The Young Treasurer

Last week I posted on how my mom taught me responsiblity :). Now let’s move on to my dad.

Please note: there isn’t a Jamaican that I know that gets ‘allowance’. Such things don’t exist in a country where you are in ‘survival mode’ all the time. Allowance is for the privileged (in my head, at the time, privileged = American)

Growing up, he’d give up lunch money daily – that’s when I was very very young. By the time I turned 12 or so, he had an open envelope in his drawer full of JMD$100 and JMD$50 bills, and a small pouch full of coins.

He said, take how much you think you need for the week, and allocate it for the whole week.

Basically, he was giving us the freedom to determine how much lunch money we needed. At the time, I was getting JMD$70 (equal to USD$0.7 NOW, but at THAT time, it was around USD$5). Here’s the critical point.

I determined I could do up a whole JMD$10 per day. so for the week, I’d take JMD$500. Originally I was saving JMD$100 per week, and now I was able to save JMD$150. Sometimes, I’d use JMD$20 per week to by gummi worms for myself. 🙂

I was very stingy with money. Only buying the cheapest things and only the things I needed. At 10 years old I had enough to open a bank account (with a measly JMD$1000) and within 2 years I had JMD$7000. I was doing very well. Then I spent it all on clothes haha which was very unlike me.

After spending all my money on clothes, I was able to raise $7000 again in 2 years. This time I was taking JMD$100 as lunch money (mind you, all my friend took approximately JMD$300). At this point, cellphones were popular, and I was paying my own cellphone bill (we buy something called units – kind of like a pay as you go service, there was no such thing as a monthly plan). I was also able to treat my self to a bag of fries every Friday 🙂 and I thought that was a great accomplishment in addition to what I had in the bank.

Around this time I had JMD$14,000, then I spent all my money again on my trip to the US 🙂 and started over from scratch. I’m grateful to my dad for all he taught me – resource allocation, finding deals, buying only what you need, surviving, saving, the difference between treating yourself and being greedy. Thanks dad.

There is one other thing he taught me. I’ll leave that for next week’s post 🙂


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