Countering the Force that Drives People Financially Crazy

Suyuan - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on January 21, 2011
Age Group: Under 18
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Every day after dinner, my mother would always check my dinner bowl for rice grains. Every day, she would shake her head and mutter how I would grow up to be wasteful and spendthrift. Now, I have grown to understand the importance of frugality. Sure, I’m Asian, so you can tag me as a stingy stereotype all you want, as this is what I believe in.

I was nine years old, being the thoughtless and naive kid I was. I pressed my nose up against the glass pane so I could get a better view of the Game Boy Advanced SP, with its glossy new surface baiting mesmerized customers. My mom tried to pry me away from the glass pane, but I clung on like an affectionate kitten to its ball of yarn. Furiously, she fussed in Chinese, “That thing costs $80. Do you know how much useful things that money could buy you?” I refused to listen to her, as I can only hear my own begging and griping.

Every night, as I lay in bed, I ponder upon those words. “Do you know how much useful things that money could buy you?” Eighty dollars: just enough to pay for a year-long meal supply for an entire family in Africa, and just enough to pay for an entire AP exam. But no, it just had to go for a piece of consumer junk that I don’t even use anymore. From then on, I try to conserve as much money as possible, no matter how small the amount.

My classmates look down at every aspect of my tabooed practice. Frequently, I hear, “How do you live with such lifestyle?” or “Why do you wear the same sweater two days in a row.” What disrespect and ignorance. But hey, I can live with the humiliation these questions caused. At least I wouldn’t complain when my parents don’t buy me something that I want. If financial opportunities are low in the future, I would gloat over the money that I have saved over the past 14 years. Oh, and about the classmates who have derided me when I was frugal, I would just smirk at them as they are in financial debt if I were really evil.

It pains me whenever I see people in the mall who mindlessly spend money in $100 shoes even though they have 20 other pairs at home. Seriously, what happened to the big, striking words “ON SALE” or “CLEARANCE”? What happened to the thin cutouts in fliers we call coupons? Call me a satirical jerk if you will, but frugality has caused me to mature financially.