Question of the Day

What’s the first thing you ever bought with your own money? It doesn’t technically have to be the first ever thing; it could be the first thing you bought for yourself, or the first birthday present for a parent you didn’t have to request money to buy her/him, or your first car, or your first home… Just whatever seems really notable to you. Or, if you’re still waiting for that One Thing, on what have you set your sights?

What’s most memorable to me, for some reason, is the first record I ever bought with my own money, which was Wham! Make It Big. I was 10. I’d saved my allowance for weeks. Rock.

I think that same year was the first time I bought Christmas presents for my family with my diligently saved allowance. They were crap gifts, but I paid for ’em myself!

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46 Comments

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46 responses to “Question of the Day

  1. PortlyDyke

    My first big-ticket item (saving for months), age 9, was a “Little Kiddles”, in the plastic locket.

    Admittedly, this was a very weird purchase for a tomboy, but it was cooool! It came in a plastic locket!

    My mom was completely disgusted by my wanton wastage of my allowance money (I think it was $2.69? — $2000 in today’s money), and took it away from me, until my uncle (who later turned out to be gay) came to the rescue and rendered Justice, telling my mom that, if it was my money, I could spend it any way I liked (and that he would give her stink-eye into eternity if she didn’t give it back).

    Let’s hear it for Little Kiddles
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Lucky-Locket-Kittle-Mattel-1966-Green_W0QQitemZ110127714471QQihZ001QQcategoryZ2436QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    and Gay Uncles!

  2. We went to Disneyland in 1977 and I spent $12 on my first skateboard. I still have it.

    My first piece of music was a cassette tape of 1999 by Prince that I bought when I was 12 or 13. That one, sadly, wore out.

  3. The first thing I remember buying with money I’d saved was also an album, and probably even more embarrassing than Wham! It was Styx’s Paradise Theater, and I wore that fucker out on my parents’ turntable.

    The best of tiiiiiiiiiiiiiimes
    Are when I’m aloooooone with yoooooooooou

    I’ll be over here in the corner if you want to throw stuff at me

  4. PetervE

    The first thing I remember buying with my allowance was the BeeGees album “Idea”, in their psychedelic era (’68?).

  5. I saved money like crazy for a visit to my cousin in Denver– once there, we went to the mall and I bought the soundtrack for Quantum Leap.

  6. Chuck Champion

    First big purchase with my own money (saved from paper route) was the 3-speed “english racer” bike to replace the old beater I used for the paper route (probably age 13 or so). Next big purchase with my own money (earned at my first job right out of high school, while I was supposed to be saving for college) was an antique milk glass double-globe lamp, painted with flowers and stuff, as a gift for my mother, who was very suspicious “how” I had gotten the money and “why” I was giving her this gift. First lesson in my life that gifts sometimes backfire.

  7. The first thing I ever bought with my own money, birthday card money, was a bear figurine for my mother because she loved teddy bears and I wanted to do something to make her happy and at that point her happiness was more important than me buying myself stuff.

    That actually started a long trend of trying to make her happy. *headshake*

  8. A bag o’ weed purchased with $ from my very first paycheck; it was $35 for an ounce. Damn, I miss those days!!

  9. It probably wasn’t the very first, but the one I remember was my Rodan action-figure; stands over a foot tall, with working claws and wings, and screeching beak-action. (This is Rodan from the Godzillaverse, not the painter.) We lived out in the sticks, so I ordered it out of the Sears catalog, which was a big deal at the time. I enjoyed playing with it very much, and I still own it, all these years later. Best of all, in the unlikely event I ever tire of it, I can sell it on eBay and double or even triple my original investment..

  10. Misty

    The first thing I recall buying with my own money were three Popples (some stuffed toy that was from some 80s cartoon). I figured out that I could get three little ones for the price of one big one. Score! I was six. LOL

    I got the money from a very guilt-ridden tooth fairy. What happened was my grandpa tricked me into laughing by tickling me. Thus he had me on the floor with my mouth open and he pulled out four of my teeth. Then they took pictures of me extremely pissed off with blood coming from my face. Damn family. I did manage to get $25 from the tooth fairy for that crap.

  11. The first thing I ever bought was the 45 of Elton John’s song Empty Garden. Which started a long history of buying 45s. I think it was well after a year later that I bought my first full length album: Rio.

  12. SAP

    The first thing I bought with my first paycheck:

    I still have that album.

  13. Meet the Beatles at the C&F Variety Store in Perrysburg, Ohio, in January 1964. I was eleven.

  14. A Nancy Drew book. Of course.

  15. What is money?

    I used borrowed money so much I’m not even sure what I bought with my own money that would be notable. But I must say I’m happy to be living in a house I don’t rent, even if there is a mortgage.

    I guess what I’m saving up for is the day I can plunk down cash for either a house or some land or both.

  16. Hey, I love Styx.

    I am not old enough to buy one of their albums as a first purchase…

    and I can’t think of anything in answer to this question.

