Shopping and Money : LUSENET : Journal Sisters : One Thread

Elizabeth wrote:

> > But there have been good things too! I went to K-Mart > > for no other reason than I had gotten paid that day, > > and I walked around for ten minutes with a CD and a book, > > niether of which I really wanted, and shocked the hell > > out of myself by putting them back and walking out > > of the store empty-handed!! Believe me, that was a major > > victory. > >

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999


Response to Shopping

Liz said... Way to go! I know how major that victory can be! I have a hard time going into any store without buying SOMETHING! Seth is even worse. The only reason we actually got it semi-under control is that if we didn't, we wouldn't have been able to pay our rent!

I definitely think that for me -- food and acquiring possessions (like clothes, books, CDs) are two things that I use to make myself feel better. I'm a compulsive eater -- I eat when I'm bored, sad, depressed, feeling bad about myself, etc. and I think I may also be a borderline compulsive shopper. I use both things to fill myself up when I feel empty. I mean, right now I have this horrendous writer's block so I've been eating everything in sight, in addition to allowing Seth to bid on things that we really don't need on Ebay. Somehow just the act of eating something that tastes good or acquiring another possession makes me feel better. Unfortunately, it's a short-lived pleasure and it doesn't solve my problem and I just end up feeling frustrated again over the whole writer's block thing and the cycle repeats itself.

Gee, you'd think if I know this that I would do something to fix it. ;)

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

Response to Shopping

Melissa wrote... I have to be so careful with my money right now. I have a frighteningly low base salary plus a monthly shared office commission. I found out last week that I don't start getting the commission until the December check, because it's paid two months behind. So until December I have to live on those monthly checks, which is seriously frightening. I have to be very very careful--so careful I can't get benefits until they start, because benefits are $90 a month and I just can't afford that! So I am a little scared, both of the lack of money and of the lack of benefits. So everyone pray that nothing will happen to me until December! Well, or ever, but especially until then.

Has anyone ever been without benefits? Is it terrifying?

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

Response to Shopping

It sucks so much that you guys have to worry about money so much. I'm almost embarrassed because Dave and I make so much money. Computer people are so highly paid that it's ridiculous. We had to scrimp and save to get the house but on an everyday basis we don't have to worry about money much. That's part of the problem too. We make so much that he spends so much that he doesn't save any of it. I'm a saver. I never spend all that I make and I always make sure I have money in my savings account for an emergency. My mother taught me bad food habits, but she also taught me excellent money management.

I do remember being poor in college though. My mother could barely pay my tuition, and I'm grateful that she even paid that for me. A lot of kids, including Dave, got no money from their parents for college. My mother paid my room and board but any other money for anything else was up to me. I had to buy my own clothes, supplies, etc. She gave us a lot of stuff at Christmas, but on an every basis we had to survive on our own. This was tough when some of the kids at school has their parents credit card and could do whatever they wanted. they'd go on trips and I couldn't go, they'd go out to eat and I couldn't go. Nan kept me company a lot of the time, as she really liked my mac&cheese. We scrounge for leftovers and search the couch for a dime so we could get a slice of pizza and a soda. It got a little better as the years went on and I worked more, but it was hard times.

I've always had benefits, but Pat didn't have any while he lived with me. At one job he was close to getting them and he quit it for a different one and had to start over. He had to go to the hospital at one point (long story) and he got suck with a $10,000 hospital bill. I'm sure glad he took that with him when he left :)

I know it's scary to go without the benefits, but I'm hoping you'll be healty th e whole time! And if something does go wrong, please don't avoid the doctor. Most doctors will understand your money problems and will allow you to pay in installments. And almost all hospitals have something called "Charity Care" for people without benefits they subsidise the cost based on your income. And they'll let you pay over time too. As long as you stick to a plan, even if it's only $20 a month, they'll let you do it.

But you're going to be healthy! And you're not going to get any more debt! I have wished it on my genie!

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

Elizabeth wrote...

I kick myself every day that I let my credit become such a disaster. You shouldn't feel bad about the fact that you worked hard and showed some restraint when the rest of us were out charging our asses off!!

See, that was me, and I know that's why I don't have any money management skills now... because my parents always bailed me out. I didn't exactly have free reign with the credit card, but I did have one for "emergencies" and if a charge showed up for clothes or something, they would "discuss" it with me but never made me pay for it.

It's actually been a big topic in therapy, that my problems stem from the fact that my parents didn't set boundaries. I hate to be one of those whiny Gen-Xers who blame all their problems on their parents, but I've come to accept that they can be at the root of issues I have now. It's up to me to change it, and that's the important part.

