I think I’ve always been a penny-pincher. No shame in admitting it, I don’t see what the problem is. Sometimes, it’s just really hard to justify dumping out precious life-sustaining greenbacks on trivial material things I don’t really need. I remember how my Scottish Grandma, who came from a family of coal miners and lived through the Great Depression, would always chide me for tearing the Christmas wrapping paper on my presents as a kid. She’d actually try to save it and use it for next year! Waste Not, Want Not. Her attitude always left an impression on me, even though as a 6 year-old I simply for the life of me couldn’t fathom where she was coming from. Could be because myself and my family are all immigrants from different countries, but I’m constantly trying to find new ways to cut corners on food, bills and entertainment.
Our society is a without a doubt an extremely image oriented, money driven, mass consumption culture. Every moment and every hour we are constantly bombarded with images, advertisements, radio jingles, billboards and internet pop-ups trying to get us to part with our hard-earned dollars. Clothes? Clothes are so expensive! Heck, so much stuff that you can get on Ebay or thrift stores. And you can’t take that Mercedes Benz with you to heaven when you die, can you? And what is it about a Mercedes Benz that is so much more special than a used Honda (besides social status among other snobby people)? Both transport you from point A to point B in exactly the same manner. Your luxury, 3-Ton Tuna Boat SUV? You’re sitting in traffic just the same as the poor bastard sitting next to you, though I bet the TV commercial depicting it (and you) triumphantly scaling Mt. Everest looked pretty exciting at the time. I HAVE TO HAVE IT- RIGHT NOW. Yeah, it might make you feel high and satisfied for a little while, but then, just like a hit of that cheap crack cocaine, the happiness soon fades…
OK, I’ll concede that some of you guys out there buy flashy cars because that’s what some flashy women are drawn to. You probably even got some sex out of it. Could you still have gotten some nookie with one of those Kim Kardashian clones without the shiny rims? In my experience, the best women out there in the world (and there’s plenty of them) aren’t gold diggers. They’re the ones that actually are attracted to guys with a sense of humor, intelligence, personal self-worth and creative talents. Be at ease with who you are, learn how to make sushi, be a freestyle MC on stage: what member of fairer sex could resist you?
But you know what living within my means has really given me? Freedom. The freedom to do what I want and pursue the projects in life that stimulate me intellectually and artistically. Wasting money on expensive clothes, fancy dinners, the latest smartphone, going clubbing and paying $15 for cocktails- get tha fuck outta here! My crappy old model cell phone transmits calls and texts just fine thanks, and I don’t have a monthly $100 bill to go along with it. Owning a car, ouch. According to a AAA study, that’s on average $8,698 a year. Paying gas, taxes, repairs, new tires, insurance etc etc. Now times that by 10: almost 90K! What could you do with an extra $90,000 in your life? I know in many parts of American you simply have no choice but to drive (I think I’ll another blog post about that later), but at least try and live close to your work, school, a supermarket etc. You’d be surprised how it really ain’t that bad to walk, ride a bike, or take a bus a short distance. Fresh air, a little exercise, smell the flowers, ya feel me? Driving too much is linked to all sorts of health problems, not to mention poor sleep, psychological stress and lower quality of life. Plus the fact that we’re all slowly killing the environment one safari trip to the post office at a time.
The best things in life are free my friends (or pretty free): Some bourbon sipped in the warm summer evening, watching the world go by in cafe, playing guitar with your friends, camping and grilling in the great outdoors, playing frisbee on the beach with you dog, some wacko, alternative theater cooperative’s latest offering down at the weirdo artists’ squat, binge watching Netflix while necking with your honey. Hell, grow some weed in your yard, then you don’t even have to pay for it. Save your pennies for a backpacking trip through Central America: you’ll have life-changing adventures and memories that will last you till your deathbed.
If you have to choose between breaking your back for a tuna boat SUV- or memories, which would you prefer?