It seems everyone is all about how to get money, how to make money, how to obtain money… you name it.
A lot of people I know believe me to be very well off, and definitely better off than them. I seriously doubt that. It is true that I indebted only by value of my 1 monthly salary, but it annoys the heck out of me to be on – even that much. Anyhow, many ask me how come I’m not so money oriented… well here it.
I was raised in fairly well-off middle class family of aspirations. My mother was (still is) a horrid shrew when it comes to money. To the point when if I wanted to have even a tiny thing like a scented eraser (like so many kids had at school) I had to either work for it, or simply ‘steal’ it from her purse. Even the smallest pocket money was a concept so foreign to me as a computer to a medieval monk, yet I grew up surrounded by books, silver platters and glasses for guests. So, I knew what money was, what power it could hold, but I was kept far away from it. I myself was one of those ‘silver platters’ to be locked up as soon as the guests left. I think this did me more damage than good, but was a good foundation for learning and appreciating in the future.
At the age of 14 I have learned how to manage my own budget. I ended up on my own for a year in the US, with 1000 USD pocket money for the entire school year. That was 100 USD a month back in 1990’s. Not too much but also not little. I was to present receipts for every penny spent on monthly basis… I did. But I also went on babysitting in my free time to be able to get things that were not included on the list of permitted purchases by my parents. These money I spent on books, on sightseeing trips and stuff that neither my parents , the exchange program nor host family would be willing to sponsor… say Epcot for instance.
Then in 3 years time I was back in states, alone again. This time I concentrated on my studies as to get the best grades and SAT results and get to a good school with scholarship if possible. I did. In fall of 1997 I ended up in Spain, studying at Suffolk University. Due to my falling out with my parents over a choice of a boyfriend, who once confronted with the family, graciously left … and to think that all I needed back then was a bit of a wall to back me up and I would do it all on my own.. ohh, well.
Anyhow, I was left with a marginal allowance that only allowed me to get the needed textbooks, all of course needed to be accounted for by the receipts. All extra materials for study, clothing (if anything broke or simply wore off) and any entertainment I might have wished for I had to arrange for on my own… so I did. I worked at the University two jobs – computer lab assistant and library assistant. With that I was able to afford decent clothing, as not to run around in rugs, and even saved enough to spend a week vacations on Gran Canaria and bring myself a string of big river pearls that is with me until today.
Then I spent 2.5 years at University of Maryland in Schwaebish Gmuend in Germany. I worked hard to get my 2 B.A. + worked 2 positions and was involved in student government, theater and many other things. In Germany I did not really have to do that, cause the allowance was quite decent… but I was trying not to think of that “abondon-ist” of mine. Until the last year. I met my 3rd boyfriend then.. now my husband. He was also not on the ‘approved’ list of my parents.. my mother had other ‘bigger’ plans for marring me off, as I was to discover later. The last year I was left with no penny at all, and some 10% tuition to pay to finish my studies (90% was covered by the 2 scholarships I had, as there was only 1 semester when I was not on the Dean’t List). I ended up taking up a loan to manage that… with help of some dear friends from the States (God bless them for believing in me even at the darkest moments).
One event made the whole last semester a nightmare to the point of me loosing 20kg weight in under a month (normally eating and all) and my changing the name to absolutely unrelated to my original one.
And I was starting my own life in a rented tiny apartment with roaches the size of a decent mouse, no furniture and debt of around 5K USD and interest growing on it. My generous mother was kind enough to get me fired from 3 consecutive positions, of course having my ‘good’ in mind (my good = marring a rich spoiled asshole of course to get access to his money). My boyfriend working part-time. Something like 2 $/2 days/2 mouths… not a pretty option, but we have managed.. both of us. I got a job as a tutor and translator, for a few months things were looking up, we moved to a rental apartment with no roaches… ooo how I hate the sound of scratching against each-other chitin bodies. … anyways… then I got pregnant, nothing planned, just happened… rather a welcomed event… but that complicated things. My boyfriend was then on two under-paid jobs (employees at the time were by-passing law of minimal wage at ease and with great pleasure), me – jobless as renewal of my contract got voided due to my condition (not quite legal, but who cares, right?). By the last trimester I was doing all I could to get food on the table… the 2 jobs he had were barely enough to get the rental and utilities paid and my odd jobs were not sufficient to do any worth notice difference… so I went to streets an begged. And I was also officially homeless at the time (which meant in here no insurance, no possibility to register as unemployed, no rights at all- here is to DEMOCRACY and CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS).
So, now if you tell me that you envy me, that you yourself are not as lucky as me cause after having rental, utilities and other first need expenses covered you are left with 50$ a month … forgive me if I say 1. BULLSHIT 2. IT IS ALL YOUR OWN CHOICE.
Now, 11 years later…I have steady job, I earn enough to support my husband and our son, and to be able to go to a university and study law. I have been well-off and I have been a homeless beggar… So do not tell me you are not doing this or that cause you do not have money… use your God given brain cells and appreciate what you do have cause you never know when you will be down in a gutter.
What’s my recipe? My secret? 1. DO NOT GIVE UP 2. FIND ANY LOOPHOLE YOU CAN TO GET YOU THROUGH (there are many but none will give you them for free) 3. IT IS ALL IN YOU OWN MIND (if you let the current circumstance run you… you won’t get far) 4. PRIDE IS IMPORTANT, BUT SOMETIMES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE ONE HAS TO SAY -SCREW YOU- TO EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING AROUND (that’s a lesson I have learned begging for money or food in the street while being a pregnant whale). and the 5th but most important IT IS ALL YOUR OWN BLOODY CHOICE.