    I guess, I would say all the law school expenses that I paid for come to mind. I paid for undergraduate and law school all on my own (with loans, of course too). I have always worked and gone to school so the idea of being able to do that on my own is sometimes rewarding, and sometimes depressing.

  17. A Nintendo 64 bundled with Super Mario 64.

    No joke, I saved up quarters and allowance money for a whole year to buy that sucker. And it was worth every penny.

  18. PortlyDyke, I had a Lucky Locket, but I am older than you, I think. Too young for it to be my own money.

    In 1975 (I was 14) I spent $4 for a plain black t-shirt. I can’t tell you how much that t-shirt meant to me. I get chills remembering it. See, this was the first article of clothing I bought without my mother or step-mother there. My mother was very particular about my clothes. She is Ms. Tasteful and I’m sure her choices were excellent, but they weren’t my choices. In that era, I longed for hippie clothes but was too young to make that choice myself, and was very bad at expressing myself with my mom.

    Meanwhile, whatever my step-mother bought me was ripped apart by my mom. It was tasteless, it was the wrong size, it was shoddy. And my step-mom didn’t like what my mom bought me either. Every article of clothing was a fight, every item was a rope in the tug of war between the two households.

    That t-shirt was my first step away from all that.

  19. Grandjester

    LP, Cheap Trick, Dream Police

  20. MR. Bill

    1968, with money from raising chickens: the Goldberg Variations Anthony Newman at the harpsichord. I took some ribbing, but classical music has saved my life in several senses. Still have a copy, although I’ve grown to love Glenn Gould.

  21. When I was 12 I worked at my grandparents’ convenience store and cafe for an entire summer. They paid me at the end of the summer (I think about $700), and I bought my first computer… a Coleco ADAM. It was very early consumer-grade and hardly useful, but I LOVED it.

    The tradition continues, because while my friends and family use the same computers for-EVER, I am constantly yearning for the latest model of Mac and iPod. I usually buy a new machine every 2 years or so (at the most).

  22. Phoenician in a time of Romans

    The first thing I remember buying with money I’d saved was also an album, and probably even more embarrassing than Wham! It was Styx’s Paradise Theater, and I wore that fucker out on my parents’ turntable.

    I’ve got you beaten – the Grease soundtrack on LP.

    O, the embarrassment!

  23. mamajane

    The first purchase that really sticks out in my memory was when I was about 8 years old. I desperately wanted an angel-wing blouse, the kind that were in style in the mid-70’s, but my parents couldn’t afford to buy us impractical clothes. My grandma was a phenomenal seamstress, and she made a deal with me: if I could save up enough chore money to buy the fabric and lace, she would supply all of the thread, the pattern, and other notions, and help me to make my own blouse. We worked on that thing for two afternoons, and I was sooooo proud of it. Then it went out of style about fifteen minutes later.

    My proudest purchase of all time is our home and land. We had to wait a lot of years, but it was so worth holding out for the right time and place.

  24. Due to my mother not allowing me to have them bought for me, I bought a Barbie doll. I still remember the thrill of standing at the register with my own money (cash I got from painstakingly rolling what seemed like millions of pennies and taking them to the bank) in Peoria, Illinois (away from Mom).

    Thanks for asking!

  25. I was never allowed to spend money from work or the rare gift or allowance as a kid. It all had to go straight to the savings account for college. If I wanted something, it had to be fundraised or asked for and critically evaluated by my parents (even the most insignificant things). The first real thing I ever bought on my own was the laptop I purchased before leaving for college. I love it and continue to be really proud of it.

  26. Alix

    A book on dinosaurs when I was in kindergarten. (Yes, I could read it; I was insulted that adults kept asking me that, actually.) It was partly with birthday money, and partly with chore money. (We didn’t get an allowance, per se; chores had set monetary values, and as we did ’em, we got paid.)

    Still have the book, too.

  27. pidomon

    When I was growing up we had things called “Christmas Accounts” that every payday Dad would put 5 bucks into for each of us kids so I don’t know if this counts as my own money or not.
    I bought my Mom the most hideous Christmas Tree ornament pin (for Christmas not realizing it would be another year before she could wear it).
    She loved that pin and wore it every year. She always told me how much she loved it. After about 20 years the pin gave out. So I went out (now being a succesful college grad) and bought her another very ugly pin which she loved almost as much.

  28. Stephanie

    My first CD was Garbage’s pink (self titled) album…
    and my first vhs horror movie was Halloween 3 (on sale, and for a good reason. that was the biggest waste of money. ever.)

  29. You guys are so young!!

    sigh.

    A 45. Anyone remember those?

    mine was Sunshine by Jonathan Edwards

    funny how these lyrics are still relative today.

