When I was a kid, I was a good saver. Every penny I got was definitely a penny I saved. I wasn’t necessarily cheap and still bought candy and toys, but I was just good at saving. As I got to high school, the trend continued and I continued to be careful with my money, especially once I got my first job and learned the importance of hard work.
Then things changed.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have a reckless period. You might be familiar with the Credit CARD Act of 2009. It was legislation that helped protect consumers with some rules of fairness. It was also designed to protect college-age kids with several provisions to help kids from getting a credit card too easily and then racking up a ton of debt.
Yeah, well, they didn’t have that rule when I was in school.
And when I got my first credit card (they probably gave me a free T-shirt or something stupid for signing up), the fun began. For example, I would go out to dinner with a group of friends and just pick up the check. Yes, I was working (part-time), but there’s no way that I could have afforded to do this, particularly on a regular basis. I paid for everything all the time… but boy was I a fun guy to hang around with!
Then I got another credit card.
The best part about getting another credit card was that it was in the days where the banks would give you a rebate for transferring balances over to them. I wasn’t very good at knowing when to stop buying stuff, but I was sure organized enough to pay off one credit card with the other! And I did just that – pretty much every month for over a year. Maybe if I had kept that up for a few centuries, those rebates would have eaten away all my debt.
Shortly thereafter is when I discovered Quicken and then had a better picture of my finances and thought “oh crap – I actually owe close to 30 grand!”
I immediately buckled down and became the cheap @#$ you know today.
This was also about the time I met Mrs. R2R. She still jokes that she didn’t get to have any fun – I was the life of the party right up until we met… at least I think she’s joking when she says it.
I was now determined to get back on track and I went all-in on this mission. I was fresh out of college and was now a cheap $%^&*#$. I no longer picked up the tab for anyone but myself (and Mrs. R2R). In fact, I was so happy when someone else would pick up the tab or buy me a beer that I would have a nice little high-five in my head.
My determination paid off and I not only got out of debt, but I’ve helped to steer our ship toward financial freedom at an early age.
The thing is – nothing has changed since my transformation. I’m still a cheap @#$ and hate spending money. One thing I really hate is spending money on over-priced food and restaurants. But don’t worry, that’s not the only thing that bugs me – I just told my wife that I’ve had undershirts sitting in my Amazon cart for about a month because I just didn’t want to pull the trigger on it. I tried to rationalize that the holes in my current t-shirts were so small that it would make more sense to wear them out a little more first (yes, I can be that pathetic!). I’m starting to think that Mr. 1500 and I might be two peas in a pod – check out his sandals in this post!!
Until recently though, I was afraid my smart spending would actually make people (including friends and family) look down on me. I actually used to be low-key and try to downplay how I hate much to spend money on things… doo-dads. But the more focused I’ve become on financial independence, the less I really care. And now I’m finally to the point where I’m actually proud of how cheap I am!
Now before you tell me that I need to enjoy life, please know that we tend to spend money more freely on experiences. I’m cheap, but I’m not dead! We like to take nice vacations once or twice a year, particularly cruises. I still look for good deals on the trips and we don’t start spending a lot of money while on the vacation, but we do enjoy the time we spend together making memories.
So am I the only cheap @#$ out there? And, if you’re not a cheap @#$, do cheap guys like me get under your skin?
Thanks for reading!!