Throughout my life, I have come into hard times. Fortunately, I was blessed with different opportunities and a hint of resourcefulness which would see me through. Times were especially tough when I decided I could "make it on my own" at 17.
I remember being given pieces of furniture from various sources which amounted to one very colourful apartment. An orange and brown couch, a black spray painted table and chairs set, mixed end tables and a mattress on the floor as my bedroom suite. Hey- this is not a pity party here. It is fact. I chose this life. I lived it. I managed to turn out okay. I lived on $450 each month and my rent was $350. I had $100 to pay for groceries and everything else. I did it though!! I didn't starve either. I was very good with my money. I stretched it far. I continued to finish my high school education and work part-time at Beaver Lumber.
Through the years, after college, my income increased. I became somewhat of an over-indulger in that I had gone without stuff for so long that I often bought way too many toiletries, perfumes and home decor that I didn't have the room for it all! I used to give it away to those who were in similar situations I had been in. I was "paying it forward" in some respects- giving to those who were in need just like I was.
I remember my sister saying "Don't count on money that you don't have." It was good advice. I used to buy furniture or at least pick it out long before my income tax return would be completed. This habit only lasted so long before it blew up in my face and I had outstanding purchases but no income tax credit that year. I also stopped stretching my dollars like I used to and I took for granted that I suddenly had money in my pocket.
One year, my contract never got renewed at work. We had lost some funding. I was not only devastated, I was out of a job. Hence, no savings to count on. Nothing. I took on three jobs and times were tough again.
On one desperate day, I was sitting at the gas station filling up. I was handed the change- my last ten and went to put it in my wallet. It fell through the crack of my window and down into the door. I began to sweat. I raced home and got a screw driver out and tried to take the door apart. I had no money left. To no avail, the door would not come apart. I had to borrow money instead.
Years would pass and I forgot about that day. It came time to sell my jeep and I took one last look and remembered the door! I was determined this time to get that money in the door as a souvenir and as a reminder to be wise with my money.
Last year when we bought our first house, I brought out my "last ten" and shared the story with my husband. I was almost tempted to display it in the front hall but it is very worn and weathered looking. Instead, I hung up an engraved stone that says "BELIEVE".
My husband often remarks that when we are looking through the fridge for something to eat, that we always have this many options to choose from. We remain humble people who try not to ever take anything for granted.