Monday, July 14, 2008

Not Greedy Enough

You know, I was writting the numbers on that last credit card and it was hard!
I felt a big weight in my heart and over my head. I got a chill down my spine and my mind was trying to answer myself how did I get into so much debt?!
I try to remember where did the money go. It went to several things and over and over again it did.
Eventually my boss called me to see some numbers on some stuff we are going to purchase for the company and I could see him going over the little details and trying to squeeze out every penny from the 3 companies quoting us.
Then I remember that he recently just payed about $5000 to his credit cards to clean them up for a trip he made. He gave his wife a limit to spend on the trip and he set himself a limit too.
He's also got some other businesses were he makes sure that every dollar gets a good return on the investment.
It suddenly hit me that I haven't been greedy enough. No, no, I don't mean being evil and stepping on people to get every coin. Rather in the sense of making sure that the money spent is spent well and on things or services for a purpose other than just for spending.
He has all this money and doesn't spend as much on some things as I do and he saves a lot. I understand that with so many incomes he has it's probably easier for him. He has houses, cars and other assets paid in full. But he must have gotten there somehow and i'm sure it wasn't spending money getting new cellphones every year or travelling to the US 3 times in a year (like I allowed my wife to do).
It's a really sad feeling to remember the vacations we took to the beach and that I charged on my credit cards. From the rental van to the hotel rooms to the meals.
I also helped a lot of people for a long time. Mostly on my wife's side. If I hadn't help I wonder what would've happened to them and I also wonder what would've happened to us and our finances. It's definitely a lot more expensive to sustain a house with 10 to 12 people in it that just 5 or 6.
I also remember the stupid gadgets I bought every now and then. I almost felt for the same thing just a couple of days ago. I saw this miniature remote control helicopter for $30 and I felt I had to have it.
Then my newly discovered greedy little man kicked me in the head. He said "Hey, let it go. You'll probably get frustated trying to fly it. And when are going to find time to fly it? What kind of an example are you going to set for your wife and kids about spending the money? and once you get it will it be something useful? No, it will be a time waster!"
Then I took another advice I read sometime ago. Whenever feeling to buy something, write it down and let it be for a week. If after a week you still want it then go ahead and do some research. Most things you will probably not want to buy after a week of just letting them sit in the little notepad. The "urge" to buy them will have passed and that will help you from buying stuff that you will later regret about.
Seems I know a lot about that, it's just that I learned about it too late. At the very least I have to consider at least 3 to 4 years of challenging every purchase we make, trying to figure the most efficient (not the cheapest) way of doing things to stretch my income the most and make those debt payments on time.
I figure that after a couple of years it will be an automatic reaction in my mind, unlike the active thinking that I have to do now to stop and think before giving my money away.
I hope to learn to be a little more greedy to keep my money for things that really do matter!


La Gringa said...

It sounds like for the next couple of years at least, you are going to have to make some hard decisions and be tough with your family. They need to understand that "frugal" is going to be the order of the day for awhile.

La Gringa said...

I meant to also say that when we moved to Honduras, we sold a mountain of stuff at a garage sale. I mean a mountain! It was enough stuff to fill the average Honduran home to the ceiling.

You know what? With only one or two exceptions, I don't miss all that stuff a bit.

AJ said...

Yeah, I now have to think frugal and make my family think frugal too. Even the small things help and I have to teach them about the small things.

I wish the term "garage sale" was on my wife's dictionary. Her term is "give away to friend and family". It's a noble cause, and sometimes she gives away clothes that I thought I was going to keep wearing! LOL

I guess she can't help it. She was poor as a kid and that affects her a lot.