Welcome to a Week of Stories
Posted by Gail | Filed under This & That
On June 18th I asked you to submit your stories (150-350 words) about your experience with money for a chance to win free copies of The Gail Way and a free copy of a Gail book. This week from Monday to Thursday, I’ll be posting the stories I chose for you to read and vote on. Whoever gets the most votes each day will win a free copy of The Gail Way. Tell your friends and family to come read your stories and vote for you. Tweet the contest. Put it on your Facebook page. Remember, whoever gets the most number of votes wins The Gail Way package and a chance to be entered for the book. On Monday July 16 I’ll repost the most popular stories and the person who gets the most votes will win a copy of a Gail book, winner’s choice.
#1 Annabelle F:
My father always used to enter the lottery with his co-workers and, when I was 11, they actually won! I’m not sure how much they won altogether, but I do know that my father gave each of my sisters and me $1000. Bear in mind I was 11 at this time, and had never had money like this in my life.
My older sisters, who were always much more sensible than me, put their money into their bank accounts. But me? $1000 in the hands of a burgeoning shopaholic? So much candy! Archie comics! Chocolate bars! Bubble gum! And more Archie comics!
Within a month or two, I had blown through all of my share of the lottery earnings. My parents were surprised to find out the money was all gone, and why wouldn’t they be? They’d always been very responsible with their money and had raised me to carefully keep track of my expenses – which I had, recording each candy bar and bag of chips I had bought for myself and my friends over that two-month period.
[In my defense, the stores had just started doing that evil genius thing where it was slightly cheaper per bar to buy chocolate bars in pairs of two. I figured that by buying two, I was saving money, at least a little]
Now, twenty years later, I get my Archie comics from the library now, which saves money while allowing me to keep up with the Riverdale gang. While it was fun, feeling like an 11-year-old big spender, it also helps me put my current spending into perspective. Do I really want to act the same way I did when I was 11 and didn’t know any better? Hell, no! It’s a fun memory, although I do wish I could jump into a time machine and wrangle that $1000 back from my childhood self and put it towards my current credit card debt!
#2 Terry L:
I have been a banker for over 35 years, now coming to the end of my career and retiring. I want you to know that I adopted your thinking when I first saw your Till Debt Do Us Part about five years ago. I was never one for shoving the product of the day onto customers as a rule, but after your shows I changed my whole religion when it came to money and lending. I started using the jars and the binder myself, and still use cash for almost everything. When my clients came in to the apply for consolidation loans, they didn’t just get the loan, they got a whole lifestyle change. When my clients came in to see if they could get a mortgage, especially those with very little behind them, I sent them away and asked them to live on a budget incorporating a mortgage payment for 6 months if possible, that way they weren’t shocked by the payments and ultimately had more money down or as a cushion before they took the plunge into the housing market. Visa limits of $25,000 are crazy, and are not a status symbol, nor is having 10 different credit cards, unless you’re going to use them to line your pool. You are the Queen of Money Logic, but I am for sure one of your ladies in waiting.
#3 Brandy R:
I live in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, and like many people I have a personal debt story. I was 19 years old when I first received my first credit card, it seemed to me like free money; however I had zero understanding how repayments went – or even how interest worked. It seemed to me, every week I had new clothes, new things, new presents for friends, and I was always treating myself to the spa. It seemed to me during that time in my life I was receiving offers left and right for credit cards. Every time I would walk into a department store, I was always asked if I wanted to sign up for a new card and receive 30% off my bill. Being young and delirious, I took the offers, and I ended up with more debt then I could handle. By the time I hit my mid 20’s, I had close to 20, 000.00 worth the personal debt. Most of the debt was from credit cards and my student loan; however by the time I hit 25 years old, I had too much debt to handle, and one card actually went into collections after me being careless. I had 5 credit cards and one student loan. When one of my debts went to collections, you came into my life, and I paid off the collection debt within 6.5 months; which in grand total was almost 4,000.00. After the constant battle with the collection company about wanting to have more payments than I could make, I knew I never wanted to go through that experience ever again. I never understood why 500.00 a month wasn’t enough for them. Maybe it’s the way they are trained? One night after watching “Princess”, I decided to write down all my debt, pay them off, and live with the motto, “If you don’t have it, you don’t spend it.” I vowed to never use my credit card for stupid purchases and to immediately put the money back within 30 days if I absolutely needed to use it.
As of today, I have my student loan and only my Visa to take care of. I closed every other card, I paid them ALL off, and I learned a valuable lesson from my awful experience. I will only ever have one credit card and I hope I am never in a position of defeat again. Having debt is like being claustrophobic. Your knowledge you have given me from all of your television shows has brought joy to my life – I now know I will never be a victim of stupid spending ever again.
