Updated: Jan 25
A couple of years ago I decided to write a book about my personal finance journey. My amazing, supportive wife got into the idea too and even arranged a weekend retreat for me to work on the project. I actually wrote a pretty good amount but I’m not enthused about most of it. There were a couple of decent paragraphs though. Here they are:
My mom’s kitchen had an exposed red brick back splash between the counter tops and the cabinets above. This was the house she’d moved into after Dad died and since she’d never had the time or money to spend on decorating before I guess she decided she was going to make herself a nice kitchen. She liked that red brick so she bought a bunch of other red stuff to match. She had red appliances like a toaster and blender. Red jars for sugar and flower. Red hand towels and, as a I recall, one of those spoon rests that was red too. One summer day while I was home from college I was washing dishes in that red kitchen, looking out into the back yard through the window over the sink, and I started to cry. Earlier that day I’d gotten a bill in the mail. I owed $100 to the storage unit where all my stuff was stashed for the summer and I didn’t know how I was going to pay it.
My mom asked me what was wrong and I explained my worries. Her eyes were tearing up in empathy but she couldn’t stop herself from chuckling when she heard the story. “Oh honey,” she said. “One hundred dollars isn’t very much.” One hundred dollars was a lot of money to my mom but it wasn’t very much debt. But when you have zero dollars and you’ve never had a bill you can’t pay before it’s hard to get perspective. I guess my naive mind thought the storage unit guy in Alabama was going to send the police to my house in Virginia if he didn’t get his hundred bucks in the next several days.
That was the first time I remember being scared about money but it wasn’t the last or the worst.
I think if I read that on the back of someone else’s book I would want to buy it.