Life After Entry- Lesson Three: Money does NOT grow on trees

When I was a little girl, about seven or so I remember a trip to the local Toys R Us. My mother had ran into the store to pick up a gift for some one's child. As she perused, I perused as well and came across "World's Greatest Creation" at the time. Yes that's right- Barbie's Dream House.
It, was love at first sight. I was an avid Barbie collector, and seeing how big Barbie's walk in closet was for the first time was like seeing the mecca of Barbie Land.

Immediately I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately for me, my finances at the time were less than plentiful and due to my bad budgeting and (pit stops to my local deli after school), I couldn't afford it.

So I did what any normal kid would do- I ran to mommy and asked her to get it for me. I was sure that after she saw Barbie's house (and the walk-in closet), that she'd understand, but to my surprise and utter disbelief, she shook her head and told me no.

"But mom, this is Barbie's DREAM HOUSE, not a roach motel." (Had she not seen the closet?!)

Again, she shook her head. "I gave you money last week," she said. "If you want this dream house you have to save up for it. Money doesn't just grow on trees. You have to budget."

Needless to say, I walked out of the store sans Dream House.

Interestingly enough, the same speech my mother gave me 15 years ago in Toys R Us, was being repeated to me again, a few weeks ago.

Only this time, it wasn't Barbies Dream House I was coming to her with, it was much more severe, and the stakes were much higher.

I was getting notices in the mail, my graduation money I had gotten a few months ago was on empty-literally, and my savings were gone. I had spent the summer having fun-and that had cost me and now I was paying for it. Up until that point I was able to make it work, but it wasn't until I saw this designer bag that I couldn't afford-that it hit me - I was broke and jobless with no prospects. The lenders were sending me hate mail asking for money I didn't have and my savings stashed was stashed no longer.

After an hour of searching every drawer, shoe and piggy bank all I could come up with was 26 cents, a piece of gum and a button from one of my cardigans I had meant to sew back on.

I sat on the floor for what felt like hours wondering how it got this bad.

I had a few options- I could bury my head under the covers and never come out or I could become a sex worker. Then I realized I couldn't fill out a C cup and scratched that off my list.

After going through my other options(phone sex operator,blood donor, pleading insanity) I gave in and went to my parents.

Their reaction was typical and normal-and exactly what I was trying to avoid. They asked me what happened to the money I had saved and I had told them. And then came the "Money doesn't grow on trees" speech.

After they finished they asked me if I had anything to say. I did, but I didn't think it was a good time to bring up that purse I wanted(come on, I'm not an idiot-just financially challenged!)

I didn't know what to do so I stayed in for a couple of days, especially with my eye for fashion, my obsession with that very expensive bag, and my shopaholic tendencies I couldn't face the outside world.

That and I had become incredibly embarrassed and ashamed going out with my friends and boyfriend and having no money so I was literally in hiding.

And then one night I had just finished coming in from being out with a friend when I broke down. And I cried. I felt like such a disappoint to my parents, to my friends, to my boyfriend. This was getting to me too much and I had to do something about it. So I did. And I knew it would take ballsy moves and a lot of work- but I had to do it. It was my only option- I had to do it for myself.

Some time has gone on, and I'm still in the beginning stages but in time I can come out of it. And while I still get sad every time I see that purse, I realize that it was for the better, and that being a grown up is about taking your problems, and your mistakes and facing the music.

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