This is a guest post from Jana at Daily Money Shot. DMS is a personal finance blog discussing money, family, relationships, pop culture and everything in between. For more DMS action, follow Jana on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
I recently turned 35. I’m not upset or ashamed of my age (although I am a bit confused at how I got to be 35 considering I feel like I was 14 yesterday); in fact, I think it’s kind of a good age. Being in your mid-30s allows you a sort of freedom that you don’t have at 25. You have the freedom to act carefree and young yet at the same time, if you want to act like a grouchy old man, you can. It’s also a time when you stop feeling embarrassed or ashamed of anything (except for the occasional zit that sprouts on your face. Seriously, why does that still happen?), particularly when it comes to certain aspects of your finances.
I’m the first one to admit that my savings are paltry and my retirement fund leaves a lot to be desired. But that’s okay. I’m working on it. And I refuse to let anyone make me feel inferior about my money simply because I haven’t met a certain benchmark. After all, I’m the one that has to live with my income.
To that end, here are a few other parts of my financial life where I refuse to feel ashamed:
- Accepting hand-me-downs. Particularly with kids’ clothes. I find hand-me-downs to be a lifesaver (not to mention a money saver). Kids’ clothes are pretty expensive and when someone passes down clothes to me, I actually hug them. It’s such a relief. I know people who snub their noses at hand-me-downs but I think that’s ridiculous. There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about accepting gently used clothing that’s still in good condition.
- Cashing in a change jar. Why else would you save your change if not to cash it in and use it? And when you do cash it in, why is it anyone else’s prerogative what you use it for? If you need to cash it in to pay bills or go food shopping, well…good for you for having the sense to save your change. If you’re saving it to afford a vacation, I think that’s fantastic. Whatever your reason for saving your change, there is no shame in this. (Which reminds me, I have a coin jar to take to the bank…)
- Accepting free food. I’m not talking about the pot-lucks at work or the free samples at the supermarket. I’m talking about people buying you dinner or bringing you bags of groceries. Or sending you home with a cooler full of leftovers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting free food, especially if it means that you and your family will not go hungry. When my daughter was born, my husband and I could barely afford to feed ourselves. The chicken and bagels we got, for free, from our respective parents saved us on many occasions. I refuse to ever feel one ounce of shame for that.
- Using coupons. Not so much for groceries or toiletries since the abomination that is Extreme Couponing has made this a national pastime, but for activities, restaurants, haircuts…anything else that’s necessary or fun. I’m a fairly avid user of Groupon and LivingSocial and I have learned that there is nothing mortifying about using these to pay for things you wouldn’t ordinarily get to do. I actually find it kind of fun.
- Working a “menial” job. To start with, I refuse to classify a job as menial. If you are working an honest job to support yourself, your family or to pay off debt or even to earn extra money, there’s nothing menial about it. On top of that, we’ve all been in a position where we’ve worked a less than desirable job. For instance, in my mid-20s, I babysat for the most obnoxious children in the world for less than minimum wage. But I needed the money. So I did it. And although people looked down on me for it (including the people I babysat for), I didn’t care. There is nothing shameful about doing whatever it takes to earn money (well, nothing shameful about anything legal).
There are numerous other parts of my finances that I adamantly refuse to be ashamed of. And if someone tries to make me feel bad, I let them go. I don’t need people in my life that put me down or try to make me feel less than adequate about what I need to do to contribute to my family’s finances.
It’s just not worth it.
Readers, as it pertains to your finances, what do you refuse to feel ashamed of?
Note from Me: I will not be ashamed that I accepted help to take this vacation. I have heard talk from others who think poorly of my decision but I will not feel ashamed of it. Someone wanted to do something wonderful for me and I am being a graceful receiver (and enjoying my butt off too!).
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