Sunday, December 12, 2010

He who gathers money little by little...

My computer has been on the fritz. Got a little virus that shut me down for a few days and it hasn't been up to speed since. The blessing came in the form of a friend (one of those amazing computer dudes) who fixed it for us, thus saving us $100 office visit. We took him out to eat.

Anywho. Here's a story for you. See if you can relate.

A friend of mine flips houses for a living (well, actually she rents a few also) and recently she hired a lady who was down on her luck and jobless to help her on a few projects, even though my friend really didn't need the help. The first day on the job, this lady showed up with a large coffee, two 2 liters of Coke, a large bag of chips and other junk food. My friend happened to see the receipt. She had purchased all this junk at the gas station. The total was $15.41. (No, not including gas.) My friend emailed me the story because she knew I would shudder like she did. Here is a woman who has been out of work for months. Her first day on the job, before she ever sees a paycheck, she spends her first 1.5 hours in wages on junk food...and overpriced junkfood at that! "I just had to share," my frugal friend told me, "I knew you would commiserate with me."

Obviously, spending $15.41 on junk food won't send you to the poor house, but a mentality of spending what you don't have certainly will. My good friend was frustrated. "I felt like I was throwing my money away," she told me. And in essence, she was. What a difference if the lady had brought in bread, milk and a bag of fruit from Wal-Mart or Aldi.

I read a book once (can't for the life of me remember the name) and the author was making his case for wise spending. "Look at it like this, " he said, "every time you spend your hourly wage on a frivilous product, you are forcing yourself to work one extra hour before you can retire." We can all argue about what is frivilous, the virtues of never retiring and the validity of the occasional frivilous spend, but you get the point. Don't spend what you don't have. And when you do spend, spend wisely!

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