|Mayflowers that we found when out and about today - so lovely!|
Our day yesterday involved cleaning our house, baking bread, working on flowers for a wedding, having a US Congressional candidate over to our house for lunch along with her campaign manager and 4 delegates/alternates that she was wanting to reach out to, delivering the wedding flowers, having our neighbors (just back from being in Texas for the winter!) over for supper. It was a good and fun day but I was tired when it was over.
There were many conversations that went on at our house yesterday (both at lunch and supper) that really made me think about the different ideas that people have about living life and how that can really affect their financial stability.
One of the things that really got me thinking was a conversation we had with our neighbors at supper. We were discussing Mara's new job at the icecream shop and then just icecream places in general. A frozen yogurt place in our area was mentioned and none of us had ever been there except our boys who had gone with friends. We wondered if it was expensive and Aaron thought that it probably did cost around $5 per person. Alice commented that you could buy a whole bunch of ice cream at the store for that amount (rather than just enough for one person) and I totally agreed with her. Then I shared that when I had taken the kids to the place Mara works that it had cost us over $20 just for 5 of us. Merle's reaction to that was "That sounds like a once in a lifetime treat". Now I doubt he was truly serious about it being something that was done only once in a lifetime but I totally agree that it is a rare treat to do something like that. It just doesn't make good financial sense in my eyes to spend that much on a treat very often at all.
Merle and Alice aren't poor (In fact I think they are probably fairly well to do -they own 2 homes - a nice one here and one in Texas) but they are frugal and I think that many people would do well to observe some financially stable older people like them and learn from them. In my observation most people that are fairly well off and are financially stable have many frugal habits. They have a different way of thinking than the people that are deeply in debt.
Here are some ideas that I think help people to be financially stable:
- They understand that treats are to be occasional/rare - not an everyday thing.
- They have patience and don't expect to have everything just the way they like it immediately. (They can wait for a sale or wait until they have cash to buy something rather than going in debt.)
- They don't like to waste. (Alice commented on her dislike of wasting even a very small amount of food- I agree.)
- They think about the cost of things that they are buying - as in how many hours do I need to work to pay for that item or what other things could I buy for that same amount of money.
- They buy quality items and then use them until they are worn out rather than buy a lot of cheap things that don't last.
- They enjoy work and work hard.
- They take care of what they do have.
Those were not in order of importance but rather in order of how I thought of them. Do you agree with those philosophies? Do you have any others to add?
I did want to add that I fully realize that we all have different choices/ priorities when it comes to "treats/splurges". Our family really enjoys traveling/exploring and so we are willing to spend more money on that. This summer we have a trip planned to take a train (we have always wanted to do that) out to Glacier National Park and then do a week long back packing trip. We the cost of train tickets, reservations (it costs over $40 a night for us to sleep in a campsite when backpacking and then we did decide to rent a cabin on both ends just to make sure we did have a place to stay - as things can fill up if you aren't there super early - which we couldn't be and that cost a lot too), special food and some gear this trip is costing in the thousands. So we do spend money on treats - and maybe for some other people their treat of choice is going to an expensive ice cream shop every week - they might not care to go traveling or whatever. We all get to make choices but I think we should do them thoughtfully and try not to go into debt and become a burden on society.