Mostly everyone in our family has inherited the savvy saving gene.
A jack of all trades who could fix anything, my father was a world class scrounger. From his travels in home construction, he carted home bicycles, games, a truck full of evergreen trees, mosaic art panels, ice skates, puppies, sleds, and a finely detailed statue of Henry VIII with a broken leg that was soon re-attached. And my mother, whose creativity with a needle would have shone in Parisiene ateliers, created all our clothes in addition to amazing miniature dolls out of clothespins and scraps of material. Plus she could stretch a food dollar from here to Moscow. Working at moderate paying jobs, these master savers were able to move their young family from a cramped industrial city flat to a new home bordering woods and a river in a lovely country town.
Thanks to my inheritance of this gene, I was babysitting and buying my own clothes by the time I was twelve. A kid comparison shopper, I never purchased anything without canvassing in every direction for the best buy. Saving money was not only a necessity for me, it was also a quest, an adventure into new territories (call me weird, but it was, and still is).
By the time I got my first apartment in New York, I was able to apply my bargain hunting training and support myself on the meager salary of a beginning graphic designer at a fashion magazine. A few years later, I went to Europe for an extended stay. When I got back, I had no job, so when people asked me what I was doing, I said, “Freelance.” And that is in fact what I ended up doing. From the beginning I loved the freedom of free lance, the time to travel and the ability to pursue what ever I felt like pursuing. Besides graphic design and illustration, this eventually also included spells of photography, writing and editing.
But freelance was a yo-yo world of up and down assignments and there were times when the old money flow situation was definitely not flowing. No problemo. For years, I had been honing my talents at conserving funds, finding new uses for old things, and searching high and low for sources with the best blast for my buck. Coming up with inexpensive solutions to problems big and small was second nature to me.
With our economy still in a funk these days, I thought now would be a good time to share some of these money saving ideas. So jump aboard and let’s save some greenbacks together.