Money Lessons from My Father

My birthday was yesterday, and if that weren’t enough reason to ponder the meaning of life, my dad
found out he has prostate cancer today.

Certainly makes it difficult to write about bills and saving money. In fact, I’m fighting myself from getting
the why-does-any-of-this-matter attitude.

I thought I’d note some of the things I’ve learned from my dad regarding money and finances.

If You Want Something Save for It

Which actually means, if you don’t have the money for it, you don’t get it. You save your money until you can afford it, not just pay for it. This means (much to my chagrin) that it is possible to actually save your money forever for fancy jeans and still not be able to buy them. After all, how can you drop all that money on those jeans when you still have a, b and c you need to save for?

A Job is a Job is a Job

My dad served in the military for 21 years and retired. Being a military brat, I know for a fact that the military isn’t an ideal occupation. I have a sneaky suspicion though, that my dad knew that working all of the hours and moving around and just enduring the military life would provide for his family. He also still works full time almost 17 years after “retiring”. He has never complained or whined. I think about this every time I want to quit my job. Especially on those days that someone could offer me a nickel to leave and I’d run singing Zippity Do Dah out of the office. Plain and simply, you do what you gotta do. And you don’t complain (which I’m working on).

Eat What the Hand that Feeds You Feeds You

This includes MRE’s sometimes. In case you aren’t familiar or privileged enough to have eaten them, MRE’s are the dried up pouches of food that the military eats. You add water and voila! Beef stew or Chicken Surprise. Not the tastiest, unless they’ve gotten better in the last 15 or so years. When the luck of the family budget crossed with the good fortune of having a case of MRE’s in the house, my parents decided that this is what we would eat. Believe it or not, no one died.

Research Before Buying

My dad is a researcher. Before he buys anything he shops and reads and investigates until he’s sure he’s a) getting the best deal and b) getting the best product. I’m sure it’s happened, but I can’t remember him ever buying a crappy or lemon-y product. Buy the right one once and not a whole bunch of bad stuff over and over again. If I had picked up on this, maybe I wouldn’t have purchased 3 cheap irons in the last year.

There are many, many more lessons I’ve learned from my dad; these are just a few. Don’t feel bad about the cancer, he’ll be fine. He’s too hard headed, strong and determined for anything like that to hold him back. Besides, considering the financial messes I’ve gotten myself in , I have a lot more to learn from him.

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 11, 2009 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    So sorry to hear about your dad — I hope that they have found it early enough that he will be able to have treatment be sucessful for him.

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