My uncle, a musician, wants to buy me a guitar for Christmas. I’m really excited about this – I really really would love to have a guitar. And when he asked me what I liked, I gave him some general ideas, but stressed that while I wanted something that would sound good, I’m a relative beginner so I wanted something inexpensive, something I could upgrade in a few years if I wanted to.
He wanted me to go to a local guitar place and check out a few different shapes and styles to see what I liked the best. And suddenly, the gift became awkward.
When I gave him generics, I knew that I was still talking a pricey gift, but I could ignore the cost. Plus I figure he has all sorts of connections and could find something much cheaper than I could. But then I had to go to the store and see the price and then make a decision, knowing that he wants to get me something I want, but I needed to keep it in a reasonable price range.
I found one that seemed reasonable, but getting him the information just felt painfully awkward. “Hi, buy me this.” Even though that’s what he wanted me to do. Money and family is just awkward.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
Aww, I wouldn’t feel weird about it. I’m a musician and I used to work in a music (instruments, etc.) store, and that’s the best thing you can do–check them out in person, even if you don’t know how to play yet. You need to make sure it’s a good fit for you physically as well as for your personality, because then you’re more likely to stick with playing. This way you get the best bang for your buck (or he gets the best bang for his buck) and anyway, that sounds like a wonderful gift. I’m all for people giving the gift of music, because it’s something that you can stick with all your life and it honestly can bring people together. Who knows–you could end up loving it and going to jam sessions occasionally (and making friends with like-minded folks :-P). Sounds like a fantastic uncle you’ve got there!
There are great entry-points in good guitars…my husband was a bass player and wanted to play a guitar everyonce in a while. He bought a $300 baby taylor (the big baby as he’s 6’4″), which is a very reasonable price. He gets more complements on the tone and sound of that ‘cheap’ guitar. It’s almost ridiculous, when he’s sitting next to a guy playing a $4500 Collins model. Just make sure it fits your body and have your uncle (or other musician) play it to ensure it has good mechanics & sound! And don’t feel awkward – your uncle wants to share somehting really precious with you.
Haha, yeah, I can imagine it would be strange going back and saying “get me this one!”
What did you end up choosing?? Were you going acoustic or electric?
I always felt so self conscious playing in stores because I wasn’t very good, but you definitely gotta test them out first – how they look, feel and sound.