Valdosta Daily Times


November 11, 2012

Weird things I learned from the Army

VALDOSTA — Many of you don’t know this, but aside from what I claim is genetic, my budgeting roots stinted from growing up in the military.

My dad was in the Army for 20 years. Between two kids who both wore braces and a 100-pound lab named Chelcy who easily cleared double her weight in dog food a week, my mom and dad had to be very creative to make the money stretch on a modest military budget.

While my mom taught me how to shop the sales, my dad taught me what he will probably refer to in his memoirs as “real world values.”

First, why buy paper when you get it at a hotel for free?

My dad’s office has a stack of paper pads from various hotels around the state. I seriously wish I was joking. Second, always keep the change. My dad has been hoarding pennies for so long that he probably collected enough to put me through college.

However, we will never know because he refuses to cash them in because you never know when you will need them. Third, hot sauce makes anything taste good. When you are trying to get by on a budget, you have to get creative with your lunches. My dad found that hot sauce brings life to tuna salad, rice, pretty much anything that is edible ... and maybe some stuff that’s not. I don’t know. He’s pretty curious.

While his methods are unusual, they worked because I had a pretty cushy life. Now, I don’t steal paper from hotels, collect pennies, or use hot sauce (at all, gross), his neurotic sense of budgeting played a small role in the creation of the original budgeteer! So today, salute him not only for his service, but for raising me because let’s face it, I’m probably the best thing that has ever happened to you.

In honor of Veterans Day, here is a list of some budget-savvy tidbits that I learned growing up on Army bases.

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