I'll never look at a $20 bill the same way again

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You never know the meaning of money until it's in short supply.

I remember the shock I felt one day. We'd been paying our basic bills on credit, a while after Dad lost his job.

So that day I overheard a girl talk about a great deal she found at a salon where she had French nails done.

"It only cost $20," she said to another girl, who seemed impressed.

My jaw hit the floor because at that time $20 was a fortune to my family. It could've bought healthy groceries, or gas for our car, or heat for our home. (One winter we kept the heat so low, our house felt like a fridge.)

Since then I've learned how easily we middle-class folk throw our money into non-essentials while others quietly exist in want.

I want to be more mindful of how I use my money and what it's value really is. What's pocket change to us might mean the world to another family who's fallen into hard times.

So I've tried to change my spending habits, and sort of see them in the bigger picture. I ask myself twice if I really need the item, or whether the 'sale' is really a good deal after all.

And I'll never look at a $20 bill the same way again.