What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
I was sixteen when I got my first job. Honestly, I don’t recall viewing my first couple of checks as spendable money because it was already designated for things like rent and electricity, and therefore my checks were spent before I could cash them. Living on your own for the first time will do that to a person, especially someone young and naïve as I was at the time.
Just six months previous, the farmhouse my family lived in caught fire and we lost everything we owned. Because of this I didn’t own very many clothes and after rotating three shirts for six months it was really beginning to show. I remember suddenly coming to the realization that I could take some of the money from one of my checks to purchase new clothes. It was at that point in time that I also realized how hard it is to earn a buck and how quickly it can be spent.
Looking back at that point in time of my life it’s unbelievable how little I knew about money and how to spend it. I think this is a common thing for young people on their own, whether they age out of the foster care system or because of other reasons. A crash course in managing a budget does not come without some bad choices and I definitely made my share along the way.
While my first purchase may have been out of necessity, it still gave me a great sense of satisfaction that I was able to take care of myself, and it was a comforting thought that I could and would continue to do so in the future.
Peter Combs is a 28 year old husband, writer and former foster child. He currently lives with his wife, Renee, in Atlanta, Georgia. Peter is the author of the blog Home.