15 Money-Related Things I’m Thankful For


Usually at Thanksgiving, I make a point to give thanks for non-material things. I need that reminder not to overlook the things that really matter when I’m so busy thinking about earning, saving, and spending money. However, this year, I decided to make a list of money-related things for which I give thanks. I share them with you in the hopes that you might find a few things on my list that you’re thankful for, too.

1. I am thankful my parents taught me how to save and how to give by splitting my allowance into three parts – some for me, some for others, and some to save.

2. I am thankful my parents taught me, by example, not to judge others by how much money they have or appear to have.

3. I am thankful my parents never bought me brand-name clothes as a teenager. Had I gotten into the habit of wearing them, I would not have been able to afford them when I started paying my own bills.

4. I am thankful that my husband and I are both savers; we rarely fight over money.

5. I am thankful that neither of us had any debt when we got married.

6. I am thankful for the generosity of my parents and my in-laws, who regularly give us both cash gifts and practical gifts (such as diapers) that help us save our own money.

7. I am thankful that I have always been able to afford all the things I need and some of the things I want.

8. I am thankful that there are very few things I really want.

9. I am thankful for the Internet, which allows me to contribute to our family’s income while I stay home with our children.

10. I am thankful for coupons, rebates, and special offers, especially on things I would buy anyway, because they help me stretch our budget.

11. I am thankful for the many yard sales, thrift shops, discount stores, and competing drug stores in our area, which all save me money on things I would normally have to buy for full price.

12. I am thankful for credit card rewards. Because we pay off our cards every month, they serve as discounts on nearly everything we buy.

13. I am thankful that we have enough money that we can give some to help others.

14. I am thankful for investments that increase our savings.

15. I am thankful that we have been able to save enough money to cover our unexpected expenses, such as car repairs and trips to the doctor.

You will notice that I am not thankful for a six-figure income; that’s because I’ve never had one. No matter how much or little I earn, I can be thankful for what I have. I hope you are thankful for what you have, too.

Image courtesy of bulldog1

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21 Responses to 15 Money-Related Things I’m Thankful For

  1. Minimum Wage says:

    1. I am unthankful that my parents casually assumed (and thus expected) I would go to college because I always had excellent grades and test scores.

    2. I am unthankful that my father got his money in unsavory ways and frivolously spent staggering sums on doodads to keep his first wife (who is not my mother and with whom he got back together after my mother died) happy. While this did have the salutary effect of leading me to reject the consumerist lifestyle, it also left me with a negative view of money.

    3. I am unthankful that I worked hard and saved up $4,000 (more than $20K in today’s dollars) by the time I graduated high school, only to blow it all on a worthless college degree.

    4. I am unthankful that I started out with a pile of student loan debt and still have a pile of student loan debt.

    5. I am unthankful that I have not been able to afford all the things I need, that I have been homeless twice while employed, and that the wolf is always at my door.

    6. I am unthankful for the internet, which entices me to waste time looking in vain for jobs and “income opportunities” which turn out to be scammy or shady.

    7. I am unthankful for coupons, rebates, and special offers, which are of little use to me since they are offered only on branded items which I don’t buy, or which provide value but require an upfront expenditure I can’t afford.

    8. I am unthankful for credit card rewards, since I cannot get a credit card without getting ripped off in scammy “fees”, hence I don’t have a credit card.

    9. I am unthankful that I don’t have enough money to pay basic expenses, let alone give some to help others.

    10. I am unthankful for the quantity of junk mail I receive offering investment opportunities, and for the many trees and barrels of oil destroyed in the process of delivering these useless offers to me. (Somehow I’m on the mailing list of Fisher Investments – I mean, really, sheesh!)

  2. dan says:

    You make your own life and you choose whether to see the glass half full or half empty.

    You might have had a hard life, but probably not as hard as mine. If only my father’s only sin was spending staggering amounts on doodads my life would have been infinitely easier, but I still have plenty to be thankful for.

    You have a choice in life and if your choice is to whine and bitch instead of doing something to change it, you won’t get any sympathy from me…

  3. Minimum Wage says:

    Let me be more specific, my father made his money mostly illegally. I never lived with him, I was handed off to various relatives and “friends” (my mother was too busy nodding off to raise me). Most of the time I was growing up my father was either behind bars at Club Fed or living underground. When he was free and not in hiding, he would pick me up on weekends and take me with him to his GF’s apartment, and would take me back home Sunday evening. He paid the people raising me for my support, but I did not receive or even want any extravagances like he gave her, but I felt very uncomfortable with the whole thing.

