Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Dollars and Sense
At times when I'm faced with spending a quantity of cash, and right now that would be for a house, but in the past we're talking; vehicles, Christmas - I get very cranial about people and their relationship with money.
I believe in every relationship there is the "Saver" and there is "Spender". In my marriage, I'm the latter. This is mostly due to the fact that I have the task of buying groceries and household items, clothing for the children and am genuinely interested in consumerism. Note I did not say "consumed". But there are different kinds of Savers like there are different kinds of Spenders.
A woman I know is currently not in the workforce, mostly by her own choosing. Her husband has taken ill and in spite of the fact that they have a very comfortable lifestyle in suburban T.O., they are now starting to feel the crunch. He can't earn the coin and she's chosen not to. She prefers to shop. This is a Toxic Spender. I would classify myself more in the Gathering Spender category. I can go days without even thinking about buying something - including groceries, but when we run out of something, it is inherently my job to acquire or "Gather" it.
Because The Big Guy and I work FREAKIN' hard at more than one job, we have evolved in our relationships with money. For me, when it comes time to make a larger purchase, such as our truck earlier this year, I'm all about doing the research. I will scour the Internet, magazines, ask others for input and general become a Private Investigator, looking for any and all information relating to the item I'm looking to buy. Did it with my camera, the fridge, dishwasher, flooring....you get the idea.
But when it comes time to seal the deal, lay down the cash TBG and I have very different reactions. Because he works so hard for his money, he feels a certain frustration - could be in how much he feels the item is actually worth, how long it has taken him to earn that much cash or just the fact that he'd rather see it come in than go out. In short, he's not the kind of guy you want to have around when you go Christmas shopping.
I've chosen a different path. I knew how expensive my camera was going to be before I bought it. I could have chosen a more moderately priced model, but the reviews were better for the one I selected and the price tag was justified. I knew I was going to be able to make money with the camera and had the entire thing paid for in just over a year. The day I bought that camera I was like a kid in a candy store.
When I signed the paperwork to take ownership of my new truck, I was positively giddy - not because I was being immature, but because I work for every dime I earn and if I don't get enjoyment out of spending that dime, the the time I spent earning it was wasted.
Now I'm not giving the "all clear" for people to spend what they don't have. The hole gets deep quick when you are going in, and even more challenging when you have to try and get out! I'm talking about the natural progression of ones lifestyle and the needs and demands we all have.
Most of us work because we HAVE to. While if I won the lottery, I must admit, I would likely take some time away from the 9 to 5, I would still volunteer. But the reward of work is not just the satisfaction of a job well done. Cash is the great motivator. What do you use that cash for? To acquire things, be it food, shelter or "other".
To work 3/4 of your life and not enjoy the spoils of what that toil affords you is indeed a waste of an existence.