Today's topic: Money. Money that we spend on ourselves. Money that is burning a hole in our chinos and gets spent on something we maybe really don't need per se but rather on something we want.
Some call it "discretionary spending."
Here's how it works in my house:
1) I get paid.
2) I buy what I want.
3) And then pay the bills.
I kid. But only a little bit.
I'll readily admit, right up front, that spending more than I should on the little luxuries of life is part and parcel of being me.
I blame a bunch of people for this.
My grandmother used to give me some folding money and then tell me to spend it on whatever I wanted. If I considered buying something for someone else, or getting something I needed, like new underwear, she'd have a Guernsey. Birthday or Christmas money that wasn't spent on baseball cards or Hot Wheels cars or a new Atari game was money put to no good use at all. Seldom, unfortunately, did I see the other side of the coin (pun intended) where she and grandpa saved their money, paid their debts, and lived financially-responsible lives.
Also my dad. He sent me to do some real work as soon as it was legal, and then often "borrowed" money from me come payday if he needed it. For what, I never knew. I only knew that the money I earned wasn't always going in my pocket. To spent however I wanted. So when I had some money left over? You guessed it. I spent it on whatever I wanted. Movies. Fast food. LPs. And I never sat any aside because I didn't want to have to eventually give it up to The Man. Never mind the fact that the money he "borrowed" probably went to put food down my gullet and clothes on my ample backside.
(I blame them for being fat most of my life as well.)
Not much has changed. I make the money now. I do clothe and feed my children when they've been good, but mostly I just spend it.
Video games. CDs. New shoes. (I have more pairs of shoes than my wife.)
Speaking of my wife. She is the frugal one. Which is why we have a joint checking account. She doesn't work. (For money, anyway. Truth be told, she works way harder than I do!) Hasn't since the oldest boy was born. It was a decision we made long ago and we don't regret a moment of these past 15-or-so years. It hasn't been easy. We aren't keeping up with the Joneses. But we've never wanted to live that way. She scrapbooks for fun, and loves to read, so together we see that her playtime is stocked with the stuff she needs. And occasionally we splurge for a want or three. Soon we will be springing for her to take a Master Gardener class through the local university extension office. She wants to do this, so we'll see that it happens.
Where am I going with this tale? I don't know, really. I could suck my thumb and wax all melancholy about how we don't have the huge nest egg or seeded rainy day fund that most of you probably have set aside. Or how we don't drive the fancy cars with the GPS and the doohickeys that tell when you're about to hit something when you're backing up. Or how we've never been to the Poconos or Disney Whatever. Nope. I won't go there. Instead, we have our habits and hobbies and hangups, and we're doing alright, thank you very much.
And if, one day, the bottom falls out? Then I'll just look for someone else to blame . . .
1 year ago