My early money experiences
As a little girl growing up in Bulgaria, the message was clear:
Bad times are coming, money doesn’t grow on trees! If you want to have something, you have to work for it. – my mom
Don’t get me wrong, my family was not poor. We have always had enough food to put on the table, a roof over our heads, books for school and we went on vacation twice a year.
But all expenses were kept to the minimum. No excessive spending was encouraged.
I was always taught to find the best value for money. I remember noting down the quality and the price of the products at the market when I was sent to do the groceries shopping at the age of 9-10. I was doing the foot work circling around the market various times until I found the best quality for the best price or okayish quality for low price.
I was never given pocket money. Whenever I needed to buy anything be it school supplies, public transport tickets, a birthday present for a friend, shoes or ice cream, I had to ask my parents for money. This felt like begging and I didn’t like it a bit.
My classmates went on school trips to France and England but it didn’t even come to my mind to ask my parents to finance that. I didn’t ask for the “big things” because I knew I would get a “no”. And who likes to get rejected?!
My first steps to independence
It must have been at this time when I somewhere deep in myself I decided to start making my own money as soon as possible. I wanted to free myself of the limiting situation.
I worked hard to get the best grades at school and I received a monthly school grant. The amount was small but it gave me the first glimpses of what this financial independence might mean to me.
Later on in my 9th grade, I must have been 15 or so I found my first summer job. It was a fast food restaurant on a busy street. I did the cashier and once in a while, I waited tables. Every consecutive summer I worked for a couple of months during my school holidays. Around my 20th year, I didn’t need to ask my parents for money any more – I had enough to live on my own.
Fast forward to 2016
I live in Berlin in a beautiful rented apartment. My job pays well for my lifestyle, enough to grow my savings, to have an emergency fund, to invest in the stock market. Thanks to my frugal parents I even have a real estate investment back in Bulgaria.
I have and I am traveling the world. I live a minimalist lifestyle. I save as much as I can and I invest it.
I have reconnected to my childhood dream of doing whatever I want and being able to pay for it myself. I am extremely thankful to my parents for keeping the financial framework around me tight and taught me that if I want to something, it’s up to me to go and get it. They have given me the most valuable – education and a home I always know I can go back to no matter how badly I ‘fail’. Thanks, mom, and dad.
My goal of financial independence
Now I want to take it even further – I want to free myself of the need to ever work again. Yes, that is right, my goal is to become financially independent in 5 years, the latest in the beginning of 2022.
This means that I will have my basic expenses covered and I will have the freedom to work on whatever project I choose, with whomever I want and to contribute to this beautiful world in whatever way I find fit.
This blog is for me to keep my eyes on the goal. Like when I was a child and it didn’t even come to my mind to ask for the “big things”. This blog will be a reminder for me of my next “big thing” and it will be a proof that it’s possible.