I tire of politicians saying the middle class is shrinking. We aren’t shrinking we just need to use what money we have more efficiently. I am a product of the middle class and while I always thought we were lower middle class I was wrong when I saw what my folks had acquired upon my father’s demise.
While growing up in that household was never easy it taught me many lessons which got me through single parenthood unscathed. I was able to start an IRA and keep putting pennies in it regardless of how broke I was. And good thing I did as when I got sick no one offered a cent.
The first lesson is to be cheap. Use coupons, credit cards with points, eat and stay at places that you can afford. Think before you purchase the designer stuff. Do you need something that is going to last a life time? Actually, you get sick of it and want something different.
I always wanted an Aigner bag. Everyone in high school had one but me. Yes, I was an outsider but when I started making money that was the first thing I bought myself. I used it for 20 years and got sick of it and gave it away. Now I’m sure someone else is enjoying it or a hoarder has it in their storage bin.
While nursing I heard of nursing students with $160,000. worth of loans in their second year of college with two years to go. No one is going to be able to pay that off until they are in their 50’s so why do it. I recall Michelle and Barack Obama didn’t pay off their student loans until his second presidential term. Who wants that?
Learn to live within your limits. If you can’t go on the big vacation plan short trips around where you live. I remember when I was forced to take a week’s vacation or lose it. I had a delightful time seeing every historical house within an hour of my Albany home. It was fascinating and something I had always wanted to do but never done and I still recall that vacation fondly.
Don’t deny yourself. If you can’t afford it find another way to go and do something else. Starbucks daily is a bit pricy and as Suze Orman says put that money in a retirement account and yes, she is right but still go once a week if you love it.
So, consider these tidbits. I have gobs more and if I can do it, you can too!