August 28, 2012 by quirkyuncle
… and the dollars will take care of themselves.
Benjamin Franklin spoke wisely when he said these words. The advice is as valid today as it was in the 1700s.
Several years ago, we had a party at our house where we invited some friends from work. The following day, one of my coworkers approached me.
“We had a great time at your house, but there is something my husband and I just don’t understand. We make a lot more money than you guys, but our house looks like crap compared to yours. How can you afford nice furniture when we can’t?”
She walked off to get some breakfast, leaving me a bit surprised. When she returned, I asked her a few questions.
“What are you eating?”
“Breakfast off the truck, like I do every day.”
“What did it cost?”
“What about your husband?”
“He eats in the cafeteria every morning, costs about the same.”
“How about lunch?”
“We pick something up, it’s like $5 each.”
“We go out, four or five times a week. Maybe $30 each time.”
“Did you go on vacation last year?”
“You know we went skiing in Aspen last winter and to Mexico last summer. Why all the questions?”
“Well,” I explained, “you asked how I could afford furniture. Here’s the answer. Seems like you’re spending over $1000/month just eating out. I have breakfast at home and bring my lunch – cereal, bread, and cold-cuts are cheap. We only go out to dinner about once a month. We vacationed at home last year, worked on our house, and went to the beach. Simplify your life and you can easily afford some new furnishings.”
We all like nice things. The problem is that most of us can’t have it all, so we need to make choices. We concentrate on the big things, which makes sense. We’ll reduce our “tangible consumption” and shop less. My point here is that we need to consider the small invisible items, too, as they can add up really fast.
So, next time your couch and drapes look a little dingy, think twice about the little things.