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Still on the Warpath: Naiadknight's Battle Tome

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  • Skipped eating lunch, wasn't hungry. Went and got my boots retapped during lunch. Took the guy all of 5 minutes and cost me all of $5. I would've paid more for a pair of taps and shipping.
    Didn't get to sweeping the porches before dark. I'll still sweep/ mop/ vacuum the house after dinner. The curry is taking a while. (Well, Geek's rice is taking a while.)
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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    • This is mostly just getting stuff out of my head. Feel free not to read.
      The more I think on the link between childhood and adult eating, the stronger the connection becomes. While I can't say we were ever welfare poor (or if we were, no one ever sought it), food was a precious commodity. Most of my childhood (from about the time I was 7 or 8) my parents were spending half to 3/4 of the income just to pay off debt through a credit counseling service. Tack on gas, car, and mortgage and that left very little for food. It was very rarely not enough, but I remember a few sleepless nights because there wasn't enough of dinner for one or both parents. (They ate the fallbacks of ramen or cereal.) I remember several nights a month where dinner was whatever you scrounged around the kitchen.
      I took my lunch from 7th grade on, because we didn't qualify for free lunch and even the reduced rate was too much. $0.40/ day ($.030/ day if you bought a lunch card and prefilled it a month at a time) was fine in elementary, but $1.50 for a lunch that wasn't enough anyways was out of our league. Most days it was a sandwich (wheat bread, not white, and 1/3 pack of the kind of lunchmeat that sells for a $1 a pack/ serving, maybe American cheese), chips, a piece of whatever fruit was in season (usually apples or oranges from the 3 lb sack), and a drink. If dinner had been one of my favorites, I took cold leftovers.
      Dinner was always a toss up between Hamburger/ Tuna Helper (with double to triple the noodles to stretch it), fend for yourself, or Dad cooking. If Dad was cooking, it was usually spag with homemade sauce, grilled fud, or stir fry, every once in a while something new. As we got older, I did more and more of the cooking or helping Dad with dinner.
      We rarely went out, usually only for a birthday or anniversary or special celebration. When we did, we kids knew to look at menu prices before ordering. It was never explicitly stated, just something we picked up from the edges of conversations. Once you could order off the grown- up menu, anything over $10 got you the hairy eyeball.
      When we were small, Mom would generally dish up the food at the stove and we ate at the table. You ate all of your dinner and drank all of your milk before you left the table, unless it really was just too big a portion, in which case it went to the cat. Once we were old enough to reach the stove, we served ourselves. "Take what you want, eat what you take" was the cry of the dinner table. It was a precarious balance between not taking so much that you couldn't finish it and taking enough so you didn't hafta hope for seconds. (With 5 mouths, there usually weren't seconds.) If you didn't like dinner, tough, eat it anyways. I was the exception to that, because of what is now known to be the sulfite allergy. If it would give me a headache or make me throw up, I was allowed to have cereal.
      Cereal, Knockoff Boyardee, and ramen were always the two foods we had around the house. We might be out of everything else, but there was always ramen or milk and cereal. Those are still comfort foods for me. They made the money seem not so tight.
      There was always meat at dinner, but it was usually ground beef or canned tuna. Judging by the grease poured off, I guess it was 70/30 beef.
      Like I said, we weren't poor, but we usually hovered right on the edge. I know Mom and Dad talked food stamps and WIC at one point, because I remember hearing "I will not feed the kids like street animals!" at the end of an argument.
      We kids were taught the value of a dollar early. We helped Mom and Dad cut up the credit cards. My allowance as of 1995 was $2/ week, raised to $5/ week in 1998, and dropped to $20/ week on the rare occasion Dad had cash. No chores? No money.
      I keep saying we weren't poor, but thinking about the bill conversations and heated whispers, as well as what I know the house cost, I don't know how far above poverty we were. I know it could've been more comfortable without the credit bill, but I think Dad earned the equivalent of my current salary when I was in high school. I know money was touch and go every other week. We were raised to believe... well, that money isn't everything but it sure as hell helps.
      I will say that a tight food budget as a kid has taught me to stretch my food dollar as an adult. We kids had to tell Mom what the cereal cost, watch her do he mental math, and get approval before we put it in the cart. Snacks and sodas never made it into the budget until I was in late high school, and even then it was only for my lunches. I still cringe at paying over $1-2/ lb on produce. I still look for the cheapest cut of meat or deepest sale and stuff it in the freezer. I'm not above taking someone else's hunting spoils if they offer it. I've been known to buy a ridiculously cheap cut of meat and look up a recipe later. I can usually get dinner for 2 for 5 days for $20-30, $40 if I splurge, $60 if I need household supplies. I know I can do 5 days worth of food for two +1 day for 5 on $20/ week, I did it on unemployment. We ate a lot of curry, spag, and cheap cuts.
      I watch other folks just blow their money on stupid shit, like keeping up with the Joneses, and then complain about being broke, and just wonder. We grew up with "reduce, reuse, recycle" and "use it up, wear it out, make do, or go without." Most of the clothing my parents bought for us came off the clearance rack or from the thrift store (in some cases, both.) Uniforms actually made it more expensive on my parents. We all wore hand me downs (mine came from an older cousin and my youngest sister tended to be the last to wear it before it went to Goodwill.) We were taught to look down on visible labels and logos, and that popular clothing tended to be junk. I took pride in wearing Hawaiian shirts, tank tops, and cargo pants to school. I loved those Army Navy surplus pants quite literally to death (crotch rot.)
      I guess things are different when you grow up on a budget. I knew girls who spent thousands of dollars on prom. My grandparents bought my dress, I went stag (doe?), and did my own hair and nails. Total cost to me? $10. Total cost to my parents? gas to and from the venue and a roll of film. To this day, I prefer to use things until they die, go obsolete, or cost more to maintain than to sell. We go through kitchen towels crazy fast, but I'd rather do a load of kitchen towels than use paper towels. I think the only thing we use paper towels for is things that would destroy a regular towel, like glue and foam, and blowing our noses. I see people buying things that they really can't possibly need. Who the hell needs an avocado cutter or a fancy butter holder? Use a knife and a small plate. I see people throwing out perfectly good furniture because it wasn't in fashion. Really? If it works, use it. Reupholster it if it ain't pretty enough. My love seat is older than I am, and the couch I'm sitting on is at least 20 years old. Both are still serviceable. Ugly as hell, but that's what slipcovers are for.
      Are we the only ijits out there that will abide by Depression rules? Are we the only freaks who don't give two shits about the Joneses? I know we can't be, but it sure as hell seems like we are.
      Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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      • You are not the only ones. I don't really give a flying fuck about how matchy my furniture is. It's all serviceable. The only furniture we've bought for our place: our beds & our dressers, and all were bought before we lived together (one bed & dresser each, though we bought the shared dresser together). In the living alone, we have: steam trunk coffee table (my mom's), my grandfather's recliner (the comfiest La-z-Boy ever, possibly 20 yrs old), couch from Hulky's parents, two side tables (from my parents & from my grandma), and the entertainment center (Hulky's parents' attic). Don't forget the rug (my mom). Oh right, there's another chair that was a curb find, THAT really needs to be replaced. I can't imagine how much we would have had to spend if we'd bought any of this.