About Mel's benefit issues: You may want to just call Blue Cross and see what they have for people like you. You may be able to get at least emergency-room coverage for a few bucks. But Liz is right, don't avoid a doctor if you don't feel good!!

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

I've never dated anyone that had money, and my family never had much either. My mother is an office manager for a linen supply company and only makes any kind of money now becasuse she's worked there about 20 years. She finally has a bachelors degree but it took her nearly 15 years of night school to get it.

My dad is an on-again/off-again manual laboror. He does heating/air conditioning/plumbing/construction etc.

That adds up to just enough money to get by growing up. Dave's family is very similar.

But I did have a lot of problems with Pat because I made a whole lot more money than him. He worked as a retail store manager and I made almost double what he made at my first computer programming job. It was always an issue for him that I brought home a lot more bacon.

But we all know he turned out to be a FREAK!

I think it's good that Mel is being upfront with Matt about these things. Hopefully his parents will be open minded people who don't judge people by the size of their wallets. I don't like those sort of people either and I've certainly encountered them.

My mother lives in a decent house, but it's by no means large and lavish. It's a basic middle class house. My dad lives in a really crappy house that he rents with another guy. It's really kind of yucky on the inside and they have a lot of broken down equipment in the yard. You'd take one look at it and say, "White Trash."

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

Differing money attitudes allways cause all sorts of problems. My mother was the saver, my father the spender. And that models Dave and I's relationship exactly.

Dave often just has no clue about what money we have available to spend. He just wants to spend and spend and spend and worry about it later. And I have to be the bad cop that says we can't afford it.

I also try to live by the notion that if I can't pay it off when the bill comes then we can't afford it and we can't have it. Unless it's an absolute emergency, like the fridge dies. But in that case I like to have extra money saved up that we can use for those sorts of things.

But all those things I do aren't possible if you only make enough money to get by, and there are plenty of people who are in that situation. As a kid my parents really only had enough to get by. Going out to dinner meant we could pick which diner we were going to go to. And we didn't do it often.

And my mom is a fanatic at Christmas too. This is the only thing that goes against her rule of only spending what you've got. She always bought us a HUGE amount of stuff at Christmas and still does. And I know it stems from the fact that she had hideous parents who would allow her to wake up on Christmas moring with absolutely no gifts. Not even some socks. So my mother overcompensates with us.

Learning to handle money itsn't an easy thing to learn later in life. And we shouldn't feel bad about saying that our parents did things that handicapped us as adults. All parents make mistakes. It's just our job to overcome the handicaps.

I mean, I could turn all my mothers excellent money management skills around and say she doesn't know how to be a little frivous and spend some money and get something for yourself, or enjoy something that it's necessary. She taught me that too.

-- Anonymous, October 07, 1999

Colleen, absolutely do not be embarrassed! Liz and I were talking about this yesterday. We're HAPPY for you. We don't begrudge you one penny because we know how hard you work for it and that you didn't have any more than we did growing up. The only people that we can't stand with money are the ones that rub it in your face.

And I'll be pretty good as of everyone cross your fingers for me til then. I was decently okay with debt, until Ken moved out. And then I had to pay all the expenses for four months before I moved in with Steve. Bills, car payments...all kinds of things went on the Visa. And I'm still paying it off. But I made my mistake, and I'll handle it.

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

Mel is exactly right, Colleen! You shouldn't feel bad at all! You worked hard and you deserve your success!

That's me, too! My parents always gave me money for everything. I never got an allowance but I got money whenever I wanted it. Every once in a while, they'd try to teach us responsiblity, but then they'd always undermine themselves with kindness. Like when I was 17, I wanted to go to Italy with my class over spring break. My mom said I could go but I had to pay for it out of my salary as a library page. Well, I worked as a page already and I saved my money and I paid for the trip, but then my mom and dad gave me $900 for spending money and I only ended up spending 300 or 400, and the rest went to offset the cost of the trip, so I ended up coming out ahead! ;) Which was really nice of my parents, but things like that always ended up giving me the message that mom and dad would always be around to bail me out or to slip me extra money when I needed it.

