Growing up, my somewhat large family didn’t have much money. We always had food, clothing and shelter (though the shelter was usually Naval housing – no mortgage or rent) and rarely did I go hungry. My parents always managed to provide a nice Christmas for us. But things were still pretty tight.
As I got older and started earning my own way, finally leaving the nest for good at the ripe old age of 26 (though I had tried twice before – for various reasons, it didn’t take), I still had a tough time with money. I’d never earned very much of it – at least compared to what was needed to live in Los Angeles – and wasn’t very good at managing it. Spending the last half of my 30s being laid off from various jobs thanks to the economy certainly didn’t help much.
Now that I’m making a decent living, finally I seem to be able to have a grasp of my finances. It’s still a struggle, but it’s a struggle I feel like I’m winning. At last. And because I’ve got a toehold in the world of responsible money handling, I was recently able to buy a couple of bags of groceries for a local holiday food drive. I didn’t spend much (I still instinctively go for the good deal), but it was enough to help a local family in need for a few days. Sometimes all a family needs is a bridge for a couple of days until their income source comes through. I’m happy I could help in some small way. And I’m grateful that I could spare those few dollars to help.