        Hulky and I got by on frozen veg, rice, potatoes, and cheap cuts of meat (read: CAFO)... well, we mostly still are, just add squash for me. I'm looking into more reusable house maintenance stuff, like kitchen towels instead of paper towels. My parents were comfortably middle class so this is all pretty new to me. Hulky's childhood was probably like yours, I think. It's funny though because I'm the one who worries more about money. Probably because he has a better sense of how to use it than I do, though I'm pretty good at saving it up.
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        • I think the only furniture either of us bought was mostly Geek's, long before I showed up. The only furniture in the house that's newer than us being together is the book cases.
          My alarm didn't go off. I woke up at 0745, freaked out, ran around, and was only 5 minutes late to work.
          Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
          My Latest Journal

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          • Blugh, I hate rushing in the AM. Glad you got in quickly.
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            • Naiad...very thoughtful post. With me being much older than you I am glad to see a young'un with good sense!! Maybe there's hope for the country in your generation. We'll see. I totally relate to where you are coming from...I posted somewhere else & won't repeat the whole thing again...but hubby was brought up with a food nazi...they could afford to have extra, but his mom felt it was more important to buy fabric & stuff, for her generally. She was a health fanatic before it was cool. So now he wants snacks around all the time. I'm a pretty good cook (she wasn't) so he gets good suppers & full blown breakfasts on the weekends. But something about being denied/deprived as a kid makes for serious issues as an adult. And of course not just in food issues but other things as well.

              Unfortunately most people don't understand what folks went thru during the depression. We are on the verge of another one if we aren't already there. If you don't know how to do without or make do its gonna be tough for a lot of folks.

              You & nameless (& others I know) give me some hope for the younger generation. Your parents should be proud of the young woman you are. And I mean that...not just blowing smoke up your skirt.

              Have a wonderful day!
              Goal: Don't worry be happy!