    Sunshine go away today,
    I don’t feel much like dancin’
    Some man’s gone, he’s tried to run my life
    Don’t know what he’s askin’

    He tells me I’d better get in line
    Can’t hear what he’s sayin’
    When I grow up, I’m gonna make it mine
    These ain’t dues I been payin’

    How much does it cost? I’ll buy it.
    The time is all we’ve lost. I’ll try it.
    He can’t even run his own life,
    I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine
    Sunshine

    Sunshine go away today,
    I don’t feel much like dancin’
    Some man’s gone, he’s tried to run my life
    Don’t know what he’s askin’

    Working starts to make me wonder where
    fruits of what I do are going
    He says in love and war all is fair
    He’s got cards he ain’t showin’

    How much does it cost? I’ll buy it.
    The time is all we’ve lost. I’ll try it.
    He can’t even run his own life,
    I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine
    Sunshine

    Sunshine come on back another day
    I promise you I’ll be singin’
    This old world she’s gonna turn around
    brand new bells’ll be ringin’

  30. jeanne marie

    KTL – mine was a 45, too. Actually, I bought two with my birthday money: “Hey Jude” and “Harper Valley PTA”!

  31. hk

    The first thing i remember buying with my own money was a huge stuffed bear. I still have the darn thing too.

    If I was actually embarassed by it I think I might possibly win the most embarassing first album buy… The best of the village people.

  32. “Flood” by They Might Be Giants for 8 bucks, I believe. I got paid for helping my sister baby sit my 2 and 4 year old cousins, who were a couple of brats back then.

    Love that album, though.

  33. Ah, commenting seems to be moving along mas rapido. Bueno!

  34. PortlyDyke

    So, sis, this thread has sparked a QOD for me — with qualifiers:

    What is your:
    Age:
    Race:
    Gender:
    Culture of Origin:

    AND
    How did you “make” money as a child?

  35. Reba

    http://thumbsnap.com/v/bs9MSgiX.jpg

    Don’t know if that image will come out, since it doesn’t on preview – it’s Earth Wind & Fire, All ‘N All. A friend and I did a heinous babysitting job and decided to buy the album and share custody. We were 14. I know I bought stuff before that (especially books), but this is what stood out.

  36. My twin brother and I saved pennies and nickels to purchase an Army tank that was advertised in the back of a comic book.

    The ad said that the tank had “real missiles” that could be fired from a four-foot cannon.

    We waited weeks for it to arrive. We had dreams of blowing up the house of the neighborhood bully.

    Boy were we disappointed! The tank was nothing more than a cardboard box with a cartoon tank printed on it.

    The missles were plastic and launched via a huge rubberband.

    My brother found the ad in an old comic book recently…

  37. The first thing was a hair piece, bought for $30 when I was eleven (this was back in like, 1969, so that was a lot of money). I saved my allowance for a year. My mom wouldn’t let me grow my hair long, which I had badly wanted for years — but she didn’t tell me what to do with my money. So I bought a hair piece.

    Wore it to school; some boys pulled it off and laughed at me. I was deeply humiliated, and never wore it again.

    My second purchase was a Smith-Corona electric typewriter, bought when I was 14 for $150 or thereabouts so I could type my stories instead of writing them by hand. A much more satisfying purchase, long-term. I owned it for years, till I got my first computer in 1984, in fact.

  38. Kym

    Kitty Surprise, when I was 5 or 6. My allowance was a dollar a week, and Kitty Surprise was about $30. It took FOREVER to save up.

  39. katecontinued

    When I was little I remember saving allowance for Christmas gifts; Gram E. Desert Flower lotion, Mom Hypnotique cologne and Dad’s Old Spice. Smelly gifts.

    More memorable was saving babysitting money all year (35 cents an hour) to get the $18 needed for a week at summer camp. I was so proud.

    I also vividly remember winning a little miss 10-year old contest and getting
    $25. I used it for dance lessons.

    Happy memories. I enjoyed reading these.

  40. the first thing i bought, for me, with my own money (money from working in the melon fields not from playing music with da) was a 1950 Pontiac Chieftan coupe. that fucking car was cool.

  41. katecontinued

    When I was little I remember saving allowance for Christmas gifts; Gram E. Desert Flower lotion, Mom Hypnotique cologne and Dad’s Old Spice. Smelly gifts.

    More memorable was saving babysitting money all year (35 cents an hour) to get the $18 needed for a week at summer camp. I was so proud.

    I also vividly remember winning a little miss 10-year old contest and getting
    $25. I used it for dance lessons.

    Happy memories. I enjoyed reading these.

  42. Goss

    A scientific calculator for classes I had in High School. A Texas Instrument with LED number output! A lot of money at the time and a very large calculator to boot.

  43. mikefromtexas

    mine was an LP too, Santana – Abraxas. I already had a few LPs won at carnivals and the guy who ran the bar my dad always took me to let me keep all the old 45s after they were changed out of the juke box, but that was the first one I actually saved up for. Still have it, still plays great.

  44. 1984 by Van Halen! I bought a cassette tape! I was SO proud of myself.

  45. Evelyn

    God help me, my first purchase was a Joan Baez album. I was 14 and had my first job at the local library. The album was $4 (for $5 you could get stereo. What did I need with stereo?).

  46. I was really proud of myself when I bought my first car, a little green Honda Civic. It was a great car, and buying it made me feel like a grownup.

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