Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The $pending Habit

Detail from a US Dollar Bill... should make one's heart flutter???

I was lamenting to the bead store lady the other day about how there was no such thing as a bead store when I was growing up.  We did, however, have Newberry's.   I like to think of it as the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink store.  You could buy plastic flowers, pots and pans, crafty things, and little piggy banks in the shape of Santa Claus. It was where my grandmother went to buy fabric to make blouses and yarn to hand-knit sweaters for us... which, incidentally defined much of my wardrobe throughout my childhood (fashion has never been my strong suit, no pun intended).  All of my allowance and birthday money went to that store.  I bought embroidery floss, cross stitching kits, latchhook pillow kits, beading needles, and lots and lots of yarn.  This craft habit started at the tender age of six.  I could knit like there was no tomorrow by the time I was 12.  I never had money in my little safe and frequently tried to borrow from my older sister.  My mother rightfully thought I had no ability to save money and accused Grandma of instilling in me bad shopping (and useless crafting) habits.  It was the family joke... like, hey, you Chinese girl should be thrifty and money-saving, but you're not and *gasp* you use money to buy things!!!!  They would look at my palms and see that money would slip through my grip, like water leaking out through the wide spaces between my fingers.  I was accused of having a too-generous nature (a trait one must, of course, strive to eliminate from one's personality) because I would give away my toys to anyone who asked.  I was lectured about the virtues of saving money.  I was told there would be some joy from watching numbers rise on my savings booklet.  My parents even forced me to open a CD account which literally trapped your dollars in an account for a year.... in exchange one would earn (back then) 8%... (I know!  Unbelievable rate!).  I even invested in a utility company in my teens.  So, by all means, I should be well-versed in saving and investing money.  I should be a wildly successful business woman today, what with all the money talk, right?  But.... oh, the buts!  But, it was truly yawn-inducing.  Looking back, I know my parents meant well.  They wanted me to be money-savvy.  I just never really got it, I guess.  I mean, where is the fun in watching numbers go up and down?  Even after all that "education" I basically have the same spending habits as before.  I think it must be something in the genes, some kind of recessive gene that reared its ugly head in the face of all those money-saving genes so dominant in my family... I like to blame the genes.  I was born that way.  The way I see it is that some people are spenders and others are keepers.  And no amount of convincing or education could ever sway them to the other side.... believe me, they tried!

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