    So what exactly can I do now to change it? I have no marketable skills and no money to go back to school to get skills. Also I have bad teeth (gets in the way of getting hired) and no money to fix them.

  4. cheetahwoman7 says:

    Minimum Wage, just a few suggestions:

    1. For your teeth, find a dentistry school, where they take volunteers and fix their teeth for free so the students have some practical, hands-on experience.

    2. To build up your skills, find an internship where they want someone with a college degree and where they’ll train you in their “ways” of doing the job. In fact, many times they’re looking for interns who haven’t gone through like an MBA program so they can mold you the way they want you.

    3. Next, if you look around here at savings advice or on the blogs, you’ll find out how to use those coupons and rebates to get name brand items for FREE. Take some of that time you spend on the net and use it to hunt down a few freebies.

    4. Remember the past but let go of the anger you have associated with it. I’m sure that it comes through on interviews the way it comes through here.

  5. Hilary says:

    Another suggestion is the Freecycle Network (http://www.freecycle.org/). It is an excellent resource for basic needs. I have seen everything from milk to china being posted for free by members in my area.

  6. dan says:

    Again, you make your own life – others don’t make it for you unless you let them. While I don’t want to go into details of my growing up because it’s something that I have left behind and moved on from, it was much worse that what you have written. Let’s just say it involved many types of unspeakable abuse and illegal drugs.

    If you want to wallow in the past and blame it all for where you are now, that’s your choice – just don’t look for any sympathy from me and know that I will call you on it each and every time. Life is not fair, but how you live it is your choice. You have the choice to change everything from this moment on. I’m not saying it is easy, but it’s your choice.

    Other commenters have left suggestions. If you can write (as you have done with your list) there are plenty of outlets that pay a few dollars for such types of writing. If you want something to be thankful for, you have to go and find it (actually, there is a lot there already, but you have decided not to see it) – it’s not going to be handed to you by others.

  7. Minimum Wage says:

    Let me ask this: I took out a (not quite as atrocious as most) payday loan a few weeks ago. (Sorry, but I thought eating and keeping the phone turned on were pretty important.) It’s due Monday, they’re going to cash my check.

    I’m frantically trying to get enough money in my checking account. I’ve been selling stuff online and now have $50 in my PayPal account with another $50+ due for stuff sold but not yet paid for. By Sunday I expect to have another $50-$100 sold.

    BUT having the money in my PayPal account won’t do squat when it’s not in my checking account. (PayPal says it could take up to 5-7 days to transfer to checking but I can’t wait that long.) I thought worst case I’d make a partial payment on the loan and roll it over, they don’t do that, so it’s all or nothing.

    My problem here is that I’m too stressed dealing with a short-term crisis to effectively deal with long-term issues. What can I do now?

  8. Minimum Wage says:

    p.s. FWIW I was born with some motor deficits and a supposedly progressive neurological deterioration (one of the more obscure dystrophies) because my mother was a druggie.

  9. dan says:

    The first thing to admit is you made a bad decision taking out the payday loan when you didn’t have enough to cover it. “I needed it for food and phone” is a bad excuse if you have stuff that you could have sold back then (which you are doing now).

    The first step is always to take responsibility for your finances and when you have decided that the payday loan was a bad step, then you’re in the position to never take one out again.

    Go to your bank and take out overdraft protection if possible. Either way, talk with the manager and explain the situation – the money is coming (make the paypal transfer, print it out to show as proof) and work with them. You should be able to work something out.

    Short term crisis exist because you have chosen not to make a long term plan. You need to supplement your income. If you don’t know how, then it shows that you haven’t really put much effort into changing you current situation.

    Like I’ve said before, if you can write and spend time commenting here, then you have the skills to make money online – it’s not easy and it’s going to take time to build, but it’s possible. Get a blog, put ads on it, comment like you do here with your blog url and people will visit – some will click on the ads and you’ll make some money and eventually work your way up. There are even companies that will pay you to write posts about them. Again, you motor deficits have no bearing as you write coherently.

    You are currently having all the short term stress because you have decided to take a short term outlook (otherwise you would have never taken out the payday loan and would have sold stuff sooner). Nobody is going to make that plan for you. it’s up to you to do. If you don’t, you’ll continue along with your short term crisis one after another. The decision is yours.

