I’m sitting here listening to 80’s alternative music and it’s bringing back so many memories. This is right after punk was big and when this stuff was called New Wave. I have a punk channel as well, but I’m in the mood for milder stuff this morning. Back then I was sure I was going to be a lawyer before the Supreme Court or a famous writer. I would sit out by the pool in our backyard in California and sun myself and listen to music on a boom box. It was LIVE 105 out of San Francisco. Every year for Memorial Day weekend they’d count down the 500 most popular songs and my sister and I would sit there with cassette tapes and record it all. It was very stressful when a tape ended and you had to switch it out as quickly as possible so you wouldn’t miss any of the next song. Or laying on the hood of my Dad’s truck at sunset listening to New Order tapes.
Back then life was easy. I had no worries except what my friends thought of me and what that cute boy thought of me. I have a Swiss cheese memory, but I don’t remember specific discussions about money back then. It just always seemed to be there when I wanted it. My parents obviously taught me what I needed to know, but I don’t remember it being emphasized as any more or less important than art or history. Money didn’t really seem important until I got married at 19 and moved into my own place with my then husband. I remember calling my Mom after my first real grocery shopping trip and saying, “I never realized how much I took food for granted!” She laughed for 10 minutes. There were Ramen and cracker days back then. But there was a steady paycheck and every two weeks we’d have money again. We always had enough to pay the bills.
It wasn’t until the last several years that I’ve really been interested in thrift. I used to buy things I couldn’t afford on credit and not think too much of it if I could pay the minimums. But my wants have never been huge. We carried a balance, but we could always pay it. Once the kids were older and I had time to really focus on our finances I realized that I wanted to be out of eternal debt. That’s when I started paying down the bills seriously and when I started this blog. I’ve drifted away from that lately, but it’s time to get back to it.
In that spirit I have started rereading Frugal Living for Dummies. It was one of the first books I got (I feel like the For Dummies and Complete Idiot’s Guides are always a good basic starting place) and it’ll act as a nice refresher on the things that I’ve really gotten away from. I’m not starting from scratch, but I am starting from behind again.