've become jaded about money. I kind of miss the reverence/respect I used to experience regarding money when it played a bigger role in my life. On the other hand I definitely like not having the worry that went along with not having enough money for basic needs, let alone wants. So I guess I'll take jaded over worried anyday.

I'm really tired tonight and a little blue. Too much thinking Smile I feel like I'm rambling and not expressing my thoughts on this subject clearly, but hopefully people understand the main point and I didn't offend anyone.

2 Responses to “Jaded.”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry you are feeling down today. I totally understand what you're saying about the meaning of money. When dh and I were in university we had no money and had so much fun...we still joke about when a McDonald's was being built down the street from our apartment and we saved for 6 weeks so we could have dinner there when it opened. We had $12.00, and after dinner we split a hot fudge sundae for dessert because we didn't have enough money to each have our own. That would never happen now, and our kids know this story and like to tell it to their friends "when my mom and dad were poor..." It's funny how much we appreciated that sundae, though, and how well we remember it!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I know I am probably considered too young by most to agree and think the same, I do. I think of my parents, my grandparents, and myself. Completely different stories. And the thing is, I am making it, doing well. I talk about being 'broke' - but I am not. I put almost all my money to needs (cc debt, savings, food) not wants, but I could easily buy the things I want. I know that if I stick with my current thinking, I will be much better off.

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