  10. Hilary says:

    Minimum Wage: You should also get a PayPal debit card (they come for free if you have a PayPal account). That way, you can get your money instantly if you go to an ATM. I think they charge a $1 fee for withdrawing, and if you use a surcharge-free ATM (like one in the AllPoint network), that’ll be the only charge you have.

  11. Minimum Wage says:

    If I thought I had any prayer of getting overdraft protection I would have done that long ago. An uninsured extended illness (which led to the discovery of my neurological problem when they ran me through the MRI and CT machines) trashed my credit five years ago, I have not used or applied for credit (until now) since but my scores are still in the tank. I’ve been told that having zero (credit) positives is keeping my scores down but I’m not willing to apply (don’t want to damage my score further, payday loans don’t pull your credit and thus don’t hurt your score unless you default) without some reason to believe I’ll be approved, which my credit union wouldn’t give me.

    I figured I should have been able to improve my job and income, but that didn’t happen. Now if I hadn’t taken out the loan, and my phone was turned off, how would employers hire me?

  12. Minimum Wage says:

    When the wolf is at your door, a long-term plan won’t help in time. I also have domestic stress to deal with; sometimes long-term plans have to wait.

  13. dan says:

    That’s what I figured, excuses. Always a reason things won’t work. You didn’t thank anyone for the advice – just bagged on the things that you feel won’t work for you (Hilary’s advice to get the debit card was excellent) – it’s no wonder you wrote an unthankful list. But hey, if you do that, maybe you’ll get some sympathy (not from me). Enjoy your life of living as you are now and I hope that you find the courage to actually take the responsible steps to improve your situation, but it doesn’t seem that you’re ready for that now.

    Until then, I will continue to call you on all your comments here, but won’t be giving any more advice (why waste me valuable time if you aren’t committed) until you show that you are ready to take responsibility.

  14. Minimum Wage says:

    Okay, that IS an excellent idea and I appreciate and thank Hilary for suggesting it.

    I *did* try to get a PayPal debit card, but they won’t let me have one yet. (I previously avoided mentioning this lest I be accused of making another excuse for not doing something.) You have to be a member for 60 days and I’m still two weeks short of that.

    I used to have a PayPal account – I used it to buy a used weedwacker because I have to do the lawn care here – but apparently they close your account for inactivity (three-plus years in my case). I discovered I no longer had an account when I tried to buy a 99-cent item online, so I called PayPal and a very helpful person got me set up again, but when I tried to sign up for their debit card they said I have to wait 60 days.

  15. Minimum Wage says:

    I’ve decided there’s nothing I can do between now and Monday to make things work out, so I have stopped trying to deal with the short-term. Either my credit union will give me a $200 loan or they won’t; I’ll find out Monday. (As a pessimist I figure they won’t, but I finally decided applying was better than not applying, regardless of the outcome.)

    If I don’t get the loan my check will bounce and I will become that much poorer, but I feel like I’ve stopped caring.

    Is this a good sign or a bad sign?

  16. Minimum Wage says:

    Well, I have an interesting problem if it doesn’t work out. If my check bounces and I get hit with fees, the money I’ve received for shipping will be eaten by fees, and I won’t be able to ship until I can get more money. So if it doesn’t work, the best scenario leaves me worse off and the worst scenario leaves me worse off any my buyers somewhere between annoyed and furious.

  17. scott says:

    It doesn’t seem like that much of a problem. When you go in on Monday, the first thing you do is take out the money from the bank account. That will mean you have the money to send off the items. After doing that, ask to talk to the manager and try to work it out. If you can, redeposit the money. If not, the check is going to bounce anyway, so you have the cash for sending the items.

  18. Minimum Wage says:

    1) The money is not yet in my checking account, because PayPal transfers ti your checking can take several days. My checking account has $8 right now.

    2) So if I get charged $30 for a bounced check of $15 to stop the check before it bounces. I have a problem, plus whatever the payee charges me for the bounced check.

  19. Minimum Wage says:

    After delaying me over the weekend, my credit union decided they couldn’t extend $200 of credit, so my check is going to bounce and I’ll be even poorer than I am now. They wouldn’t stop the check unless I can come up with $12 in my checking account.

  20. Minimum Wage says:

    One of the payments I’ve received is a money order, so I was able to deposit it without any hold time, and I wes able to stop the check in time. So this is going to cost me only $37 ($12 stop fee + $25 on the payee’s end) plus I’ll have three months of equal payments to cover that check.

  21. jho87 says:

    I like your list of the 15 money related things you are thankful for. It is fun to read and very honest!

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