Yesterday I asked if anyone had any memorable stories of being completely broke, and here’s our first reply!
Although when I was younger I was very conservative with my money. I spent money on what I needed to but didn’t spend it frivolously like most of my friends my age. I had a greater understanding of money as I used to deliver papers and work at the age of 13 at a local ice-cream shop. That was the first time I was exposed to working hard for my money and it was nothing even comparable to cleaning my room or helping my mother wash the dishes. I had a work culture shock to say the least at the age of 13, in grade 9 just entering high school.
Although co-op placements were available in High School it wasn’t until you were in Grade 12 and had an idea of what you might want to do with your life. You would at that point be exposed to working for nothing (volunteering) for credit hours. I was never involved with this program but it certainly is something that would help teenagers before they get their first real job other than a paper route.
When I moved away to College I had saved as much money as I could, bought my first car (a pony) for cash and off I went. I knew nothing about renting an apartment but I rented one for a whopping $750.00 a month including utilities. Sounds pretty good for a 1 bedroom but keep in mind this was 20 years ago. Coming from a small city to the big city my parents and I simply thought this was the way of life out here-Expensive. Looking back I realize, what the heck was I thinking. I was living the life of a princess and didn’t even know it. I did think it was kinda cool that my apartment was brand new and in a great area of town.
Once school had started my Osap (Ontario Student Loan) started to run, and it ran pretty fast. I only had around $7000.00 for the 12 month lease I signed (oops). I had no budget and didn’t even know what one was to be honest. As you can clearly see with no job $7000.00 was not going to last me 12 months. My car went home after 2 months of school as I couldn’t afford it so I took the bus and walked everywhere.
I did make a great friend who lived at home and went to college with me who had a car. She became my best friend, still is today.
The money didn’t last long within months I had run out and my bank was void of any money $0.00 to be exact.
I was away from home for the first time, lonely and met some new friends along the way. In my first year of College back home I worked part-time so that kept me busy and out of trouble. I gave in to temptation while away in my second year even though I had learned at a young age that money was very important.
I was always a saver, never spent money and my family thought I would be someone successful, that or grow old with a money stash under my bed. That all changed for a brief 9 months of my life. Stress of life can grab you when you least expect it, I’ve learned to stay grounded now.
I was going out partying, drinking, eating out, and buying clothes. I also smoked at the time and cigarettes were $7-$8 a pack. There was no internet, but I did have to pay for cable and my phone. I ended up cutting the cable and was left with a home phone bill. The cell phones at that time were those huge chunky phones in a box for the car. Well no car=no cell=no payment, thank goodness for that.
I started to realize I had to cut things out because I had no money. I even recall taking home toilet paper from the bathroom stalls at College because I had none. I would bunch it in my backpack just to get me through. I mean I did pay for my education, didn’t I?