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Old 10-18-2012, 08:13 AM   #21
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1960's- Electricity being cutoff and Mother crying. She was paying for all expenses on a $200/month military allotment check. Father drank the rest.

Mother scrounging up 5 cents for school milk money.

Incredible feeling of earning money mowing grass for $2 a yard. Daily bicycle trips to the grocery store for neighbor lady at 25 cents per trip. Saving my money for things I wanted.

Closing my savings account the day we moved away from Hawaii.

Wood burning stoves, dirt floors in a house, outhouses, USDA "Commodity groceries".

Things have been better since then.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:40 AM   #22
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We always had the things that were necessary in life. We usually also had many of the luxuries. My mom stayed at home and kept a close eye on the family spending.
when I asked for something I would usually get what I asked for but often I was told I would have to wait a while. I was expected to do chores but I also got an allowance.

we lived in a nice town. Our home was always well maintained. I was a good childhood.

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:00 AM   #23
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Great thread... I can remember back into the late 1930's.
I suppose we were poor, but just didn't know it. We rented a two story 800 s.f. house with 7 rooms... $7.00/week. Back then, until 1950, services came to the house... Milkman, breadman, fishman, garbage man, insurance man ... (once a week $.10), Max Kaplan... a walking talking salesman for just about anything... $.25 very two weeks to pay for mom's sewing machine. We had a paperboy, rag man, tinker/scissors sharpener. The last two were horse drawn wagons.

School milk program... 1942 on... $.02... We couldn't always afford this... brought from home. Savings bonds... $18.75. I got one $.10 stamp/week. Second grade... some other kids would get a bond and class honors, every month or so... Took me a year...

We had a car... 1936 Olds... Only one neighbor had a car, so I guess we weren't the worst off... No phone until I was 15 ... 1949. Never went hungry, but remember that some Thursdays, (day before payday) we would have carrot or potato peel soup. Lamb was cheap, and the Fishman who came on Friday, provided low cost food... I can remember shark... which was the cheapest...

Third grade... started allowance... $.15... Fourth grade $.25.

1943... bubble gum rationed... $.01 each... limit 4 at Schott's Market... had to run home from school and get in line, when the supply came in.
Soda... $.05 from the red Coca Cola ice box... opener on the front.

Bread... $.11, gallon milk $.25... Hamburg... $.19/lb. And a penny?... Great find... even if it was "tails up"!

Too many memories...

Never, ever, felt poor.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:02 AM   #24
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I was thinking about having to drop out of Brownies the first year because my parents could not afford the 10 cents dues. Not many childhood memories about money because there was not much with 4 kids, low level civil service job for dad, mom sick with cancer, extended family living far away.

Maybe it made me stronger (not my sibs) but hey it was what it was.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:27 AM   #25
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My earliest memory was when I was 8 and had borrowed 2 cents in order to pay for a 15 cent cherry coke at the local soda fountain store. A few days later when I was going back to repay this 2 cents my dad asked what I was doing. I explained and he reamed me out for borrowing money and said I should not do that and to ask him next time.

As an adult, borrowing money for things (other than mortgage) is something I, and DW, are averse to.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:41 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Third grade... started allowance... $.15... Fourth grade $.25.
I don't remember the starting value but I do remember getting a 10 cent raise on every birthday. Mercury head dimes too with some serious silver in it.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:46 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Like most people here, I have always had the personality trait of deferred gratification. And because my brother always likes to have his dessert ASAP, yet was raised in the same environment, I will have to say that it must have been nature, not nurture, that makes me a saver.

As a kid, I always felt as good having money in my pocket as I did spending it. In fact, I often felt buyer's remorse. And I dreamed of having as much money as Scrooge McDuck. Other than that, my childhood was fairly benign, without any traumatic experience about money.
We seem to be soul mates. I deeply admired Scrooge McDuck too. Loved the idea of diving into a swimming pool full of coins ... although I never thought about the landing.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:15 AM   #28
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We were not poor. We lived in a good neighborhood, went to a school where most kids were solidly middle class, and a fair number of them were well to do. My Dad had a very stable job, and my mother stayed home. One set of my GPs were rich, the other lived what was really a prosperous peasant lifestyle. They had great food, plenty of it, but very little cash income. The rural great depression of the Midwest and prairies did not hit hard where they lived, and since they were essentially self sufficient the grain price crashes of the 20s and 30s did not affect them much if at all. They had hard physical work, but never seemed to mind it. My girl cousins wore home sewn dresses made from the attractive prints from 50# chicken feed sacks. So I saw a wide range of money availability up close. I didn't notice much difference in overall happiness, but it was a lot easier for the wealthier side to avoid 3rd generation problems. They just stayed out of trouble better. My paternal side cousins as well as my sibs and I had a nicer ride- perhaps less fun, but also less accident prone, less illness, fewer social disasters like age 14 pregnancies and trips to Korea or Vietnam as alternatives to trips to prison. I decided that money had its plusses and minuses, but more plusses than minuses.