I went to college on full scholarship for four years, so my parents agreed to pay for my rent and expenses when I moved off campus. I felt bad asking them for money all the time, but I had a couple of credit cards so I used to charge everything. My mom would get the bills and she would just pay what she could and she never said anything so I had no idea just how much trouble I was getting myself into. And I never thought to check because I was so used to mommy and daddy taking care of everything. What a surprise it was when I graduated and they couldn't help me as much as they used to! I don't think it's whiny to realize that your parents have a lot to do with how you are now. My parents were always good to me, but I can trace back most of my problems to how I was raised. My mom did everything for me. I never had to lift a finger around the house. As a result, I get really panicky when my apartment gets messy because I feel like I don't know how to clean. I also can't keep things organized worth a damn. Hell, I couldn't write a check until I was 21. I inherited most of my bad food habits from my mother, who eats when she's nervous and sad and happy and whenever and uses food as a reward, and I got most of my bad money habits from my father, who has no concept of budgeting and charges everything. When things go wrong, my first instinct is to run to mom and dad who will fix everything. But eventually, you realize you can't run to mom and dad with everything and you feel completely lost and alone. I went through a really bad year when I was 25-26, just after I had left my fiancee, and there were a lot of things I couldn't go to my parents for help with and I spent a lot of time feeling completely helpless and hopeless and I know it was because I had no idea of how to take care of myself. But...I got myself into therapy and I worked through my problems and looking back now, I know that rough year was necessary, because it was the only way I was going to learn to stop relying on my parents to make everything all better. And thank God for my roommate, Chris, who used to kick my ass (figuratively) every other day about pulling my life together. Although, there are times now, that I still want to go running home! ;) I don't blame my parents for anything. They've always tried to do their best for me, but I can look back and see where they may have been overly indulgent or too kind and how that has affected my life today. It's funny, but most people think that only the bad things that your parents do to you affect you as an adult, but I ended up being completely screwed up by all the nice stuff that my family did for me! ;) Okay, I've written an epic, here. It's someone else's turn!

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

On a totally different money tack, anyone ever date anyone who had way more money than they did? Liz and I were talking about this on the train the other day. I was a little concerned because I knew Matt came from money (father's a doctor, mother's a lawyer) and I decidedly do not...father's a groundskeeper, mother's a customer service rep with the company I just quit. They live in a tiny house that desperately needs repair that doesn't embarrass me but embarrasses my mother. So while Matt and I were discussing the whole not telling his parents thing, this subject came up.

Well, I brought it up.

See, Michael's mother kind of thought I was inferior. I know she did--I could tell. Firstly, I wasn't Jewish, and secondly, I wasn't educated enough (cause y'all know how stupid I am) and thirdly, I didn't come from money. And I do not want to go though that again. So Matt and I talked about it, and he confirmed that yes, his family has quite a lot of money, but they're more concerned with character than anything else and I don't have to worry in that department. :-)

So I'm sure I'll still be uncomfortable a little, but at leas

-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999

I've never dated anyone whose family had a significant amount more money than mine. But when I was with Jeffrey, it was really obvious that we both came from families with completely different attitudes towards money.

That was hard. My family is not very good with money. I know my parents live paycheck to paycheck and I do too. My dad charges everything and if my mother was on top of him all the time, they'd be in serious debt (although I'm sure they're in semi-serious debt now.) But they're also very generous. If they've got anything extra, they'll give it to anyone who needs it. They also like to spend money on others and buy lots of presents for everyone. Christmas at my house is absolutely wild. My sister, brother and I still get as many presents as we did when we were little kids. And anyone we bring home with us for the holiday (ie, boyfriends/girlfriends) usually end up getting just as much.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey's family was really careful with their money. They saved and invested and wouldn't buy anything that was "out of their price range." They never charged anything that they couldn't pay off the next month. In a lot of ways, they were really great with money and I envied them. But, then, money caused such problems with them. For example, we had been dating for about 2 years and I needed a car. Jeff's dad had just been given a 1989 Chevy Corsica by his mother who had gotten a new car. As both boys had cars already and both he and his wife had new cars, he was looking to sell it. Well, when he heard that I was looking for a car, he offered to sell it to me -- For 2 grand -- the exact price he was looking for from a total stranger! It was really uncomfortable, but I needed a car and I needed one fast, so I bought it. But I always resented him after that. Esp. since I knew that had the situation been reversed and it was my family who had the car and Jeffrey who needed one, they would have just given it to him.

Soooo. Our differing money attitudes caused a whole bunch of problems. Esp. when we were planning our wedding. Jeffrey kept trying to tell me that I didn't need a videographer or a good photographer and he kept trying to make me book the wedding in a firehouse, just so he could save money. I think that our struggles over money were finally what started opening my eyes about him.

But, you know, it sounds to me like Matt's family has had money for a long time and usually families who have always had money aren't so hung up on other's people's financial status. I think it's usually the families who didn't have money in recent generations and then got some that are so money conscious. So I tend to believe Matt when he says that his parents are more interested in character than in financial standing.

Mel, they're going to love you! And keep your picture on their refrigerator forever! ;)

-- Anonymous, October 07, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