Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I'm a born saver & love to hustle

I was born a saver and I love to hustle. For some strange reason that I cannot explain, I've always liked having money. I've always enjoyed being independent, especially financially. If I wanted something, I worked for it and saved up my money until I could afford to buy it. I always had nice things and I always had money. My friends couldn't understand how I always ended up having money, when I shopped so much. I didn't just shop, I dined out at fancy restaurants all the time too.

It's quite simple. I never spent all of my money. I always saved some. The difference between them and me is, I worked at whatever odd jobs I could. I didn't just waste my time hanging out with friends. I was always looking for new ways to earn and save money. When I was around 10 years old, I opened my first bank account. An account I had until I moved here as an adult. I saw a flyer for new bank account (banks were few and far between back then. I don't even think my parents had a bank account when I opened one) at my next door neighbor's house, I asked if I could have it. She said yes, so I completed the application, asked my dad to sign it (of course I was a and marched to the bank with my application and R5 (Rand is SA currency) deposit. Back in the 80s it was still worth quite a bit. Once I got my ATM card, I deposited R5 into my account every week and watched my money grow.

My parents gave us a small allowance. I always spent my allowance on beauty products, teen magazines (I'm a girly girl) and chocolates (my weakness). However, I always made money on the side. Another neighbor had taught me to crochet. So I bought some wool, crocheted doilies sets and sold them for a profit. Bought more wool and the rest of the profits got saved. Another neighbor worked at a factory that made plush toys. She's bring bags of plush home every night, that needed to have the outer edges trimmed. So her kids and I would sit and trim all those toys after dinner every night. We got 7c per plush, but I was just happy to make extra cash.

Then my dad (who worked at a factory that made sleepwear and undies for high end department stores) would purchase bulk items every month from their factory shop. He got an employee discount, so he'd pay for the items and I would sell them to friends. We'd split the profit in half. I had my regular customers. Some of those customers also turned into my hair clients. I used to blow dry people's hair right at their homes. I was armed with my professional (salon type)blow dryer and brushes and had scheduled appointments every weekend. I was cheaper than the salon and nobody had to leave their homes to get their hair styled. My BFFs parents owned a hair salon and I had worked there one summer. So I learned a few tricks and people always commented on how nicely my hair was always styled. When I told them that I do my own hair, they ended up requesting my services. That's how my hair business grew. I would cut people's grass, wash their windows, do whatever I could to make extra money. I loved to work and I loved making money - I still do :)

We didn't have fast food places or many restaurants in SA, so part time jobs were scarce. Then when I was in college, my Accounting lecturer asked me to become a tutor. Not to one person, but to a full classroom. So every day, I taught accounting to a classroom full of college students, during my lunch break. Then after classes ended, I also did typing for lecturers at other departments (our head of Department asked me to do this job). So I was making more money per hour than my dad did at his full time job. Weekends were spent working at a video store. I would go 48 hours without sleep (I can't even keep my eyes open after 10pm these, because Friday and Saturday nights were spent partying with my BFFs.

When I did my internship at one of the worlds top Accounting firms, I was offered a full time job as a secretary. A secretary to 2 of the firm's partners was leaving and the person I was working for in Auditing, recommended me for the job. Who could pass up a job at one of the Big 5? (CPAs will know what the Big 5 is). This was before I had even graduated. The company offered to allow me to go to classes half day and work in the afternoon, until I graduated. I also had 2 other full time job offers from big companies, which I declined. After a year at this firm, my boss recommended me for a Personal Assistant to the CEO position at a major client of ours. More money and better perks. I had more jobs, but I won't bore you with the details. My last job was as an Assistant Accountant.

The point is that I always worked. And while I worked, I always saved. Somewhere along the line, I had opened another bank account. So every month, I would deposit 15% of my salary into that account. When I had DS, I was a single parent. When he was exactly a week old, I made the trek to the bank and opened an account for him. At payday every month, I would transfer funds into his account too.

At the office, I kept piggy banks. I sorted my coins by denomination and saved my change for DS and my 2 nephews. DS's money went into his account and the nephews got theirs at Christmas. While I was a single parent, I also supported my entire family of 6 (including DS and myself), but I still managed to save. Long story.

So you will notice that I have lots of different savings earmarked for different things. I like doing this, it's fun to see how much and how fast I can save for certain things. I will admit that I wasn't always financially responsible. I loved to spend. I made very good money, so I lived the high life. And even though I saved, I wasted a considerable amount of money too.

I still have a retirement account in SA. I never closed it when I moved. Although I haven't contributed anything towards it since, the money has grown considerably over the years, so I'm glad I didn't cash out back then.

I love to save. I love to watch my money grow. Don't be fooled by my spending habits. I certainly know what I'm doing when it comes to spending. I still like nice things, but I'm a lot more responsible about what I buy and how much I spend on it. As you've seen thus far, I've made more money selling our old stuff than I spent splurging.

Do you just save because it's something you have to do or do you save because it's something you enjoy and have become part of your lifestyle?

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