When my family came to the US back in the 1980’s, my parents came here with nothing, except clothes and warm blankets. My parents anticipated that the first 5 years in the US were going to be hard for our family, and they knew every penny they earned will be used for food and shelter. They spent their every last dollar back home buying children’s clothes and blankets to prepare the family living in a foreign country. I, being the youngest and only girl, had to wear hand me downs from my two brothers when I was in elementary and middle school. For five years I lived with no new clothes, no toys and no spending money, so I know what it means to be poor. One memory that is forever etched in my mind is the time when the sole of my shoe fell off, and my mom used super glue to glue it back on. Needless to say it did not stayed on long, and the shoe became so smelly that I was extremely embarrassed to go to school.
I knew at a very young age if I want any luxury items in my life, I would have to work hard for it on my own. But I also know I am very lucky that I could count on my parents for the basic needs in life such as love, food and shelter. I went to work at the age of 14, and except for the first three years after i was diagnosed with Lupus in my senior year of high school, I have worked all my adult life. Having to give up weekends to work in my teenage years, I learned the value of a dollar very quickly.
I have been frugal all my life and I have the discipline of not purchasing any large items on impulse. To this day I would still spend weeks, if not months, analyzing and asking friends’ and family members’ opinion before I buy anything over $200. I believe in “minimalism” and “eliminating materialistic desire” from my life. I have not been practicing this believe consistently but I have been trying in various areas of my life. I am a work in progress and I hope to achieve what I preach in the near future. I will go into more details on how I have been practicing minimalism in future posts.
One example is… I have not bought a computer since I started my full time job. I mainly use work computers to do all my personal work. In high school I bought a second hand IBM486(?) for $200 for writing and printing school papers. In college my brother bought me a laptop and an ex boyfriend gave me his old computer for school work. I have often been the butt of my friends’ and co-workers’ jokes how I work in hi-tech, but does not live a very hi-tech lifestyle. I am not one to chase after the latest and greatest gadgets or brand names out there. I also believe in the saying “If ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Lets see who will have the last laugh when I retire in 15 years while most of my friends are still slaving away at work and worrying about their retirement.
Here is an interesting read: