I've been called tight with money. My grandparents on both sides of my family had farms that managed to survive the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. You can't do that while being free with your money. And you could see that mindset in them clear to their final days. Grammie had money, but she insisted we rent out the farm house so she'd have money to cover assisted living. Grandma did much the same thing. Every two years she'd buy a new car, always the same car, but that was her one frivolous expense. When cleaning out her house we kept finding rolls of cash and cans of coins stuffed in the backs of closets and the bottoms of boxes.
My parents aren't as bad, but they keep an eye on their money, invest wisely, and live simply. Living on a farm does help since you can hold on to scrap wood and metal without being called a hoarder. If you saw my house you'd see that I could totally use a barn.
My current job has allowed me to live less cheaply than I find advisable. It pays well enough that I could eat out most days, see movies whenever, and still pack away a good amount of money. But a few months back I took out a second loan. The first was for my mortgage. The second was for the purchase and repair of a couple of houses in Baltimore. And I could afford it. Then the government cut my pay significantly when I switched from a contract employee to a government employee. It took me a couple of months, but I did see that my bank account was heading the wrong direction.
I changed my spending habits immediately. I went back to my college eating habits. I contacted the charities I give to and started trying to end my monthly contributions. I tried to cut my phone bill (I can save $50/month, but Yummy would then have to pay an extra $100). I considered cutting off my internet, but that would significantly increase my fuel and car repair expenses since I'd have to go to work every day. I'll be stopping my homemade beer making until I can get positive numbers again. The video game store will miss me. The book store will miss me, too, but I have a few years of reading left to me even if I were to retire today.
I have enough tucked here and there that I can go on for awhile spending like I was. But I think that at this time next month I'll be coming out ahead again.
In the meantime, we're making progress on Norman's House again. Some more money has to go into it, but it should be mostly our own labor. Hopefully, we'll be putting it up for rent in a few months and it can start handling it's own debt load. The Annapolis Bog, alas, won't be able to do that for a few years. But once the current work is done I'll have a storage locker the size of... a barn!
My parents have told me they're willing to help out, but I'm trying to avoid that unless it's really necessary. Even with my cut pay I'm making enough that I should be able to pay all my own bills. I'm just annoyed that I won't be able to help out if my brother goes for his much needed bigger farm equipment in the next few months.