I thought that I would continue the trend that FB started on her blog Fabulously Broke in the City and discuss my childhood from a financial perspective.
As a kid, I would say that my family was not poor, by any means, but we were not exactly "well off" either. My dad worked in the automotive industry, which was a good thing back then. Once I was born my mom decided to be a stay at home mom, so we lived off one income for a long time. My parents moved to a small town after I was born, not wanting to raise their kids in the city. My dad continued to keep his job in the city so he was a commuter.
I'm not sure exactly how much my dad made per year, I would guess somewhere in the $40-$50K range. My family was not like other kids families I thought, we didn't go to florida on march break or any kind of trip like that, but I was was able to go on those extended school trips to camp in grade 6 and a grad trip to the states in grade 12. My parents paid for those.
If my parents had any huge money problems, I didn't really know about them. If I wanted a new toy or gadget, and my mom didnt have the money, she would frequently say to me "I dont have the money for that." Yet I remember wondering, from a young age, if she didnt have money to buy me a new toy, how did she have money for cigarettes? LOL I used to ask her this a lot.
I got my first job at 15 at a restaurant. When I was 16 I got a cell phone for my birthday. My parents paid the initial fee for the phone/set up etc, but I paid my own monthly bills. Since I had my own job I started paying for my own clothes, going out etc. My mom might give me money here and there for new clothes when school started and new school supplies, but other that that I paid for all my own clothes.
When I was in grade 11 I got a job that actually paid minimum wage (the restuarant job paid less than minimum which is tradition) and had more hours. This is when I started saving for college. I did not save that much, maybe like $1500.
When I went to college, my first year tuition was paid for by money that my grandparents had put away for me when I was born. My parents agreed to pay my rent for my first year. So when I got to school, I basically started living off of this small amount that I had saved. This of course didnt last that long. I ended up getting a part time job around October of that year. I hated it! I found it difficult to juggle work and school. I actually lost weight because I had to walk a bit of a hike to school, and to work as well. On days when I had school AND work, I did a lot of walking and not too much eating, which is why I lost weight that first year. Anyways..I ended up quitting that job. I didnt know what I was going to do for money, but after one day when I got up at 6:30 for my 8am class, having worked until 11:30 the night before, and telling myself I needed more sleep, I skipped class. This was a bit of a sign to me that I could not handle it. Yes, I could of just requested less hours or something..but I just quit.
After I quit I learned about this thing called a bursary! LOL Basically, you get this form from school, fill it out listing your income/expenses, and if they think you need money you could get up to $1000 free! So I ended up getting $800 and I basically lived off that from January until April. (with my parents still paying my rent).
For my second year I applied for OSAP (student loan program in Ontario). I also ended up getting a part time job in my second year. This job paid more than minimum wage, and the hours were a bit more desirable. I got this job after Christmas in my 2nd yr and kept that job until the summer time. After we were done school for good, I got a place with my best friend from college, and that lasted about 6 months. Eventually we both just felt we were not in a good place financially and it would be in our best interests to move back in with our parents.
That was about 2 years ago and I still live with my parents. This has worked out well for me so far, aside from the whole being annoyed with my family from time to time. My parents asked me to pay rent to help out a bit so I pay $200 a month. This is a good bargain considering a one bedroom around here goes for around $800 average. I don't really have to buy my own food or anything, but I do buy some groceries from time to time that I intend to use for my meals at work. I get a ride to work every day, which I have to admit I am spoiled in that sense. But my work is really close to my house so its not like its a huge chore.
Since I work full time and pay a low rent, I am able to pay down my student loan in a more aggresive manner. My student loan and my cell phone are the only bills I have, since I do not have a car. I do not have any credit card debt. When I first moved back in with my family, I wasnt really looking forward to it. But now I am glad that I did, because I am so close to being debt free.
I feel that I am doing pretty good compared to other people my age that I know. I had a lot less student loan debt to start with, since I only got it for one year of school. Most people I knew came out of school with atleast $20,000 in debt. I have a good amount of money in savings, and I plan on starting an RRSP within the next few months. I am hoping to live on my own within the next 2 years. I am also hoping to get a better paying job within that time as well, and I also plan to get a car within a year from now.
So that is pretty much my financial story. I wouldnt say that I was handed everything like some other kids, but I didnt have to save every penny for school either. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. My parents are now in worse financial shape than ever (my dad worked in the automotive industry, remember?..so yeah). Now more than ever I am determined to be smart with my money and save for the future, because as much as I love my parents, I don't want to end up in the same financial shape as them.