The end result is financial responsibility. How we get there can differ from those around us.
Imagine that you are going on a trip across the continent of North America. You start in San Diego and you zigzag your way across the South. You curve up the Eastern seaboard, you cut back across through the Northern States and then take a right in Seattle and head north into Canada. You hop and skip across Canada and find yourself in Nova Scotia. There you catch a plane and zip back to California.
A life’s accomplishment
You’d have accomplished an amazing feat. You’d have seen so much country and met so many people. You’d have journeyed the trip of a lifetime.
You get home and you share your experience with some friends over coffee. After looking at some photos, an interesting conversation takes place.
One of them asks, “So how did you get from Seattle to Vancouver?”
YOU: Oh, well, we took a train. It was great, we….
One: Yes, but don’t you know it would have been better if you had taken the bus? The bus would have been so much cheaper. You didn’t take the train the whole time, did you? Because taking the train just really doesn’t make sense. There are much better ways to travel.
If this conversation happened after you had taken the trip of a lifetime, your jaw would be on the floor, would it not?
This, THIS is how we sometimes treat each other when we question each other’s spending.
Joe is a hard-working guy.
- Joe is living a debt-free lifestyle, creating a budget every month, and assessing expenses carefully before he makes financial decisions.
- Joe has no car loans and paid his student loans off three years ago.
- Joe volunteers his time at the local soup kitchen and sponsors a child in the Third World.
- Joe works overtime and puts that money toward building his assets.
Folks criticize him because he treats himself to a daily coffee at Starbucks. Folks tell him he’s being unwise for not using coupons when he grocery shops. Folks raise an eyebrow when he drives to work instead of taking the daily commuter train to work.
Seriously? Folks need to get a life.
Sometimes we need to get a life. We make assumptions about other people. We see their spending and assume we know all the where’s and what for’s. Sometimes those assumptions are right. But, not always.
Get going in the right direction.
Joe is certainly not perfect. But, he’s going in the right direction. He’s working hard and sharing what he has. He’s acting responsibly given the life and circumstances that he has. He’s doing okay.
Let’s remember that the destinations are what matters. Did you make the journey of a lifetime, being financially responsible, and have someone tell you you should be spending less on groceries. Well, that’s not really the point, is it?
We share our experiences so that folks can come alongside us, to support and encourage us. We share our experiences so that we can learn from one another. Unfortunately, we think we can get up in other people’s business and think we know better.
Got your savings goal? Got a plan to get and keep your finances in order? Know where you want to go?
Then choose your own mode of transportation to get you there. And feel good about it.
Enjoy the journey.
How do YOU determine your financial path?
Tell us about a splurge or a way in which others misunderstand your financial choices. How do you deal with it?
This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link. But better yet, chat with us in the comments.