Before you jump to conclusions, no I didn’t learn how to budget or live frugally because of my Dad. Instead, he taught me one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve ever learned in life, how to live. There was a time in our lives where we struggled, we had to give up everything extra just to get by. If there is one thing I’ve learned from him, it’s memories last longer than stuff. Some of the best memories I have are from when our budgets and money saving went out the window, and we chose adventure instead.
I know what you’re thinking, this goes against everything I preach. It does. I won’t pretend like it doesn’t, but there is an underlying lesson from the blown budgets and the last minute beach trips. That is the lesson he taught me.
I wanted to share with you all (it took everything in me not to say y’all) some of the best memories I have with my Dad. Not all of these are blow-the-budget trips or anything extravagant. In fact, most of them cost very little. All of these memories have one thing in common. They reminded me that in the budgeting and stress to save money, don’t forget to live.
Going to Car shows
One of my favorite memories with my Dad was spent at a car show one afternoon when I was younger. My Dad had three sports cars at one time when we were growing up. Those were his passion and his hobby. He loved speeding down the main boulevard in town in his cars. We drove his Barracuda out to a car show that day and he was so excited to enter. I remember him asking to have my mom drive out his Camaro because he thought it would do better. His car ended up winning 3rd place that day, and it was one of the best shows we went to together.
Moving into my various dorm rooms and apartments
Throughout my college career, my Dad was there for every move in. It never failed that by the time we got there, he would end up carrying every single thing I lugged with me up the stairs to the highest floor of every building. Somehow it always turned into my mother and I decorating/setting up, while he carried everything up the stairs. Then, he’d take me out to lunch or dinner after all the heavy stuff and cable was set up. He moved me into every dorm room and apartment I lived in until the day I moved out of his house.
Breakfast at the St. Regis
The summer after I graduated college, I booked a cruise for us to go to the Bahamas. We ended up being almost four hours early to board the ship, so my Dad treated us to breakfast at probably one of the nicest hotel restaurants I’ve ever set foot in. They had a mimosa bar and just about any breakfast food you could imagine. The view was spectacular, and since we had some extra time after breakfast, we walked along the beach and soaked in the warm Florida air from the pool.
When I was a kid, my Dad would take me out to watch drag races at a place called Piedmont Dragway. We would walk around the grassy area and look at all the different cars and eat hot dogs (this was back in my meat eating days). We’d sit up in the stands and bet on which car would win, the outside or inside. We spent most of my summer nights by that race track watching the Big Dogs race.
The Blackout Game- ECU Vs. UCONN
My senior year was awesome. My Dad came to every single home football game, and I even hosted my first tailgate for one of them. Thursday night games typically started around 7pm, and since they were at night they were usually “blackout” games. Our team was the ECU Pirates, and at least one group of people would paint their faces to look like skulls and their arms to make crossbones. My senior year my friends and I decided we were going to paint our faces for that game since we’d never done it before. The best part? We even got my Dad to join in! People were taking pictures of him thinking he was a dedicated Alumni member coming up for a game. I loved having my Dad visit for football games, followed by a stop at our favorite restaurant in Greenville, Sup Dogs.
My senior year of college, my Dad took me to see the Daytona 400 in Florida. The trip turned out to be an almost complete washout. It rained so hard we ended up being delayed by an entire day. On the second day, when they were supposed to race, they only made about 2 laps before being called off for rain AGAIN. Even though we only got to see about two laps of the race, it was still a thrilling experience to even be in the stands for that race.
I didn’t learn my frugal living or money saving tips from my Dad, but he did teach me how to have fun. He taught me that sometimes the best memories you’ll create are the ones that weren’t budgeted for. He never worried about money, in fact, my mother had to take the debit card away from him. He taught me how to make the most out of every dollar, and that sometimes a Starbucks coffee is what you need most. Thank you Dad, for teaching me the value of experiences and how they are what will last the test of time.