Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Financial Personality

I know that I am a freak of nature. Our church is doing a sermon series on the financial crisis. When our pastor was talking about financial responsibility he mentioned three common pitfalls we should all avoid. When he asked everyone who had ever fallen into one of those pitfalls to raise their hand, I was about the only one who struggled to think of some reason to raise my hand.

Am I perfect financially? No. But I do follow some basic principles and guidelines that I have been taught since I was a child. Also, as I tell my husband, I am freakishly frugal. Fortunately for me, frugality has become somewhat fashionable. I saved almost all of my birthday checks and babysitting money throughout childhood. I saved a good portion of my summer job money, and had a summer job since I turned 15.

Did I splurge? A few times, but only for the really important things. I used a portion of money for a trip to visit a friend in Germany (I spent less than $700 including the plane ticket, train tickets, eating out, and small gifts). In high school and college, I bought a few books (mostly from a bargain rack), a few CDs, and quite a bit of candy. I also bought my own gas. Fortunately gas was cheap for me in high school. And one year of high school I gave two other girls rides to school and got gas money from them.

Since my parents provided a small clothing allowance and owned the car I drove, I had quite a bit of savings heading into college. They paid for the amount of tuition, room and board that wasn't covered by scholarships (about 8-10,000 a year). And I finished an undergraduate degree in 3 years.

Moral of the story? If you are born with a freakishly frugal nature, have parents who are willing to support what you do, and live in a way you can afford - you can avoid loans and live life in freedom. Even though I have changed jobs several times (always taking a paycut for some reason) and even had a brief period of unemployment, the end result of my frugal, savings-oriented nature is that I have always had enough to see me through the hard times.

Good luck in your own frugal adventure!
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