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Of candle making and money firsts; what’s yours?

by Money Puzzle   ·  September 9, 2019   ·  

Of candle making and money firsts; what’s yours?

by Money Puzzle   ·  September 9, 2019   ·  

It’s sort of been my week of firsts. My first heel injury. First time I lost a credit card. First time I made scented candles at home. No, its not a hobby; more an attempt to help my boys with something handmade that they can take for their teachers as a token of appreciation on the occasion of Teacher’s Day.

If you had asked me 2/3/5 years ago, if I’d be the kind of mother who spends time doing such activities with her children, the answer would be a strong, vociferous no! So, even though the children are super excited about taking the pink, rose smelling little candle jars to school, I am marveling at the change I see in myself. For me the output of the activity has shifted from delicate looking candles or the excitement the boys are feeling, to my ability to endure a crafty activity which I have no patience for. I’ve laughed it off to the perils of parenthood. Which would have been fine too, if indeed I could shrug off the warm and fuzzy of the outcome. What I’m saying is that I am pleasantly surprised that I felt good at the end of it all.

It got me thinking about other firsts in other relationships I have. A spouse first, a friendship first, a colleague first – what about a money first? The thing about firsts is that there is often a larger behaviour change accompanied with it.

Yes, its true we all have a relationship with money. It is not just something that you and I carry along in our wallets. Its how we tackle decisions in our lives, its how we interpret certain other relationships in our lives, its about our optimism or pessimism in life and it’s a mirror into how we place ourselves in this world.

Just because this one aspect defines so much in our lives, I thought I must make an attempt to list down my money firsts.

Here goes. Interestingly, I haven’t yet thought through all of them, so let’s see what I come up with and how it makes me feel. Just for fun, I am going to put a thumbs up and thumbs down sign against each.

  1. My First Pocket Money – Honestly, I don’t recall the very first one – but I do remember getting Rs 10 every month at the age of 9 or thereabouts.

  2. My First Earning – At the age of 19, at a 24-hour fast food joint in harbour town Freemantle in Western Australia, doing the late night/early morning shift.
    My first tryst with the grill also came from the above and so did my first-time cutting tomatoes and onions by the kilo. I’ll have to give this a thumbs down for the feedback it got me!

  3. My First Rent – As a paying guest in Katherine’s beautiful home in Freemantle. Living with five other students was a real high and so was paying for my rent with my own earnings.
  4. My First Car – Chosen by me, paid for by my father when I was 23. A second hand Maruti 800 that cost Rs 50,000. I have to say this came with mixed feeling even back then, not just because it was in a very bad condition with cockroaches under the mats, but because I couldn’t in good faith call it mine.
  5. My First Piece of Jewelry – Set of two gold bangles from my grandmother when I turned 21. I still wear those. Soon after I bought something with my money, a nose ring which I still wear.
  6. My First EMI – For my second car. The first one lasted about 6 months after which I bought a new Alto on loan.
  7. My First Financial Investment – Honestly, I can’t remember exactly when or what it was. If I were to hazard a guess, probably a tax saving equity mutual fund scheme. Made the right choice. Again, I can’t remember my age, but I’m guessing around 25 – too late. So, this deserves a bit of both.
  8. My First Real Estate Buy – Done jointly with my husband. Thankfully not a house to live in, else we would still be repaying the loan and travelling hours to reach home from work. But what we did was a huge mistake too. Now a write off for all practical purposes.
  9. My First Heartfelt Monetary Charity – While there were several small donation cheques given out here and there from time to time, the one that I feel we have truly done good with started about 3-4 years ago. There is a school for under privileged children run by a truly generous couple with equally selfless and generous teachers, in the back lanes of Palm Vihar, Gurgaon. It’s called Diksha and it makes a difference to the 230 odd children who go there to study with the hope of better life ahead.

There are so many other firsts, so many that make me smile and others I don’t recall – the first gift I gave my mom with my salary, the first time I bought an expensive dress, the first time I took my parents out to dinner (I actually do remember that one!), first gift I bought my husband, first time I lent money, first time I lost money, the first time I disrespected money and so many other firsts. I chose to share the ones above because I felt those are landmarks in everyone’s life.

There is a realisation and positive change that comes with every first which then defines how we think about money and what we learn about it with every new day.

I would like to hear about YOUR landmarks with money – YOUR firsts that made YOU feel good or bad or indifferent. Somehow, we are afraid to talk about our relationship with money. As if its something to feel guilty about and if we do talk about it then its something to be boastful about.

Let’s not do that. Money is neither something you need to shun nor embrace like your life depends on it. It is not something to feel ashamed of nor is it something to hold up your ego. It is however, an undeniable part of our everyday lives, our past and our future. How we treat it matters, how we use it matters, how we lend it matters and how we share it matters.

Make sure you have many firsts in your money relationship too and learn from my mistakes – try to mark most of them with a thumbs up!

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