After coming across a significant error in our year's budget, and realizing that this summer, once again, will be one of our poorest times, ever, I've been contemplating a lot about money.
Essentially, money buys us freedom and we, in a consumer-driven-world, have put a price on life. Without money, one is bound from visiting a distant family member, taking piano lessons, eating healthy foods, or enjoying air conditioning. It's funny how these things are all governed by the possession of a certain quantity of a certain currency. The one most baffling to me is the concept of money being in the way of seeing my family.
As most of you know, I'm from a little town in PA just outside of NYC (imagine that). I haven't seen my family since last August, and if a miracle of $600 doesn't present itself anytime soon, I will have to wait until this Christmas before I can see them again. This is a major burden for me.
But ask me this question? Where was the money when I went to Ikea last month to get a $50 area rug for our carpet that is perpetually becoming darker? Where was the money when I had such a rough week, no energy to cook a weekend dinner, and went out with my sweetheart for some pricey grub? And also, where was the money when I decided that instead of saving the $60 I received from selling school books I would buy my husband a new pair of jeans and Spring jacket?
Where is the line between total frugality and absolute irresponsibility?
I'll tell you what I've decided: When money poses a threat to separate you from something you care about, such as family, the prospect of a baby (when you're married), or putting yourself in a position to serve others, that's when you don't have money to spend and that's when one is irresponsible with the money they've earned.
I have learned a valuable lesson: I am NOT an irresponsible person. But, along the road, when I see things that would be nice, things that bring temporary pleasure, or would make life a little more enjoyable, which are sometimes necessary to have at times, I stop and think: If I spend the money on this, I am consequently not spending it on something I care more about.
I understand that for most of you who are college students that a depravity of money and a plethora of debt is something you will live with for a least a couple more years, but I know we have more money than we think.
I would rather give up a new pair of jeans+shoes+new wall decor+eating out a couple times a month than to sacrifice not seeing the people I love, not putting a savings away for little ones, and not being able to help my neighbor when they're in need.
We put too little value on the dollar, when in reality, the dollar is what buys us freedom, in many instances, to pursue happiness.
If we're all in need, who will help us?
We can't all be beggars.