Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a small boy named Jack. Jack told all of his friends to call him, “Money.” When asked, “Why should we call you Money?” Jack replied, “Because I need a cool name. One day, I’ll be famous. Really famous.
“People will tell stories about me. Write songs about me. They’ll need to hold entire carnivals just to tell all the tales about me. They’ll probably even name the carnivals after me.”
Jack was a cocky little boy.
But Jack was kind-hearted underneath his big words, and his mother loved him very much. Jack's ma was a single parent who worked three jobs. She was tireless and full of fire. The type of person who could get a credit-card company to reverse charges or spend 26 months to get a department store to issue a full refund.
- Mr Credit Card presents Amex Blue Cash Reverse My Credit Card Charges posted at Ask Mr Credit Card's Blog.
- FMF presents FINALLY!!!! Sears Comes Through!!!! posted at Free Money Finance.
Jack’s ma felt like she was doing all she could and that she was bringing in decent money—but it never seemed to add up. Jack and his ma were poor, according to the thresholds established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Census.
- the baglady presents The Odd Disparity between Income and Quality of Life posted at xynny.
After one hard winter, with the countryside plunged into recession, Jack’s ma lost one of her jobs; and tax season hit particularly hard.
- Madison presents What I Learned About Taxes This Year… posted at My Dollar Plan.
- Andy presents 3 Free sources to get your Australian dividend and tax information online posted at Finance ViewPoint.
- The Happy Rock presents Check The Status Of Your Federal IRS Tax Refund posted at The Happy Rock.
But there was no tax-rebate or economic-stimulus check coming for Jack and his ma. There were just bills and more bills. The debt started to pile up, and Jack's ma was starting to wonder if they would ever be able to see a way out.
- MyMaria presents Debt Free: Others' Stories Inspire My Journey posted at Financial Tips.
- Michael Bass presents Debt and Depression posted at Debt Prison (saying, "I’ve learned to focus on what I do have. I have so much to be thankful for. Don’t we all?").
- Ashley presents Getting off on the right foot (part 1) posted at Wide Open Wallet.
“We are going to have to tighten our belts even further,” Jack's ma told him. Jack was pretty sure he knew what that meant. Jack's ma was going to cut off his text messaging.
“But ma,” Jack pleaded, “there are so many other places we might look to save money!” And indeed, there were.
- Seb presents I bought a Skype phone posted at Pinching Copper.
- FIRE Getters presents Top 7 Energy Saving Tips for this Summer! posted at FIRE Finance.
- PT presents 3 Unstoppable Budget Busters posted at Prime Time Money.
- SingleGuyMoney presents Handling My Finances in a Slow Economy posted at Single Guy Money.
- chica with issues presents Frugal, cheap or stupid? Silly things I do to save money.
- Raymond presents Free Coin Counting At CoinStar Machines and Participating Banks posted at Money Blue Book.
- vh presents DIY: The Great De-Wallpapering Adventure posted at Funny about Money.
- Christine presents Barcelona on 10 Euro Per Day For Two People posted at Me, My Kid and Life: An American Single Mom Living in France.
- MyDailyDollars presents Can Anthropologie be a “Frugal” Choice? posted at My Daily Dollars.
- BeThisWay presents Am I Getting Smaller or Is Furniture Getting Bigger? posted at Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You?.
- Dorian Wales presents How I Saved Over 3,000$ In One Hour posted at Personal Financier.
But these were not enough. Text messaging would have to go, and that was not all. Jack's ma saw that there was no means of keeping Jack and herself from starvation but by selling their cow. So one morning, she told Jack, “I have to go to work now, but you must take the cow to market for me, and sell her.”
There were only three ways to get a cow to the market—by car, by boat, or by foot. Jack and his ma did not have a car or a boat. Even used.
- Bitsy Pieces presents Locking Financial Horns posted at Bits of Pieces (discussing spousal disagreement on buying a new car versus a used car).
- Chief Family Officer presents The new car vs. used car debate revisited posted at Chief Family Officer.
- Stephanie presents Patience Pays Off posted at Stop the Ride! (talking about the resolution to their own dilemma on needing new wheels).
- Luke presents Used car buying advice posted at Money & Fitness Blog.
- Lazy Man and Money presents The Costs of Boat Ownership posted at Lazy Man and Money.
