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February 25, 2014 | By: Emma Rogers

3 basic money lessons I learned from working in a sausage factory.

You read that right. When I was at University I worked every summer in a factory that made bacon, pies and sausages. Not very glam but of all the jobs I’ve had since I was 16 this was by far my favourite one. Not just because I would earn enough in one summer to support myself for two semesters but also because of the skills I picked up there and what it taught me about a hard day’s work.

This is on reflection of course since, at the time, I thought having to work every summer made me the least fortunate person in the world ever. I did a stint in each part of the factory but my favourite summer was my summer in what was referred to as the ‘sausage house.’ The bacon house was boring as heck, just so you know.

The sausage house is where they really had to hustle to get things done. The production quotas were huge and seconds wasted would translate into not meeting orders. There were two lines and on each line there were eight of us who had a small but very important role. Mine was to tie the sausages into little bundles before they would move down the line to get wrapped, labelled and packed.

You had fractions of a second to get your bit done or you would mess up the whole system and the people of Ireland would face a bleak sausage shortage. In the rare event that something went wrong it was usually human error and obvious who had messed up and let me tell you, you would be held accountable. None of this, “ah well at least you tried your best” malarkey. It would be more like, “if we lose this Tescos order because of you Rogers, not only will you be out of a job but so will everyone else.”

1). There is no feeling like the feeling of buying something you worked hard to save for. The first summer I worked there I bought myself a Nokia 3310 cell phone. The kids would ROFL if you offered them one today but at the time it was top of the line and cool. Buying something on your credit card and then paying it off monthly has nothing on the feeling of saving first then buying. If you’re carrying purchases on your credit card you’ll have to pay interest. If you need a little motivator on not using your credit card for life’s little luxuries then check out our debt repayment calculator. There’ll be items that you have to finance like a home or car but try saving up for something and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it more.

2). If you haven’t earned it, don’t spend it. Being salaried can put you into a false sense of security that your next pay cheque is guaranteed. When you get paid hourly you don’t always know that you’ll get your full hours. If you’re into your next paycheque before you get it then disaster can ensue. This cycle of debt can be seen in Payday lending. If you depend on Payday loans I encourage you to call us for financial help.

3). Break costs down into hours worked. Before the sausage factory I was all about designer jeans. Until I realized that I would have to work 16.86 hours to buy a pair. Days! For one pair of jeans. If you’re carrying credit card debt you may want to break down the interest into hours worked…for Mastercard!


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