Regardless if I win a prize or not, I wanted to let you know that your exceptional knowledge has helped me, and I am forever grateful for your information.
#4 Jeremy C:
My Money Story begins a year ago. I always did fine with money until I got sick and ended up having to take time off work… A total of 6 months… I was living on my own and rent was 900$ a month. That doesn’t include all my other bills. I was struggling and digging deeper and deeper in debt. I racked up 8000 on my credit card just to get by.
The money situation was just making me more stressed and more sick. My partner and I decided to move in together, and he took out a line of credit and Paid off all my debt(except my student loan of course). I owed him just under 10 000$… because of the load of stress that was gone, and him not asking for interest in return, I was able to make it back to work… just part time, but it was a start… I lived here rent free until I was able to make money again… I started paying him back in february 2012… The more I paid him back, the better I started to feel and more I was able to work.. I am back to full time. My goal was to pay him back 1000 in february, And along with taking clients on the side and my paycheck, I was able to repay 2100 in the first month, as well as keep up to date with my bills… I have been paying him back every paycheck since, And I just owe him 4000$ now, and I will continue to repay him until my debt is gone, which I’m expecting to be done before 2013!!…
#5 Sal K:
I was born near Mexico City. My parents were teachers and made a modest salary that was more than adequate for our needs. However, I was envious of my cousins, whose father was a V.P. in a large international company. They got to drink soda every day, go to the beach every year and stay at 4 star hotels. I wanted money to spend like that.
When I would go to the city and see the shanty towns or the streets lined with families of beggars, I wanted to help them and give them whatever money I had. Sadly, my mom would discourage me from that. I wanted to have money I could give away.
When I was 8, my parents divorced and my mom moved us to the U.S. She was a grad student making $11k/year in the early 90s. We dove into dumps to collect aluminum cans to recycle and had a 4 am paper route. I worked at the school cafeteria to pay for my meals. I learned the value of hard work.
My mom never talked to us about money. She secretly got our clothes from Goodwill, paid for dozens of extra-curricular activities, and gave us a more luxurious lifestyle than we could really afford by sacrificing her savings. We often had to deal with declined credit cards at the grocery store. Though I worked throughout high school, I had no savings when I went to college. Following my mom’s example, I spent it all.
My husband’s financial upbringing was the opposite. His family didn’t use credit, believing in saving for what you wanted. Wanting to be more like his family and less like mine, we live below our means. It is hard when we have kids who have friends that seem to get everything. But we know we are doing the right thing. We have no debt besides our mortgage (which will be paid off in 5 years), a good emergency fund, and we know we will be okay to retire. We hope we can give an even better financial literacy legacy to our children.
#6 Sarah H:
Here is the story of how my friend and I had an awesome karaoke birthday party for $15 a week each. In September 2011 my friend and I decided that as our 40th birthdays were both in March, we should have a combined party. We started with a guest list and the numbers climbed to 120 at one stage! Once we had that we looked at venues and food and budget. We bought a voucher for finger food catering and booked a local hall (at a discount because my friend is a Rotarian)
Now the fun started! I had always wanted to have an alcoholic slushie machine, an ice cream cake, a lolly buffet. I wanted face painting but my friend said no….party pooper
We had our budget, we knew what we wanted for food, decorations, alcohol and so I set out to save $15- a week so when the party came around I wouldn’t have to stump up too much money. My friend decided to wait and take the money out of her mortgage….
She soon changed her mind and I was so proud to see her putting away $15- a week for six months. As the party neared we worked out we had to put in $200 each to top up the fund.
So for not a lot of money we had:
- 85 guests
- Lolly Buffet with 10 different types of lollies
- Finger food hot food
- Sushi and other platters
- Make your own hot dog bar
- Make your own prawn cocktail bar
- Alcoholic slushie machine with two different flavours
- Soft drinks, juice and water
- An ice cream cake with our picture on it
- Decorations for the tables and balloons for the hall
- Hall hire
We had a karaoke party, and my brother’s best friend had equipment so he donated that and his time for free. My father designed the invitations for free as well.
We had such a good night, the best party ever!
Vote for your favourite story in the comments section by including the # and name for the post you enjoyed most on today’s blog. The story that gets the most votes will win a copy of The Gail Way and have their story entered into next Monday’s Vote-Off. Monday’s winner will receive a Gail book of their choice. Good luck everyone! I thoroughly enjoyed your wonderful stories.