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Old 04-28-2013, 07:02 AM   #21
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I think it was mid-20s when I learned about the tax benefits of my retirement plan at work and about the same time discovered how bad carrying a credit card balance was if I ever wanted to get ahead. At some point soon thereafter, I went to a basic personal finance seminar and turned out to be quite a life-changing event. I don't remember how I found it- thinking back I'm lucky it wasn't a sales pitch for something. It was all the basics- minimize debt, minimize taxes, save as much as you can, manage risk, etc. I still had all the materials from that seminar from about 20 years ago until recently when I cleaned out my closets.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:09 AM   #22
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:27 AM   #23
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:31 AM   #24
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I didn't have much money to speak of before I started saving, so I honestly can't say whether I was a saver or not. When I went to college, all of my tip money from the job I had for the few short months I was there went to help my boyfriend out with gas money as thanks for driving the three hours out to see me multiple times a week.

The rest went to the rent, but barely covered it. I got $1000 or so from a beauty pageant to help pay for school and boarding, and a few thousand more from SAT and PSAT-score-based scholarships, but didn't have the grades to get any more. I thought I was set, but I still ended up taking out a couple thousand in student loans to cover housing.

I was 18 at the time, and frugal, I only ate free food from work, etc. Then I got out after one semester, started my own business, paid off those loans in a couple months, realized the great feeling I got when paying down debt, and have been saving ever since, which has only been about a year and 4 months But I don't see myself stopping any time soon.

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I will admit to splurging on video games and baseball cards in my teenage years, but I still saved a majority of my money.
Boyfriend and I have always been huge gamers (We met because he was the manager of the video game store I frequented) But luckily our game purchases are now paying off in the form of resale for more than double their original cost
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:41 AM   #25
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I have always been a saver. If given the Marshmallow test at any stage in my childhood, I would never have eaten mine. :-)
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:11 AM   #26
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I've always been a saver. Modest savings in my 20's, more in my 30's, and then way more (and increasingly until retiring) at about age 40 after having our Corp pensions frozen and retiree health care eliminated entirely. In retrospect, it was probably the best thing that could have happened when it did...
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:20 AM   #27
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I've always been a saver. Modest savings in my 20's, more in my 30's, and then way more (and increasingly until retiring) at about age 40 after having our Corp pensions frozen and retiree health care eliminated entirely. In retrospect, it was probably the best thing that could have happened when it did...
Wouldn't be surprised if we both worked for the same Megacorp.

I'm thinking that most of us who are here started saving earlier in our lives than the average person who won't ER. In retrospect, I don't recall that my older sister ever saved up for anything. As soon as money hit her hands, she figured out a way to spend it as if there would be no tomorrow.

She is semi-retired but struggling.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:42 AM   #28
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After my divorce in 1983-4. Then it was "Where do I go from here?" and I wanted my own home. Saved the down payment in 18 months and after that it was just keeping enough in savings to fix stuff that broke for several years, and oh, some furniture would be nice.

But I also had a pension coming, so I didn't feel the need to save enough to live on after retirement.

At a young age I spent my money wisely on comic books and candy. Wish I still had the comic books. Would probably have flunked the marshmallow test.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:50 AM   #29
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I never had any debt, but never really saved until I got married when I was 29. My wife has been a saver all her life and she showed me the light.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:01 AM   #30
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I never was able to save money (and never thought about it!) until I started working at corporate jobs at age 40, where there was a 401K. I was not making much money and had to dress well at work so a lot of $ went for essentials. But when I FINALLY got real money - at age 47 or 48? - I saved as much as I could. When I turned 50 I started working for my last employer and was paid well - and started really investing and maxing out the 401k and doing other savings as well.

Now I'm in the spending phase but I'm really comfortable about it. I don't budget. I buy what I want and right now I want a lot of travel because I'm not sure how long my energy or health will last. It's a little freaky but since the stock market has been very good to me (or I was good with it?) my assets keep increasing.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:16 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Arifriekinel View Post
Boyfriend and I have always been huge gamers (We met because he was the manager of the video game store I frequented) But luckily our game purchases are now paying off in the form of resale for more than double their original cost
Wow - good job on managing to make a profit on a truly enjoyable hobby!

For the longest time in High School (early-mid 90s), I agonized over the temptation of pissing away $600 on a NeoGeo system. I would go to the Babbage's in the nearby mall every so often, and steal glances at the NeoGeo box hanging on the wall behind the counter, as I made my way in to look at the various computer and entertainment system games they had.

Thankfully, one of my fellow classmates who also was eyeing up a NeoGeo talked me out of it one day, when we both finally realized that spending that much cash on just the system (plus like over $100 for EACH game - and that was back in the early 90s!) just didn't make sense when it won't be used for THAT much playing time and enjoyment.

Since my high school days, my software splurges have been far more controlled, and limited to Civilization III, and Diablo II/III.

I was shocked to see a story last year about the NeoGeo system, and it still being available for like $600 somewhere, but I'm surprised that it would still have a market for it, given how graphics are these days on the other systems.

