"I had my eye on a fancy art set when I was about 7 or 8. I saw it at a toy store and begged my parents for it for weeks. We'd go to the store, and I'd spend the entire time staring at it. It was $50, so my mom agreed that, if I could save $25, she'd pay the other half. I saved up $15, then lost my wallet in the same toy store. I was so devastated that my mom bought it for me anyway. I ended up going to art school, so it turned out to be a good investment in my future!
"When I was in fifth grade, I became obsessed with the idea of owning a domesticated sugar glider, this adorable and wacky little mammal. I would draw pictures of sugar gliders and hang them on the fridge, and I wrote a persuasive essay called 'Why I Should Get A (Domesticated) Sugar Glider' and presented it to my parents — I even included a PowerPoint presentation!
"My mother finally said, 'If you save up for half, I will pay the other half for it.' I knew that sugar gliders were hundreds of dollars, but I had no grasp of money and was filled with hope and naiveté so I saved my allowance, I skipped dessert at lunch a lot, and asked to do lots of chores around the house for extra money. I saved around $50...when my mom took me to the mall. We went in the store. We left with my brand-new $50 statuette of Jessica Rabbit."
"I wanted a lava lamp more than anything in the world when I was a kid. I remember actively saving for a lava lamp. Then my grandpa found one when he was cleaning out his basement and gave it to me. It was weirdly unsatisfying."
"It took me forever to save up for a digital pet because I only got a $1 allowance a week. I had to wait 10 weeks to get it...but when I got it, it was so glorious."
"I really wanted a Baby G watch when I was younger. I was obsessed and thought they were the coolest. On my birthday one year, my parents got me a baby blue one as a gift. I was SO happy.
"That summer I went to camp and the swim staff demanded that I take the watch off to swim (even though I'm pretty sure it was water-proof). I took it off and handed it to my swim instructor, and he DROPPED IT in the lake by accident, and the chunky thing quickly sunk, despite his efforts to reach through the dock and grab it. I never quite forgave him."
"I saved for a puppy; I wanted a big fluffy German Shepherd puppy, and I swore I would marry it. My piggy bank was on the verge of exploding when Santa brought me the dog, so I think I probably used that money for candy or something.
"Eventually they gave him away 'cause he was twice my size and kept knocking me over."
"My family used to take summer trips to Las Vegas when I was a kid. One year, maybe when I was around 6 or 7, I became fixated on the idea of getting a miniature, portable slot machine piggy bank. For the next year, I saved up everything I could: birthday money, Christmas money, money made from trading old toys I didn't want anymore. I even hustled extra hard at my family's semi-annual garage sale just to up my funds.
"The next summer we went back to Las Vegas, and I got that slot machine piggy bank. It lit up when you put quarters in it. You could pull the crank, and it made fun little noises and the dials spun. When you matched all three, it went crazy and dispensed whatever money was in it. I broke it within one day of having it. But I kept it and used it to store loose change for a long time after that — it added a cool, knick-knacky vibe to my kid room."
"I vividly remember counting quarters on my bedroom floor to get to $100 and buy a Super Nintendo."
"When I was 9 or 10, I desperately wanted a miniature gumball machine. I remember seeing it in a candy store and immediately knowing that it had to be mine. I obsessed about it for a while and told all of my friends about it (it was big news!) and saved all of my allowance. I don't think I saved enough, though, so eventually my parents bought it for my birthday. Once I had it, the novelty quickly wore off, and it collected dust in my room until I moved out."
"In high school I wanted nothing more in this world than a Cobalt Blue Dodge Ram 1500 with a hemi. I would get my learner's permit in six months, and, boy, I thought it would be swell if I had a new car to learn to drive on. But I was 14 years old and poor — so I got a job.
That summer I worked at a River Outfitter selling inner tubes and attending a parking lot in the sweltering Texas heat. The work was miserable, and I was being paid $5.25 per hour. Never did it cross my mind that I would need to work for 152 weeks at this wage to save up enough for the truck.
This pipe dream snapped in two along with my tibia during the second week of July. I was wrestling with my friends and they pulled a cheap move. My ankle was broken. I couldn't walk. And that meant I couldn't work.
I spent the rest of the summer inside. I don't remember what I did with the money I'd earned, but I know I learned to drive on my mom's minivan."