I had the same save gene that others here have spoken of. I remember walking to the grocery store with my Dad when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and noticing the interest rates posted on the savings and loans in the town center. I always had a savings account, and I had little jobs to earn money which I deposited in it.

Then I discovered girls. They had something that I wanted more than bank balances, and I started a period of earning and spending that lasted maybe 20 years. I wasn't until I was married and my first child was born that I got back to the old time religion. This also coincided with the high interest rates of the late 70s and early 80s. I paid attention to maximizing my interest earnings on float.

We never had money conflicts in my own family- not with my wife, or with my kids. We were careful, but not exceedingly so.

So I am frugal today, and I watch my children spend freely and I hope they will be ok. Happily they are very able, so it may work out. I never gave much thought to security, other than with respect to my responsibilities as a father, but I do now. My son is going to give me a big fancy TV installation on an arm on the wall, that will allow me to view it from my couch in front of the fireplace, and also from my desk. I am looking forward to it, but also it pains me a little to see him spend the money. If he wouldn’t be offended, I might decline the offer- though I will love it for sure.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:24 AM   #29
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Father was engineer, made likely a good middle class salary. Money was not big topic, no arguments I recall. What I do recall is that you don't borrow money for anything except a house. Brother and I lamented that we were sure we could afford other than well used cars, but Dad was never one to borrow or buy a new car. Recall being lectured that the reason he didn't borrow was because if he lost his job, he could weather it well. Others would be in deep stuff. Saw him get laid off, and while tight for him and Mom, they were able to get by.

When Mom died, he mentioned that maybe they should have traveled more as she wished (they could have afforded it). I refrained from saying "A bit late for that." But it was a lesson for me, who to this day am trying to figure out how to let go of money. Problem is that while living on a a SWR of ~2% a dollar still has meaning. If something doesn't offer value I won't spend the money on it, regardless of how much $ we have. Would spend a good bit on travel if could, but will have to wait for MIL to exit, who we care for in our home. Well, DW does.

Anyway, learned a lot about $ philosophy from Dad. Son has inherited same but seems able to part with it more easily than I did at his age, primarily for travel but not possessions. He lives overseas and is able to partake of a lot of exotic places and I'm glad he does. There's a fine line between saving enough, preparing for retirement, and being so tight you miss out on enjoyable experiences you could have had. Just as no one laments working more on deathbed, I'm sure there are many who wish they had not left so much $ on the table and had done more to enjoy it.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:27 AM   #30
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I just registered the other day, and haven't had a chance to post a thread in the "Hi, I am..." forum, so I guess this will be my first post here

This is an interesting topic to me, and was just thinking about it the other day. As a kid, even as young as in elementary school, I was always keenly aware of money. My family was very middle class. We didn't want for the basics (house, food, clothing, etc) but Mom and Dad didn't buy any luxuries. They weren't very social, didn't do any entertaining or traveling, and never bought anything fancy or went on extravagant vacations. They never invested in anything other than money market accounts and CDs.

They both grew up during the Depression, which I'm sure contributed to their conservative nature.

As a kid, I remember other parents driving their kids to school in "nice" cars such as Lincolns and Cadillacs, and some kids lived in very nice neighborhoods. While other kids read superhero comics like Superman and Batman, I read Richie Rich

It's never that I wanted money for money's sake (I still don't) but even at a very young age I knew that money gave you options. While to most kids, a "million dollars" was just a large number, even when I was young, I knew that kind of money meant you had more options, could probably run your own business instead of working for somebody else (as my Dad did, and worked himself practically to death), live somewhere more fun (I grew up in a small town in Alabama and hated it), etc.

My oldest sister and I didn't inherit my parents' frugal nature. I saw Mom and Dad save for years without any enjoyment of it (at least, to me) and then ended up leaving it to us kids as an inheritance. My sisters and I were always thankful they didn't want for anything basic, and were safe financially, but always sad they didn't enjoy it a little more, even if having a few little nice things here and there for themselves, which they never did.

I'm just the opposite. I can't take it with me, so I tend to spend it today and worry about tomorrow later. Which I know is 180 degrees opposite of good financial planning, but I don't regret it. I've seen some cool things in life, and had some good times, and would rather live for the moment.

I wonder how many kids grow up the opposite of their parents when it comes to money? How many kids with frugal parents grow up to be spenders, and how many kids of parents who spend money liberally grow up to be savers? That would be an interesting study.

