Welcome to Cents of a Country Girl! I’m Country Girl and this is my blog. I’m planning on using this blog as a forum, to share what my experiences with life, money and a career, and whatever else crosses my mind. I’m still working on the design and looks of this place so you’d better watch out for potholes.
Where to start? Well, I suppose I might as well start with my story. From an early age, I was taught the value of a good day’s work, all thanks to days spent picking rocks. After picking rocks from all the fields, my Dad would pay my sisters and I. Some people pay rock pickers by the load, others by the field, we were paid in ice cream. For an entire day of being bent-over, eyes on the ground and digging rocks out of the ground, each of us was paid in the form a waffle cone. It was great. I didn’t care about money, all I wanted was that waffle cone. I would pick until my little twiggy arms couldn’t pick anymore just to get a cookie dough waffle cone. Eventually though, the wonder of the waffle cone wore off and I started to want cold, hard cash in exchange for chores. I loved the cash. It burned a hole in my pocket, I couldn’t wait to hand over my allowance (earned) in exchange for something shiny and new. Thankfully, my parents realized I couldn’t hold onto money, and took me to the bank to open a savings account. The nice banker explained that money grew in the bank, and if I gave it to them to hold onto, eventually I would end up with more. Radical! I thought (because I loved the ninja turtles). I was so enamored with the thought of earning and saving money, I quit spending money and worked odd jobs, babysitting, anything a pre-teen could do. I kept saving and saving, but I really didn’t know what I was saving for.
It was during high school that I figured out what I was saving for…university. My parents had saved a bit of money for me, but being an independent (and stubborn) type of person, I decided that I would pay for my education myself. I ended up choosing a university 8 hours away from home, and they gave me an entrance scholarship, but even with my savings and the scholarship, it wasn’t enough to cover living in residence, tuition, books and all that other stuff that comes with university. I had to get a student loan. I worked every summer and kept my scholarship throughout my undergrad, but every year, I still needed a little more to cover all the expenses. By the end of it, I was about $32,000 in the hole.
In my last year of undergrad, I decided I wanted to get a Masters. There were lots of reasons I did another 2 years of school: I’m a nerd, I like school, I love my field and wanted more, but also, because I worked so hard during my undergrad to get good grads, I was able to get a big scholarship. Pulling out my trusty calculator, I figured out how much money I would have left over from my scholarship after paying for school and rent and began planning on how to repay my loan. Lo’ and behold my first crude budget was born! During my Masters I TA’ed, which added to my income. Following some advice from my uncle, I put my leftover scholarship money into some investments and watched my spending like a hawk. Thankfully too, since I was still in school my loans weren’t collecting any interest. By the time I finished my Masters, I had saved almost enough money to pay back my loan. Thankfully at the same time, I got a job in my field back home. I moved back in with my parents (the ultimate way to save) and before too long, I was able to pay back the entire loan.
Fast forward to now: I’ve bought a car, for which I have a loan. The car though was an absolute necessity, otherwise I would have no way of getting to work. I’m still living at home. I’ve invested more, I’ve started an emergency savings account and RRSPs, I’m saving towards a down payment on a house and I’m paying back my car loan. I budget monthly and I’m trying to learn as much as I can about finances.
I still pick rocks too.
Have a good ‘un,