Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

Pay Day

My parents were allowance people. We each got an allowance starting about age 6. Free money! But, of course, with a catch. The allowance was all there was - income wise. Once that money was spent, there was no more - not a penny - until the next allowance was distributed. We were given clear rules. This is how much you get. You get no more. Don't even ask. You will get this much again next time.

It started out with something like a quarter every Friday. As we got older, we got more. 10% always went to the church. I later learned this was really a Morman thing and we weren't Morman. I think I missed a protest here...

We did not discuss family money.  I had no idea how much any of our household bills were - or even, really that we had any - except my Mom was always bitching about turning off the light and closing the door - 'you heating the neighborhood???'.  But I did not know how much money my father made or any details about their income or outflow.

BUT there were many conversations about our (the kids) spending. How to. How not to. Saving and why we should and why we couldn't have this and that and how much of our allowance it would take to get it.

When I was in junior high, we got lunch money, outside of our allowance. A new revenue stream!!!  I started making my lunch at home and pocketing the lunch money.  That worked for nearly a week until Mom posted a notice on the fridge. She would now be charging for whatever we took from home for lunch.

When I was in high school, I drove my siblings to school and ran errands for my mother. A bunch of calculations went into a monthly allowance for us all.  Once a month we were given a set amount and that money had to cover everything except room and board and school fees.  If we wanted clothes, or snacks or records or movies or anything else, it came out of our allowance. If we had spent all of our allowance, we were SOL until the next month. Because I was the driver, I had a special gas allowance.

There were allowances made for the allowances. We each handled our allowances in our own way. We made mistakes. We learned from them.  My brother never got the hang of the monthly allowance so he went back to weekly and Mom bought his clothes.  But, my sister and I muddled through, saving little, but spending our own way until we graduated from college.

Now I'm back to a monthly allowance. Once a month, I get a payout from my investments.  I don't yet draw any social security so it's kind of a bridge until then.  I use my payday to reconciled everything  and either pay off or plan for payment and look ahead towards spending for the upcoming month.  It's a comfortable ritual with a nice nostalgic touch.

Once a month I kind of feel like a teenager again.  Ohhhhh, will I be able to afford those shoes this month? Or that Johnny Mathis album??? Will I finally be able to get that new ...
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