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I have always been a saver. If given the Marshmallow test at any stage in my childhood, I would never have eaten mine. :-)
LOL - yes, I would have definitely also squirreled away the marshmallows. Heck, even in my 30s currently, when I would go to my grandma's or parents' house for dinner, for both dietary and fiscal reasons, I'd simply eat just 1 pork chop or cut my steak in half, and wrap up the rest to take home for lunch the next day. It wasn't lost on my grandma, who was pleased to see at least one of her 4 grandkids take after her and grandpa in the area of looking ahead.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:18 AM   #32
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Third Grade. I had saved up $25.00 and kept after my mother to take me to the bank to open a savings account. Money was scarce as a child and I saved what little I earned through odd jobs. I would often look at the passbook and marvel that they actually gave me money for keeping my money safe. I kept that account through college and my first job. Still have the passbook!
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:25 AM   #33
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Age 12.

My grandfather gave me 25 cents for every dollar that I saved. The amount was determined every Jan 1 when my bank book would be examined.

After a few years my balance grew and we mutually ended the project. It was fine while I had a paper route but grew substantially when I started cutting lawns and shovelling snow.

At the same time I received some great words of advice....

'take care of the nickels and dimes and the dollars will take care of themselves'
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:29 AM   #34
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I started saving for retirement when I was 24. I hated my job so much, but I was already too far down the path into a high-paying career to switch. I decided to buy my way out by saving and investing aggressively. During my first month on the job, I decided I would retire by age 45.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #35
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In my twenties. Paid my way through college and continued to save from there. We had a few lean years, where it wasn't possible to save as much, but we still saved. I've never lived paycheck to paycheck, even with lower paying jobs.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #36
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As far back as I can remember. My parents opened a custodial passbook savings account at our local bank when I was no more than 8 or 9 years old, probably younger. My uncle had bought me one share of Ford Motor Co. and every quarter they mailed me a dividend check (less than $1) and my mom would take me to the bank to deposit it. My grandparents would also mail me checks every so often (birthdays, for example) so my mom took me to the bank to deposit those, too. It was a good way to see the value of saving, as on some trips the bank added some interest to the account which I thought was cool - earning money without doing anything LOL!

My mom also took me to the bank to get an occasional money order drawn from my account to buy something I wanted through the mail. She did this so I could see how money can leave my account and the value of saving up to buy things.

When I was 16 I got my first job but I opened up a separate account under my name to deposit my paychecks. It was nice having a steady income stream, even if it were only $60 or $70 every two weeks, still a decent amount of money as a teenager circa 1980. This money would eventually go towards my college expenses.

These actions set the foundation for my later saving tendencies. In fact, I had forgotten about the custodial account when I hit my early 20s and it still had about $4,000 so I used it to pay down my student loans before the grace period had ended. The interest rate on those loans was 7% or 8% so getting rid of much of it was good for my budget and paying off the rest of it 18 months later.

After paying off the student loans I began saving up to buy my apartment then rebuild my savings to buy a better car and eventually pay off the mortgage in 9 years, a big step toward my ER in 2008.

I do credit greatly the foundation years in becoming a natural saver.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:09 PM   #37
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My parents opened a passbook savings account in my name when I was still a toddler. I still own that account though, the passbook feature is now gone. But I kept my old passbook as a souvenir. I must have done a good job saving my pennies because I gained a reputation for being tight with my money at an early age.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:06 PM   #38
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I'm not going to count my savings at age 12 when I started babysitting for $.50/hr. My mom made me save 75% of what I brought home. Any tips were pocketed before that.

DH and I started saving shortly after college when we both landed corporate jobs - a little less than 50% of our net pay and we've been savers ever since (even when we became a single income household in '87) maxing out his 401k, paying off mortgages years early, yadda, yadda, yadda.

DH will taking ER at the end of next month at age 56 which is what we've been saving for.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:12 PM   #39
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early 30's I think. A friend turned me on to stocks around 1982 and I started to put a few bucks into mutual funds. Of course it turned out to be a great time to start. But I'm glad I spend anything and everything that came in during my 20's. You never have that time back again and I sure did have fun!
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:18 PM   #40
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When I was really young, I learned to keep my eye out for dropped change on the ground. I went to a day camp for kids all summer. Once a week we would be bussed over to a nearby public pool for swimming. That was a real treasure area.
A neighbor would pay 5 cents for a dozen nightcrawlers to sell at his mom-n-pop store down by the Hudson River. My brothers and I would soak the front yard and wait for the worms to come up. I got really good at sneaking up on (with a flashlight) and grabbing the worms.
Next paid jobs were weeding another neighbor's garden, shoveling the sidewalk and front porch while my brothers did the driveway, entering baked goods in the local 4H fair and getting money prizes for blue ribbons (my very first checks), raking leaves, etc. Babysitting in the afternoons followed once I turned 13, for the same neighbor with the garden.
I put all my found coins into a piggy bank, and handed over all earned money to my Mom for a passbook savings account.
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