7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess; Ch 6 – Spending

Jen and her husband used to be penny-pinchers because they had no other choice. They had a very small income and an ever-increasing family. It took them a while, but they were eventually able to get to the point where they didn’t have to fret over every nickel and dime, watching to make sure that they had enough left over for groceries for the week. After being at that point for a while, though, it became a habit where they could just spend what they wanted where they wanted. According to Ms. Hatmaker they were not conservative in their spending habits, thus the reason for her making this part of her project.

I have to admit that I couldn’t identify with this chapter completely because I am naturally an anal-retentive accountant who hates to spend money. Seriously. I shop with coupons; I watch the circulars for sales; I endlessly debate over indulgences (books, pedicures, etc). I am in no way hurting for money. I never have the fear that I won’t be able to pay my bills. It’s just that I enjoy seeing a large amount of money in my bank account. Any time that I have to move money from my savings to my checking account it makes me feel ill. Even when it’s for stuff like property taxes (which I feel that I’m being ripped off!). So this was a chapter for me that I constantly said, “Duh!” while reading it.

The one thing that bothered me about this chapter was the fact that Jen didn’t have a problem with her friends spending extra money on her to treat her for lunch or coffee, but she was sticking to her spending plan and eating out was not included. Apparently it took her a while to realize that in order to socialize you didn’t have to go out. These women are stay-at-home moms for the most part, so it’s not like they were trying to fit in time with each other around full time jobs, kids, husbands, etc. You can still do laundry while chatting with a friend at your kitchen table.

You know, this all goes back to my childhood and how I was raised. I didn’t realize that my parents were raising me in such a way that eventually somebody would write a book about trying to live like we did. My parents had a credit card, but it was only used for big purchases and then it was paid off as soon as possible. My mom was the one who taught me that if you have a credit card balance you don’t make just the minimum payment, you double or triple it if possible. My dad taught me that life isn’t fair, “Not til the end of July.” That was his standard reply when we would whine about something not being fair. Our County Fair is always held the last full week of July, thus the reply.
This chapter wasn’t an enlightening one for me. It turned out being one that I had to read in order to get through the book. Maybe I should write my own book about how to live within your means, including weighing purchases and deciding what you really don’t need. Of course, I would have to leave out the fact that I will go without a new pair of sandals (even mine are on the edge of the end of their life) so that I can spoil my cats with some treats or new toys. Perhaps I shouldn’t write that book…

I am down to the last chapter in the book. Okay, technically there are two left… Stress and then the conclusion. I will probably combine the two of those in the last post regarding this book. So, let the Stress begin…

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