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- My dad had many creative ways to save money, including zig-zagging across NYC to avoid road tolls.
- Growing up, I learned the value of money from him, and I have applied his lessons over and over again.
- When I wanted to buy a house, I cut my expenses and took up side gigs to save on the down payment.
Whether he sat by the meter as a kid so he didn’t have to waste money or zig-zagging all over New York City to avoid paying tolls on the street, my father’s habits taught me a lot that How to save and use money wisely.
Growing up during the Great Depression, the son of immigrant parents, he learned about the value of money and passed it on to his children. Following in the careful footsteps of my father, I have had the opportunity to buy two houses and a new car, all for a teacher’s salary.
So, how did I do this? It’s simple, I imitated my father. Well, for a few things anyway.
My father’s habits got on me
Even though San Remo was the first card in our Rolodex, we never got their pizza delivered. That would mean giving a tip. So we’ll order a big pie instead and one of us (usually me) will walk in and pick it up. We did this for all our takeout. It may seem like such a small thing, but I learned to be careful with money long ago. That if you were able to do something for yourself, you didn’t need to pay someone else to do it.
As I grew older, I found that some of my father’s habits took hold of me. When video stores were all the rage, I’d run away in the middle of the night before paying the late fee. In fact, I can say that I have never paid late fees on anything. sometimes.
When my friends in college were loading their credit cards with big purchases, I took a part-time job. Then another. I always made sure that I had enough money to spend. I know people who make only the minimum payment on their card each month; Which never made financial sense to me. I often use cash to help better balance my finances so there are no surprises when the bill arrives.
I love to travel and, as a teacher, I am able to take advantage of summer vacations. From South America to safaris in South Africa, destinations know no bounds. Instead, I trade fancy hotels for hostels or host families, or even offer free or reduced accommodations for cat-sitting. I check the internet for hours, sometimes days, until I find the best fare. I never felt like I was missing out, and it gives me a chance to get to know the locals better.
I’m probably one of the only people without an Uber or Lyft on my phone. I’ll walk hours before getting a car service or take public transportation. All these little things add up and I never found myself in debt.
When I was on a shopping spree when I got my tax refund, I realized that if I wanted to build a house, something needed to change. So, I spent five years Saving all my tax refundscutting corners, and stirring one side until I had Down payment for another home, I saw how little my father needed to be happy and I tried to emulate him.
His penny-pinching can be extreme at times, but I still follow his lead
The father’s caution regarding money can sometimes be more. When we got hot in the summer or stayed in cheap motels, my mom used to say that her upbringing was just a deal. And that is. You can still see his face glowing whenever he gets something free or a deal. I am like that, but I love a fancy item every now and then.
A few years ago, when Covid hit, I was able to buy a tiny second home of my own in Upstate, New York; I primarily live in a cooperative in Brooklyn. It was tight, but I knew I had the tools to keep it going. I used that money carefully Savings for more than five years for down payment, I bought second-hand furniture from trusted companies to decorate it, and I took hand-me-downs and items from Buy Nothing sites and built a cozy home.
While not super easy, I try to cut costs and do what I can around the place – move furniture, paint and even build my own backyard. Many people will renovate the house right away, but I work around it. I learned that it’s far more fun to be creative than to shop from catalogs. When I’m not able to use it, I rent it to help with maintenance.
My father came to visit recently and together we repaired an old stool instead of getting another one. It turned out great. Never waste anything. I, too, are raised by a deal – and my life is rich for it.