Anyway, cool thread - thanks for posting it.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:30 AM   #31
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I am glad to see that Scrooge McDuck was also a model for other people. I do not remember much about the cartoons that I read (it was in French), so looked at Wikipedia for info. Scrooge was very popular in Europe, and there were many locally produced comics. In some versions, Scrooge was portrayed as the anti-hero, and he often denied his nephew Donald the latter's fair share of treasure finds. Hmm... I guess I was too fascinated with Scrooge's riches to observe his flaws. However, some other versions of Scrooge told of him as an industrious man and with a certain integrity.

Here's something interesting. In 2011, Forbes magazine estimated Scrooge's fortune at $44.1B. I thought it should be more, due to the recent high price of gold.

Anyway, back to childhood character development, another reason besides the deferred gratification trait that caused me to be a saver was that I have always been a somewhat pessimistic or at least cautious person. When I saw a beggar, I told myself that I would never, ever, want to find myself in that position. Some people would say "Me? No way! I am just too good and smart and lucky to end up like that".
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:40 AM   #32
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I remember a few times when I was under 7 or 8 when I knew things were tight with the family finances. My Dad was a roofing salesman so income was seasonal and business was always slow between late Nov. and Feb. He would really hustle the rest of the year to cover the slow months.

When I was about 10 he started doing much better in his job and I noticed the change, we added a family room onto the house, got our first COLOR TV and took some family trips. The trips were not luxurious, just family driving trips and staying in state park lodges. They didn't need to keep up with the Joneses (or the Goldsteins, in their neighborhood). I had friends who moved up and out to the "better" zip code, my parents stayed put and invested for retirement.

The Scrooge McDuck pictures make me laugh because I used to save all my babysitting money and excess allowance in cash in my room. I also had a savings account at my parents bank and I made deposits or bought savings bonds. Mom and I would sit at the kitchen table and rolls coins and just talk. I loved going to the bank with my Mom and making a deposit into my own account. And then they even paid me interest!

My sister is 3 years older than me and somehow the understanding of money just didn't (and still doesn't) apply to her. We are very opposite when it comes to saving, spending, value for your money and value of things. When she was broke she'd borrow from me or try to sell me things so she could have cash. I'd see what she wasted her money on and just be proud of my cash savings.

She still doesn't understand money. She lives in a bubble where costs don't apply to her and income vs outgo is something other people worry about too much. If she has to think about those things she might get a wrinkle! Or break a nail. Luckily, her DH #2 earns plenty and handles everything for her. He's retiring in 2013 so it will be interesting if anything changes for her.

She's waiting for Daddy to give her an early inheritance. He moved to an assisted living facility last month and even though she saw how much it costs per month, she thinks he should give us hunks of money before he uses it all up. Sometimes I'd like to shake her into reality, but there's that bubble around her.
Married, both 61. DH retired June, 2010. I have a pleasant little part time job.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:24 AM   #33
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Interesting topic. My dad was an engineer, who prioritized saving for his retirement. We lived in a nice, upper middle class neighborhood. Ironically, the house was a foreclosure that my dad picked up for far less than market value. Most of my peers had the latest fashions, I had hand me downs. We had mandatory chores and fixed (small) allowances. When I hit the pre-teen years I realized the allowances did not cover my "wants" - so I started babysitting. This allowed me to buy some new clothes as the trends changed, or record albums. It taught me the correlation between earnings and spending.

I remember asking my dad how other parents were able to give their kids much higher spending money, clothe allowances, cars when they turned 16. He explained that the other parents were probably living beyond their means. At the time I didn't fully get it - but as I grew older, I realized he was probably right.

In college I would get these pre-approved credit card offers. I rationalized that if they were stupid enough to give a kid with just a part time job a credit card, I'd be stupid enough to use it. Took me several years, post college to dig out of the $15k debt I racked up. That was a HUGE lesson.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:46 PM   #34
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For me, I think growing up feeling like I did not have "enough" money as a child has shaped me financially. We lived in a solid middle class town, but all of my friends had alot more spending money than I did. I never had much money at all, in fact I thought we were poor, but I later realized we weren't!! My parents just chose to be uber frugal. That's probably due to their living through the depression and the desire to always be frugal - just in case.

Since I had very little in the way of cash, I always spent my weekly chore "pay" and babysitting pay pretty quickly. I didn't start doing any real saving until I was in college and had summer jobs, and I would bank most of my summer job monies so I had some spending money during the school year. I typically didn't have much more than some pizza money once a week and clothing money.

I think I ended up with a balanced approach, save some, spend some. Don't go into debt except for mortgage, pay off mortage ASAP. LBYM as soon as I could afford to!!!

