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- My dad had many creative ways to save money, including meandering around New York City to avoid road tolls.
- Growing up, I learned from him the value of money, and applied his lessons over and over again.
- When I wanted to buy a home, I cut back on spending and used sidecars to save up a down payment.
Whether he was sitting by the meter as a kid so he wouldn’t have to waste a dime or meander around NYC to avoid paying any tolls on the road, my parents’ habits taught me a lot about how to save and use money wisely.
Growing up during the Great Depression, the son of immigrant parents, he learned the value of money and instilled it in his children. Following in my father’s cautious footsteps allowed me to buy two homes and a new car, all with a teacher’s salary.
So, how did you do that? It’s simple, I imitated my father. Well, for some things anyway.
My father’s habits are gone
Although San Remo was the number one card in Rolodex, the pizza was never delivered. This means a tip. So we were ordering a big pie instead and one of us (usually me) would walk in and take it. We’ve done this for all of our meals. This may seem like a small thing, but I learned early on to be careful with money. If you are able to do something for yourself, you don’t need to pay anyone else to do it for you.
As I got older, I discovered that some of my parents’ habits had spoiled me. When video stores were all the rage, I ran out in the middle of the night before I paid a late fee. In fact, I can say that I have never paid a late fee on anything. Ever.
When my college friends were loading their credit cards with big purchases, I worked part time. Then another. I always made sure I was spending a lot of my money. I know people who only pay the bare minimum each month on their cards; Which didn’t make financial sense to me. I often use cash to help me find a better balance in my finances, so there are no surprises when the bills come in.
I love to travel, and as a teacher, I can take advantage of summer vacation. From South America to safari in South Africa, there are no restrictions on destinations. Instead, I trade luxury hotels for hostels or host families, or even cat-free or discounted accommodation. I surf the internet for hours, sometimes days, until I find the best fare. I never felt like I was missing an opportunity, and this allows me to get to know the locals better.
I’m probably one of the only people who doesn’t have an Uber or Lyft on my phone. I will walk for hours or take public transportation before taking the car service. All these little things add up and I’ve never found myself in debt.
While I was excelling at shopping when I got my tax back, I realized that if I wanted a home, something had to change. So I spent five years Save all refunds for my taxescut corners, deal with side hustle until I got Down payment for a second home. I saw how little my father was to be happy and tried to imitate him.
He might have gotten too far at times, but I still followed his lead
My father’s concern for money can be exaggerated at times. When we get too hot in the summer or stay in cheap motels, my mother would say we were simply patronized by a bargain. and he. You can still see his face light up when he gets something for free or a deal. I’m the same way, but I like a fancy item now and then.
A few years ago, when Covid hit, I was able to buy my own tiny second home in Upstate, New York; I primarily live in a co-op in Brooklyn. It was tight, but I knew I had the tools to maintain it. You used the money carefully Save more than five years for the down payment. You bought used furniture from trusted decorating companies, took hand tools and items from Buy Nothing sites and made a cozy home.
Although I’m not very handy, I try to cut costs and do everything I can everywhere – build furniture, paint, and even DIY in my own backyard. Lots of people had the house renovated right away, but I’m working around it. I’ve learned that creativity is more fun than buying from a catalog. When I can’t use it, I rent it out to help with maintenance.
My dad came to visit recently and together we fixed an old chair instead of getting another one. You came out great. Nothing is lost. I’m also sponsoring a deal – and my life is richer for it.