Life is about creating lovely memories and maybe not just about saving certificates...
(this is the story of a friend's parents my friend personally asked me to write his life story and put on my various blogs)
Just picked up three large boxes from the front door at my mother's house.
' What did you order this time', I asked Mama.
' New towels and sheets for all the bedrooms, I got a good deal on them', she showed them to me.
These simple things, buying ordinary house hold items has given my mother some sort of relaxation and it has given me a lot of pleasure seeing her buy things whenever she wanted to buy them.
Growing up I had never seen my mama spending money,freely. it was not that our family was tight on money. My Dad worked in a big Multinational Company. He made good money, Mama worked at my younger sister's school. Dad was a 'penny pincher' or a 'tightwad' to be specific. He believed in saving ...saving a lot of money and never spending any!
He spend only 30% of what he earned, rest was always deposited in the savings account. He made Mama put most of her pay-check in the savings account as well. We were four siblings two brothers and two sisters. Most of my younger siblings clothes were hand me downs, we rarely went out for dinner or on vacations. It was all waste of money according to Dad.
Dad was not an angry or rude person, he just did not want to spend money. Even at the grocery store he looked for the cheapest cereal brand or apples which were on sale.
He gave mama a certain amount of money every month for groceries and other utilities. We were allowed to buy a new dress and shoes just for our birthday or a religious celebration. We had very few toys. We had one old car which was used by Dad, rest of us used public transport.
My friends at school used to talk about new restaurants they went to with their families or when they went shopping. I used to dream when my family will go to a fancy restaurant for dinner.
I started to mow our neighbor's lawn when I turned 15. They paid me $45 after a month. I felt as if I am the richest person in the world. I asked Mama to take me to the mall so I can buy the black colored sweat shirt I always wanted to buy. On our way back I told Mama that I will take our family for a family dinner next month when I get payed. She smiled and hugged me!
Next month I collected $80 by mowing lawns of two of our neighbors. ' Lets go out for dinner' , I asked everyone to get ready.
' Why should we go out, why to spend so much money,we all can eat a home cooked meal for 1/2 the price', Dad insisted.
' We go out for fun' I replied.
' You guys go, I will not', Dad was not interested.
We all went...Mama and us siblings and we had so much fun! We laughed, talked about school, friends and enjoyed our pizza!
Time passed me and my siblings started baby sitting neighborhood kids or mow lawns or cleaned windows so we could make some extra money and buy stuff for ourselves.
When I got admission in an Ivy League College my teachers, my mother and I all were super excited.
' What an achievement', my school principal called my parents.
' I want you to study at an In state College, these Ivy Leagues are too expensive and it doesn't even matter', Dad did not want to spend a lot on my college tuition.
' Please Dad take a loan I will pay you back when I get a job', I pleaded. Mama and I spent weeks pleading my case but in the end it was Dad who won the discussion.
His point was that he is saving money for retirement, he can't send four kids to very expensive colleges then he will not be able to save anything.
Maybe he did not realize that spending on your child's education is also a great investment.
I was in my final year in college when I received a call from my mother early in the morning that my dad has suffered a massive heart attack. I rushed to the hospital. The doctors told us that his heart was working only 25% and his condition was pretty bad. The doctors took him for angioplasty. Later on Outpatient physical therapy helped Dad regain some of his strength. He went back to work after two months. That evening when he came back he looked very tired.
'I saved a lot of money for retirement but it seems as if I will not live long to enjoy life after retirement. On the bright side I will leave enough for all five of you, you guys can live comfortably after I am gone' , he said at dinner time.
'We don't care about the money we just want you to always be with us, you will be fine, soon!', my mother replied with tears in her eyes.
Dad passed away few weeks after my college graduation. Both my sisters were in college at that time and my brother in last year of high school. He left a lot of money for us in the savings account. Mama collected a big check from the life insurance policy.
All of a sudden we had all the money at our disposal which we always wished we had, we all could spend the money there was no one to stop us but we just couldn't...we all missed Dad. We felt awful he never enjoyed the money he had, he was just busy in saving every penny.
Mama was in terrible state. I got a job, moved back in my parents house so I could be close to my mother, so I could take care of her!
'You have to start all over again, Dad is gone but we have to live our lives', I said to her.
Slowly after almost a year Mama went back to her job. She enrolled my younger brother in one of the best Universities in the country. She started buying things for herself, for us, for the house. She bought a new car for herself and gave the old car to my sister. Both my sisters came to town for summer break, we all went out a lot for dinner,shopping and movies. We talked,laughed and enjoyed 'quality family time' but I could tell all of us missed Dad every day.
Sometimes I sit in our backyard and look up in the sky, I am sure Dad would be looking down at us and smiling!
Thanks Dad for all the financial planning and investments but I wish that 'you' could join us during those 'quality family outings'...I wish, I really do!
Save Money; yes for sure but don't forget to Enjoy Life!
Don't forget to create memories...