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              • Thanks, PC. That actually means a lot to me.
                I actually find it funny and depressing at the same time when people buy a house that forces them to scrimp and pinch for the mortgage. I'm talking knowing before you sign the paperwork that money would be tight. I can't understand why you'd do that. We intentionally bought a house where we could make all the bills on one income, just in case. The real estate agent hastened to point out we could afford twice as much according to the approved loan, and we shut her down. We still have more on the mortgage than we wanted, but we can still squeak by on one income plus unemployment.
                Looking at so many of my generation, I'm worried we'll get into another Depression and people will starve just so they can keep consuming. People like NW and my youngest sister give me some hope, but I think too many have been too comfortable and forgotten what history teaches.
                Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                My Latest Journal

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                • NK, you're not the only ones who go by "Depression" rules! When I was a young child I think money wasn't an issue, but original father ("Dad" is my stepdad) was alcoholic so by the time I was 8 or so, most of the money went down his throat in the form of booze. When Mom kicked him out, he was supposed to pay child support, but this was back in the dark ages when they didn't enforce court ordered child support. So for most of my memory when I understood cash flow, we were dirt poor. We never qualified for any assistance because of original father's income, nevermind that Mom never got any of it for raising us 3 kids. I never got an allowance, and any money I made babysitting/working part time went to Mom.

                  So fast forward to being an adult and making my own money. Sweetie also grew up in a family with tight finances. He and I pay cash for everything except the mortgage. Our only bills are the ones you can't escape: power, garbage, water, food. And of course the mortgage payment. Hubby drives a 2006 Subaru, paid cash for it new. I have a 2007 Subaru, paid cash for it new. I bought Sweetie a Ducati motorcycle in 2006, paid cash for it new. We never had a lot of "extra" income over the years, finances were tight when the kids were young, but we got by. Bought used everything so we could pay cash and not be in debt. That 2007 Subaru was the first new car I've had in my life, and I was 50 years old when I got it.

                  My kids are all grown and on their own now, but they have the same frugality. The only debt any of them have (besides mortgages) is youngest daughter's hubby is in school and they got a student loan for it. (Sorry, I paid for my kid's college, won't pay for their spouse's college!)

                  I don't know if it's necessarily growing up poor, but it certainly has to do with the values you learn as a child. When my kids were teens, we were doing well enough that they got allowances, but they had to do chores or no pay. Anything extra they wanted they had to earn the money themselves. And any infractions of the family rules (breaking curfew, etc.) included a $$ fine as well as an appropriate punishment for the "crime".

                  I think the "I want it NOW even if I can't afford it" is a result of many influences. The easy availability of credit, the advertising, the internet (on Facebook, everyone posts the good stuff...), and an increasing lack of parenting. Many parents today give their kids what they want, go into debt to get their kids things they don't need, and heaven forbid that a child should ever be subjected to frustration!

                  *gets off soap box*

                  Can you tell you picked a topic near and dear to my heart?

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                  • I hope we can get to that point re: mortgage and a house some day. Getting by on one income I guess is a pre-baby goal. I really need to get on my certification stuff [[picks up book to do some reading now]]. I think the most ridiculous thing about affording a mortgage/just getting by with things like that is the cost of living is so absurd in some areas. We're stuck where we are because of Hulky's school in the city, basically. This close to Boston is way too expensive in rent and the houses are absurd. We'll definitely move someday, but we have to be able to afford to do that first (even if a job would cover moving expenses).
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                    • I'm scared that if we can't make significant contributions for hypothetical future children's education, they will be totally screwed over by the loan system the way it is now. I lucked out with not a lot of debt, compared to most of my classmates, about the cost of a standard new sedan with no discounts. I've heard so many horror stories about former classmates who are fighting with loan companies to get onto longer repayment plans, whereas I should be able to pay off in 7 more years.

                      It's hard to decide between setting aside my meager savings for early loan repayment or just saving it up.
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                      • Nameless, you might want to check out Dave Ramsey: Dave Ramsey Homepage

                        He's got some great advice on personal finances, paying things off, etc.

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                        • I guess the emergency fund is the first step.
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                          • I know TX is talking about restandardizing tuition. There are also plans where you can lock in tuition at current rates for a future kid, so long as you pay so much into the plan each year in TX, so long as the kid goes to a state university. I'm hoping to do that for our kids and at least pay for some of it. Granted, that's assuming the kid chooses a decent major. I'm not paying for an underwater basket weaving degree.
                            Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                            My Latest Journal

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                            • Originally posted by naiadknight View Post
                              There are also plans where you can lock in tuition at current rates for a future kid, so long as you pay so much into the plan each year in TX, so long as the kid goes to a state university.
                              Utah has the same program. The caveat is, your kids gotta go to state schools. This didn't work for us because, being military, we were stationed all over the place (last 7 years of Sweetie's career overseas). But we had saved for it, so it wasn't a problem. However, we told our kids that if they wanted to go to Bring Money Private University, they had to pay the amount over what state college tuition was. They took the cheap option!

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                              • I wish I'd understood more about money then! I'm glad I went to the school I did and met the people I did, but I could have had free college b/c of my state testing scores (or severely reduced, but I think my parents could have covered it). Ah well, my private university was a collection of misfits and it was a good time. Plus, I got excellent job experience!
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