Mixing Maroons - Spend Less, Save More … Get Marooned!

Mr. Maroon

October 1, 2014

Unexpected Income

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What Should I Spend It On?

A relative shared the following photo with me by text message last weekend.

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In order to make quick sense of it, since I only play the lottery when Santa leaves tickets in my stocking each Christmas, I responded by asking what exactly I should be looking for on this $10 bet. Then came this photo:

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$500!!!

As an addicted retirement savings nut, my mind immediately converted the image to its approximately equivalent ten shares of VTSAX. Or maybe an extra $500 on top of the extra $500 we already pay on our monthly mortgage. We don’t have any other debt. I mean, ALL extra income either goes to debt or savings…Right?!?!

But, this particular relative married into the family. He’s not a Maroon. He’s more of a Red, as in that’s where his finances usually are. To him, an extra $490 was free money to blow on something he wouldn’t have been able to buy otherwise. (At least he realizes that he’s only won $490!) He inquired for my suggestions within a specific line of merchandise of which I am a recovering spending addict and, for the first time in my life, I had none to give. Folks, that’s an AMAZING feeling. For the first time in my life, I felt completely free from consumerism, whereas ten months ago I would have been contemplating exactly the same activity.

The Story (Always) Gets Better

Fast forward to a few days later and Mr. Red has found his target: an item, of which he already has a couple, which just happens to cost exactly $500. And then comes the most excruciating and unfathomable excuse anyone can use to justify spending money…

“Technically, it will cost me $10!”

Wait, WHAT?!?! NO!!! Technically it will cost him FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!

But this is how consumer oriented we are in America, Inc. We don’t value money as a tool for freedom. We value money based on its purchasing power. We value money based on the stuff it can get us. And many of our neighbors are incapable of realizing the opportunities we forego in the name of buying junk…junk that we hope will provide some temporary excitement in our otherwise dull existence.

Here he is, sitting on perhaps the key to his financial future, or, more properly, five hundred of them, and he’s just going to trade them away for nonsensical crap as if they don’t matter because they were free? Besides, they weren’t even free! He paid for them. Hell, in the grand scheme of things, all he’s done is reimburse some of his long-time lottery expenses. He got lucky. He won something. But by not using that money towards his freedom, he’s lost more than he’ll ever realize.

~Mr. Maroon

FF # 12 - In-frugality Confession
Why Do You Keep Buying Unnecessary Stuff

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