It has recently come to my attention that I seem to portray myself as poor (although from all those dinners I went to in the summer, it seems hard to believe).
I'll be honest; when I was growing up, I was, by definition, poor.
I lived in a rough neighbourhood, in a crappy building and didn't always have food on my plate. The clothes on my back were either ten sizes too big for me or five sizes too small, simply because it was cheaper to buy clothes that I would grow into (or keep the clothes that I grew out of) than to buy me a whole new wardrobe every year.
My dad (who I saw on weekends) did his absolute best to financially support me. Unfortunately, my mom wasn't always honest with him with what she was spending the money that he gave her on. When the money should have been going towards new clothes for me, it was going to other things.
Things weren't always easy.
But, that's my past.
When I was 15, I got my first job. Since then, I've never been unemployed.
Working gave me a sense of responsibility. Purchasing something with money that I earned gave me a whole new appreciation on life. The first time I paid a bill, I was giddy. Simply because I was proud of myself for being able to pay for a cellphone bill, by myself, at the age of 15. With that sense of pride, I realised it was more important for me to save my money than to spend it on frivolous purchases. While my friends were spending their part-time job money on designer clothes, I was wearing no-name brands and saving up for school.
At 20, I moved out and started paying rent and other bills on my own.
At 23, I graduated from a four-year program and paid off my student loans a month later.
I'm now 26, debt-free and well on my way to being able to afford a home.
I would not be where I am now if I didn't believe in the importance of saving my money. Even though I have a full-time job now, I still don't wear designer labels. I almost never make a purchase if the item isn't on sale. I use coupons as much as possible. I never order the most expensive item on the menu and try to limit how much I drink; not only for the health benefits but because alcohol is the most overpriced thing you could purchase at a pub/restaurant.
If I'm saving up for a vacation/big purchase, I'm not afraid to say no when being invited out.
The bad habit I have is that I tell people, "I can't afford to."
I'm wrong. I can afford to. Just, at the moment, I do not think it would be financially wise for me to go out - when I'm not saving up for something, I would be happy to join you.
As such, I apologise to anyone who I've given the wrong impression to by saying, "I can't afford to."
What I'm not going to apologise for is using coupons and looking for deals.
Groupon has saved me a ton of money. As have coupons. It doesn't make sense to me to pay full-price for something when I don't have to. So, if to you, that means I'm poor, so be it. But, I'm not poor. I'm cheap. I'm so cheap that I'm laughing all the way to the bank.
Are you afraid of using coupons because people can be judgmental?
How do you save your money?