Last weekend, we found a Shop-Vac on the side of the road. It seemed to be in good condition, and all the parts were there, so we took it home. We tested it when we got home, and it worked! Part of me wonders if I should feel embarrassed for picking something up off the curb, but I actually feel proud of myself when I find cool stuff for free. We wanted to buy a Shop-Vac anyway, and now we don’t have to!

Ever since my husband and I got married, we have talked a lot about money. We’ve talked about what we can and can’t afford, now and in the future, for every possible scenario. I’m a big picture person and  a major planner, so I like to think of many different situations and prepare for each one. Is that crazy?

Now, we are preparing for the biggest purchase of our lives so far – a house. The amount of money a house costs is so vast that my mind can barely comprehend it. That’s because I’m not used to spending my money. I have never been in debt, which is, apparently, very unusual for someone my age. This is in part due to generous relatives, but it’s also due to my extreme frugality. Almost everything I own is a hand-me-down or purchased second hand. I even own some (more) things I picked up off the side of the road! After our wedding, I owned more brand new items than I’ve ever had at one time!

I am not in poverty, so why do I live this way? I went shopping and out to eat a lot more in college, because it was fun to live in a big city and go out with friends. Since I’ve been on my own though, I’ve become more stingy with my money. That’s because, someday, I might not have it anymore. I always have this mindset that someday, I will fall on hard times. Maybe it’s because I grew up poor, that I think it’s inevitable that I’ll be poor again. I spend my money like a poor person. I weigh every little purchase before I make it to be sure that it’s absolutely necessary. Spending a large amount of money is very stressful for me, so I avoid it. For all my scrimping and saving, I am still not anywhere near rich. But I am in a place where I can think about buying a house, so that’s something to be proud of. I only hope that someday I won’t need to worry about money anymore.