Car-less and boat-less, Jack set off for the market on foot, leading his and his ma's prized cow. But Jack and his six-year-old legs quickly grew weary, and he stopped to take a rest by the stream.
At that time, up came a funny-looking old man, who said to him, “Good morning, Money. Where are you off to? "
“Good morning to you,” said Jack, and wondered how he knew his nickname. “I’m going to the market to sell our cow there.”
Well, that funny-looking old man convinced Jack to trade his cow for a handful of beans. Magic beans, he called them, that would grow up to the sky if you planted them and waited just 30 years.
Now you can imagine, Jack's ma was none too happy about the price that Jack had fetched for their cow. But she hadn't the heart to put a damper on Jack's unbridled enthusiasm for the beans as he sat out in the yard, carefully planting and watering them. But she knew, there were no such things as magic beans.
“Don’t worry, Ma,” Jack told her. “While we wait for the beans to grow up to the sky, I’ll take on jobs to help make ends meet.”
“What job can you do?” Jack’s ma asked him quizzically.
“Well, I could try making money online.”
- Praveen presents Internet Marketing Success - Sell Physical Products posted at My Simple Trading System.
- jendiren presents How an old man taught me how to make money online posted at Internet Marketing Blog.
- Tim Gary presents Have You Been “six-packed” by Your Thinking? posted at Internet Success Bites.
But Jack and his ma had no Internet connection. Jack had a keen interest in real estate.
- TerryT2 presents Conceptual Design - First Development posted at Actual Real Estate Profits (discussing his “first real estate development and discovering the first big problem”).
But Jack and his ma had no capital, and the nearest bank was beyond walking distance. So Jack began freelancing, learning the business of freelancing, and taking the first steps to developing a career.
- Silicon Valley Blogger presents Small Business Hassle: Late Payments and How I've Dealt With It posted at The Digerati Life.
- Akemi Gaines presents Price vs Value, How I Make Buying Decisions And Determine My Pricing | Yes to Me posted at Yes to Me.
- squawkfox presents Your Career is Calling: Five Paths to Job Perfection posted at squawkfox.
His ma grew older and soon was no longer able to work. But Jack kept at it, working away, each evening tending to his ma—and tending to his magic beans. Over time, he learned many lessons about how to think about and approach their personal finances.
- The Financial Blogger presents Just One More Time posted at The Financial Blogger (saying, "Einstein once said that the definition of madness was to repeat the same action over and over and expect a different result. This is exactly what happens with the expression ‘just one more time.’”).
- paidtwice presents Financial Health is More Than Numbers, It Is Also About Motivation posted at I've Paid For This Twice Already...
- RC presents The Cost of Procrastination and Being Unorganized posted at Think Your Way to Wealth.
- Todd presents Avoiding Common Financial Mistakes posted at HarvestingDollars.
- Heather Allen presents Poor Lottery Winners posted at The DebtFree Playbook Blog (discussing how, “Our beliefs and the thoughts they engender, set the financial parameters for our life.”).
Thirty years passed, and lo and behold—the beans had grown into an immense beanstalk that reached up to the sky. There were magic beans. They were just a forced and contrived allegorical reference to the power of compounding. In a land far far away, with no child labor laws, Jack turned 36 with a liquid net worth of $1.8 million.
Money wasn’t the end all, be all, but Jack and his ma had a roof over their heads, enough food to eat, and bills that were paid instead of piling up.
Jack was happy. He started telling all of his friends to call him, “Earth.” When asked, “Why should we call you Earth?” Jack replied, “I need an even cooler name. Now that I have a beanstalk that reaches into the sky, people will probably want to name a whole day after me.”
Editor’s Endnote: Thanks for all the submissions. Several great submissions were left out for being a bit too far outside the scope of the Carnival of Money Stories, at least as far as I understand it. As a reminder, the Carnival of Money Stories is for personal stories dealing with money or finances—with the examples given as “personal story/experiences or the stories/experiences of others on saving, investing, finance, money management, money generating, business ventures, success and tales of struggle” and “how you are handling your financial and business challenges as well as your opinions on money news and stories you come across.” Please submit through this link for the next Carnival of Money Stories! The next edition will be hosted by Money Stories. Past and future editions can be found at Blog Carnival and at the Carnival of Money Stories homepage.
Here are links to other personal-finance blog carnivals that I have hosted.