i don’t know if we were considered rich. some might have thought that. i was never given the impression that i could just have anything i ever wanted. it was a strict household.
but i distinctly remember some feelings that perhaps make me sound like a snob.
in my first year of university, i had my first boyfriend. he came from a thrifty background. one where every coupon was valued. every discount sought.
i remember this one evening, we purchased take out and i was both mortified and embarrassed when he asked the guy on the phone for a 10% discount to our chinese take out. The meal cost like, $7. maybe i was not used to bargaining. i didn’t understand the joy of saving money. i didn’t know the value of it.
in my life, i was taught that some things can’t be bought. you go everywhere, one shop to another, chasing the better deal – but you lose time. and time is gold. that is what my mother taught me.
with this first boyfriend, when we envisioned life together – it was one where i learnt his vision of our life together was that we would never go anywhere. we wouldn’t own a car. we would take public transit, always. we would rent out every spare room of the house. we would save every coupon. no vacation. no extravagances.
i remember how depressed he looked when i wanted to go out, just me and him, for a quiet drink and dessert on the night of my birthday. we did go out and do just that. he was depressed the whole way through. i didn’t know what to do. it meant a lot to me that he came out. we had been together four years at that time.
it wasn’t what i was used to. and to be fair to him – it wasn’t what he was used to either. i’m not sure if we could have compromised for long term. we didn’t see this friction as a problem. the idea of a “problem” in this relationship didn’t ever really surface. it was just – some strain that needed to be dealt with.
and then. we ended.
as i grew older and began to experience the hardships of earning and saving, i still had an expectation of a certain standard of living.
so when i asked a close friend of mine for some advice on how to save before i moved out with him, she gave a list that was… i guess, understandably unappealing. go figure right. how do you save money? you never shop, you don’t pay memberships, you find things for free, you volunteer to get into things for free (this i do enjoy), you swap clothes with your friends. you don’t go out, you don’t eat out. (and as a side note, she sent a follow up email that added “don’t have kids” to the list.) (she was only half joking.)
it makes sense.
but i was somehow relieved when i sent this list to him and he didn’t think our life needed to be that stringent. he is thrifty himself. but he does spend (after a thorough researching exercise on the best online deal). but he read it and was like, wow. life is going to be pretty rough like this. i was relieved.
we are still having a very comfortable world together as of right now.
maybe the next push will be when a baby steps into the picture.