“That’s because we’re poor,” my son announced last night, in response to our family’s decision to switch internet providers.
Funny how our thirteen-year-old equates “saving money” with “being poor.” Apparently, there have been a few deficiencies in his upbringing.
I explained that saving money is a good habit everyone should develop, especially if they are planning something big like home repairs or a vacation, but I’m not sure he was entirely convinced.
I don’t think my son is the only one who feels this way. I think our culture as a whole has forgotten the lost art of living simply. The comforting possibility of cooking our own dinner is often cast aside as we drive past three or four of our favorite restaurants on our way home. Waiting for movies to come out on DVD and popping our own microwave popcorn feels like the cruelest torture after being teased for months by previews of exciting movies coming soon to a “theater near you.” We seem to have forgotten that reading a good book can be just as exciting as downloading the latest and greatest movie/game/app/you-name-it.
When did we become so determined to spend, spend, spend? It seems that everything comes with a price tag these days. Want to test this theory? Next time your friends are going out for lunch, to a movie, etc., tell them you have to pass because you don’t have enough spending money. They will either: (a) go into shock, (b) not believe you, or (c) think you’re the next Ebenezer Scrooge.
They probably don’t realize that your dog just got sick and left you with an unexpected vet bill, or that it was picture week at your kids’ school, and in order to have a second 8′ x 10′ for Grandma, you had to buy the entire package. For each child.
Our current culture just hasn’t prepared us to understand the concept of “not now.”
But some of my favorite memories have happened when no money changed hands.
There was the time I invited my friend and her kids over for tuna casserole while our husbands were away, and she brought chocolate pudding dressed up with all kinds of goodies from her snack cabinet for dessert. Or the rainy afternoons curled up with my dog and a good book. Evenings spent playing games with good friends, laughing at each other and ourselves. Walking by the river, holding hands with my husband. These are the times that have refreshed me and kept me going during life’s rough spots.
In our culture of stylish clothes, all-inclusive vacations, and remodeled homes, it is so easy to lose sight of all the little things that quietly add up to be the immeasurable things, which are the only things we will ever regret not spending more on when all is said and done.
I hope my son will someday become a man who will enjoy all the luxuries that hard work and honest pay can provide. But, more than that, I hope he packs his life full beyond measure with all the little things that don’t cost a thing.
No matter how much money he happens to have.