Breaking Out of Miser-dom
by Alina Wilson
The iPhone I wanted cost nearly $1,000. I knew nothing about it except that all of my friends had one… and I wanted one. Seventh grade was only days away, and I knew all my friends would have at least a 4s. For most kids in my grade, iPhones grew on trees; it was private school after all. My parents “didn’t believe in that stuff,” so I’d need a game plan. After giving my mom half of all my money (which I’d been saving since the beginning of time), giving a presentation on the benefits of giving me a phone, begging my parents, and agreeing that my phone would be my only birthday gift; I finally had one. Nothing depressed me more than handing over that stacks of ones and fives to my mother.
When I was a kid, I never spent any money. Ever. I always found a way to finagle my parents into buying me things I wanted it. If that didn’t work, I simply didn’t buy said item. All the while, I collected my allowance and birthday money and filled up my little bright blue bumble-bee wallet and deposited thick stacks into my savings account. I swear I didn’t spend my own money until last year. My face proudly accompanied the dictionary definition of “miser.”
When I reached high school, I entered a whole new world. Junior year, students could go off campus to buy food. My allowance increased, but my reluctance to spend money was unwavering. Unfortunately, junior Lina wanted to go out to lunch with her friends. Most days, I spent my lunch hour studying or meeting with teachers and eating food I made at home, but on those days that I went out to eat with my friends, I was finally forced to open my wallet. This was very hard for me. I knew how to save, but I knew nothing about how to spend. For example, if my allowance was only $20, could I even afford to eat out everyday? Could I buy the nice accessories that my friends all had? I had no idea. The last time I had spent money was literally buying my iPhone in 7th grade.
Needless to say, I still haven’t mastered spending or budgeting. College looms only a year away, so I suppose I need to work on it. I still hate spending, but I’m learning that refusing to spend can be as debilitating as refusing to save. So, pray for this poor miser. Pray that I find a happy balance between spending and saving.