"Nurture" would definitely describe how I got to where I am.....
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:55 PM   #35
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I too grew up in a solid middle class home. Both my parents were hard workers and savers.
I remember my mother making big grocery runs and buying in bulk, spending time breaking everything down, wrapping it, and putting it in the freezer in the basement. I also remember her going to all 3 local shopping markets to buy stuff on sale (in bulk).
I remember our chore chart, $2 allowance and the paper route I had, then gave to my brother when I got bigger.
I remember my motherletting us spend all of our first paycheck (my brothers and I all worked at the local grocery store) but making us save 75% of all others.
Lots of LBYM, saving, and family vacations that usually involved camping.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:26 PM   #36
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When I grew up, Dad was a successful entrepreneur despite having just about managed to get a GED in the army as an enlisted man. We lived in an upper middle class area, Mom did not work outside the house, and had a second home. However, Dad and Mom both grew up poor and it never really left their consciousness. To this day, Dad's only real hobby is fishing and it stems from when he was young and if you didn't catch a fish or poach hunt for dinner, you often did not eat. I remember Dad doing stuff like buying at an auction all the canned food that a restaurant had in its kitchen when it went out of business. They bought cars new, but kept them a decade or more. Dad bought a new-to-him boat when I was 12 or 13 it was as old as I was (and he still has the same boat).

All that came apart shortly after I went off to college as Dad's business failed (they expanded with debt into the teeth of the early 1990s recession). He learned a new business and recovered, but there were some unpleasant times during the bankruptcy of the business. Mom found a call center job for a while and I always worked in college.

What rubbed off on me was Dad's frugality. He started with nothing and worked his way up to being a successful entrepreneur twice, mostly by not giving up and being thrifty. It was always clear to me that you needed capital to invest and the only way to get it was to save your money. But I also took from his example that I want a different life. Dad never really had goals aside from making money and has few interests in life aside from fishing (and gambling).
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:59 PM   #37
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I grew up lower middle class. My folks had a few courses in college but never finish a prof. degree. Their income fluctuate to bad to good, but it was never stable. They were very frugal to the point of being cheap.
However, the only thing they splurge on is "FOOD" and constantly annoyed us boys, that the only way for us to get out of this mess is to get the best education money can buy.
I rode the bus to a better high school and got to college, then post grad.
I always had an inferiority complex, that I don't belong there, and my escape was to go to the library, study, and read magazine ads, hoping that oneday, I can afford the finer things in life.
When I graduated with, a prof. degree, I remembered my mother bought a new dress for the occassion.
My dad worked irregular hours, and came home in a bad mood, and at a whim will scream at us and will beat us up with a belt for what I thought of as minor infractions. He finally left my mom.
My mom was a stern lady who did not believe in excuses for failure. Her favorite qoute was: The world does not owe you anything, so if you want to get ahead in this world, you got to work yourself to the bone!(from a foreign translation).
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:22 PM   #38
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My dad was self-employed and we talked about money all the time - which customer wasn't paying their bills, what business might be on the horizon, which customer went to a competitor, etc. We grew up being frugal with the common things of life - I remember coupon clipping, Green Stamps, Dad haggling over the price of buying a car, and getting school clothes from the Sears sale catalog. But my parents also would "splurge" on things like a family trip to the 1967 World's Fair in Montreal and going out to a really good restaurant a couple of times a year. My dad also showed me his mutual fund statements every year once I was in my teens, and made sure I understood how compound growth worked. About that time I started helping him out in the office - typing invoices and letters and eventually doing the books every month (he was a one-man operation). Sure learned a lot that way!
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:25 PM   #39
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My recollection of money as a kid? Allowance was 10 cents per week per year of age for most of my childhood. Until we were 10, we got a nickel for a half year, too.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:42 PM   #40
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Despite my dad making $60-70k a year as a pipe fitter, money was always an issue as he was a gambling addict with a wife and 3 girls. An alcoholic as well. Very addictive personality.

He kept his money very secret and separate from my mother. Her part-time job went to pay for the food. There were always fights about money and other things. The mortgage would get behind; we’d get eviction letters too.

We were on food stamps at one point. I got free school lunches in grade school. I had my own job at age 16 to pay for my own car insurance and private flute lessons (I was going to be a musician).

Yet somehow, dad taught us a work ethic. Now sure how with such a personality, but hard work was valued and I always knew that. Despite promising to pay all of his girls’ college tuition, he did not (gambled it away) and we each put ourselves through school. I take pride in paying off my entire student loans before I even graduated with my Master’s. I like to say my parents had nothing to do with it, but I guess they did in a way because I was very independent and bound to do things better for myself.

He got cancer 6 years ago and immediately retired at age 52 and started disability. He managed to blow his $250k retirement fund in those 6 years (we suspect gambling and crack cocaine). Luckily my mother (age of 60) still gets his monthly pension and his social security as he has passed on recently (age of 58).

I found a husband that is extremely compatible with me regarding money values (and a whole bunch of other things!) and we are aiming for early retirement. I’m a little obsessed about it though. I think I learned exactly what NOT to do from my parents.

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