<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Home > Perspectives on the Holidays

Perspectives on the Holidays

November 19th, 2005 at 04:16 am

Okay, perhaps I'm waxing too poetic instead of listing specific savings. But I need a good reminder myself soemtimes, too, just to keep perspective as we come into this season of spending/saving.

I grew up in a small town, where my family had moved after we lost the chicken and grape farm in a drought. My other uncles had fruit and almonds, and did okay, but we moved to town and my Dad became a school custodian. He had polio as a child, and it wasn't the easiest work for him. He couldn't afford 3 kids. So, my Mom, who had been a cook, started a bakery business out of the house. We were dirt poor for a long time, but she turned things around because she had incredible focus on saving and the future.

My memories of my Mom were of her three tops she wore every day for baking. Covered with food coloring stains. Two good dresses for church. She didn't believe she needed anything else as much as we needed food. She made all of our clothes, not exactly fashionable at school, and we wore hand me downs. And she saved every way she could.

Fancy little tea sandwiches for weddings meant bread crusts for the family. But with a good soak of egg, they became french toast, or of course bread pudding. Evening out the top of the wedding cake made scraps of cake, which became layered with pudding, nuts, marshmellows, whatever to form an ordinary desert to me, but the most popular "elegant" desert at the church potluck. Fancy little chicken salad boats meant we had chicken stock and bits for real chicken noodle soup, that was also considered a special delicacy by the community, who always hoped for a dinner at our home.

Christmas gifts, well, we had mostly things that came from UPCs on cereal boxes, or Betty Crocker points. Because the business was in our home, there were empty boxes wrapped up so that no one knew how poor we were. And we got by. Even after she became extremely successful, well known, well published, she never stopped saving. And that has taken her through retirement.

As an executive, I did buy the expensive suits, the designer shoes. Also the cheaper ones on sale. And, when I retired at 40, I wished I had bought less and saved more. The clothes are not requirements, not assets, just expenses. The money in the bank would have meant more.

So as I approach the holidays, I am SO thankful that my mother taught me to SAVE, to carve expenses down, and that when the hard times hit, those unexpected things like cancer and a viscious assault, we could be secure, and retire young and enoy life, not our possessions.

It's hard for me to not blow the bank on gifts for others at Christmas. But, I also need to remember that it's not the spending, the gifts, the few hours of ripping open packages that got me through this life. Or that taught me anything for my future success. It was the saving, the learning, the perspective that an ASSET is not worn on one's A*S that ensured my future. For that I am greatful, and that is the gift I truly want to pass on to the children.

But it's not easy!!!

My mother had never been through high school, but all three of her children went on to get graduate degrees. She has money holed up that you would never know, suddenly paying for a new car or RV with cash. Saving on what was not important allowed her to buy the things that were important in later life.

1 Responses to “Perspectives on the Holidays”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for taking the time to share it.

Leave a Reply

(Note: If you were logged in, we could automatically fill in these fields for you.)
Will not be published.

* Please spell out the number 4.  [ Why? ]

vB Code: You can use these tags: [b] [i] [u] [url] [email]

Supporting Sites: