Some people get a bit miffed by the term” tight arse” and see it as a put-down.
Last time I employed the word on SAHM, it had people up in arms declaring campaign. But me? I wear it as a badge of honour.
I’m not an ultra-frugal person … that takes a lot of self discipline and commitment to saving money that I merely don’t have. I can’t re-use teabags or live without air conditioning and heating. But at the end of the working day, I don’t like to spend more than I utterly have to.
There are lots of reasons people have for watching each dollar carefully. They might be saving for something large-hearted. They might not have a lot of fund and need to stretch it as far as they are able to. They might know what it’s like to have had no money and be saving for a rainy day. Or they might just like sticking it to “the man.”
For me, it’s probably the last two. My parents were always shatter, shatter, contravene. As in” let’s take your birthday money from your grandparents to pay for your mother’s pack-a-day cigarette habit and the electricity statute” kind of broke. True story. I’ve worked since I was 15 year olds, set myself through university, coughed up a lot of my hard-earned dosh every time’ the olds’ had yet another self-inflicted financial crisis. So, I know how bloody hard-boiled it is to earn money, and I don’t always like parting with it.
I am my grandmother’s grand-daughter
My late grandmother was a colossal tight arse, if the truth be told. She had grown up during the Depression and ever squirrelled away every last cent that she could. She knew all too well what it was like to have absolutely nothing, and she ever instilled in me the best interest of the a buck. She worked all her life, even when it wasn’t the norm for women to do so after is married and having kids, because she got a taste for giving her own fund during the second world war.
She still drawn attention to things in pre-decimal currency a lot of the time and she would say to me:” My father always told me that your own shilling is your own best friend”. By this, she necessitated saving whatever you could and not borrowing.
When I was about seven or eight she set up a bank account for me and we started putting money in it together. This was usually my tooth fairy and birthday fund, and a few bucks I got for doing duties for my grandparents. In the start, I belief she was just being a jerk induce me keep the money in the bank where I couldn’t spend it on Cabbage Patch Kids and scratch-n-sniff stickers, but the old girl taught me a lot about savings and I actually started to enjoy watching my money develop and would dream of all the possibilities I could invest it on.
I’ll never know how far that money would have gone, because after a while, my mother get breeze of it and helped herself. She said she’d paid in full back, but she never did. I was crushed and my grandmother was too. She decided that putting any more money in that account was going to see the same thing happen again and again. She was probably on to something.
Working for more than the weekend
My very first job at McDonald’s as a 15 -year-old deserved me a whopping $4.20 an hour. I speedily figured out, after I went nuts with my first few paltry pay-packets, that my blood, sweat and tears( all of these things, literally) didn’t run very far if I was just splurging it willy-nilly.
That teeny little television I put on lay-by when it was on special for $400( trust me, this was a bargain in 1992 money !) took almost 100 hours of burning my thumbs on a hamburger grill or removing pickles and their associated residue from windows to pay for.
So all those designer jeans and things that I had originally been coveted before I started working began to look like a big fat garbage of fund when I worked out how long I’d have to plod away paying it.
My next undertaking, a retail one when I was 17, paid a little better. Like almost nine bucks an hour, a relative fortune. I started saving and saving hoping to buy a vehicle or go overseas. You guessed it, that money I was amassing caught the attention of my mother and I intent up paying a lot of my family’s bills and even handed over hundreds of bucks so my younger siblings didn’t go without Christmas one year.
I developed quite resentful of working to get somewhere and then finding myself made massive guilt trips to persuade me to part with my money at every turn. When I started uni, I moved out of home. I ran two jobs, sometimes doing more than 40 hours a week, and did uni full period at the same time. I paid rent, have a car, even managed to do that overseas trip.
I knew what every dollar was worth. When I went out on the weekends with my friends, I evaded any nightclub with a “cover charge” like the plague and happy hour was my best friend. I finished my uni track, started a full-time job immediately and began a job, like people do, work towards various purposes. In my lawsuit, I craved more travelling, a residence, that sort of stuff.
Requests for money for things like” your 13 -year-old sister has run up a $1500 mobile phone bill talking to some random off the internet, can you give me the money and don’t tell your papa ?” would come through thick and fast, of course, as my earning ability increased. I learned to push back and start saying no. They started saying I was tight with my fund. I didn’t particularly care.
There’s legitimate charity, then there’s being milked dry by people with entitlement issues. I learned a big life lesson, and I won’t be forgetting it.
Everyone has impediments in life, and my husband and I have certainly had ups and downs. We’re not super rich by anyone’s standards, but we’re not struggling in the poor house either. We have those sorts of invoices that just about kill us crop up sometimes like everyone else does( hello, major vehicle mend or kid leaving the gate open so the dog flees and we get massive committee fines !) and “were having” occasions where we’re doing better than we expected.
But because I know how hard it is to come by money, and how easily it can go out again, I watch each dollar. I guess you could say old-time habits die hard.
I work out how to game supermarket rewards programs, look for specials in catalogues, store around, liken rates, even have a operating tally in my head( and my grandmother’s voice in there too) know what everything cost and when I’m being ripped off. I don’t buy flesh or fruit and veg at the supermarket if I can help it, I get better deals at the butcher and greengrocer. I buy material on special in bulk and freeze the bejesus out of everything. I buy generic labels. I get my husband, who is a mean negotiator, to haggle when we buy white-goods, automobiles, houses, electrical equipment and so on. I stockpile canned goods, toiletries and cleansing products like the zombie cataclysm is coming. I look for deals and specials to take the children on jaunts. I do all of that.
All of this material might simply save a few dollars here there are still, but to me, it’s better in my pocket than dedicating it to “the man”- in this instance the large-scale supermarket chains and other large corporations.
What I know is that I never, ever want to be in the situation where I have to attacked my children’ piggy banks because I couldn’t budget properly or couldn’t give up a pointless, selfish extravagance( like smoking,* cough cough *) and decided taking from my own kids was the better option.
My kids are my# 1 priority.
I have no intention of bungling them, and in fact, I try very hard to teach them the best interest of the a buck too. But I likewise make sure that they have family holidays. They have birthday parties. They should be permitted to do extra-curricular activities and play sport. I grew up without all of these things( well no family holidays from about the age of 9 anyway ). Like many mothers, I am working to give my children a high quality of life than the one I had.
So I make sure I penny pinch everywhere else too so they have a childhood full of the basic things I think are important for them to experience.
This is why I am a tight arse, and proud of it. I’ve earned my stripes, I’m allowed to own the name.
Read more: stayathomemum.com.au