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Mr. Maroon

September 29, 2014

Why Do You Keep Buying Unnecessary Stuff

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Your New Daughter Needs Stuff…No, She Doesn’t

For those keeping track, we’re settling in as a family of four. Mrs. Maroon has touched a little bit on new babies and all the “stuff” normal people accessorize them with. So, it’s no wonder that the last two weeks have been filled with packages on the doorstep and a constant barrage of “what do you need” and “what can we buy”? I’m sick of responding as much as our friends and family are sick of my response. The simple answer is: “Nothing!” The one that bugged me most, though, was a text from my father:

 

“What can I buy for my new granddaughter?”

 

See, my mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness in January 2011 at age 65. Mrs. Maroon was incredibly understanding when I requested that we buy a house for my parents, near ours, so that my mom could be closer to the hospital where she was receiving treatment and, more importantly, so that we could maximize her time as a grandmother once Mini Maroon 1 arrived. We did just that and Mom and Dad moved into the home in February 2012, just five short days before Mini Maroon 1 was born. Now, here in September 2014, only Dad remains and we no longer live right up the road. With our recent relocation, we knew Dad would be left hanging and he made the difficult decision to go back and live in the town where I grew up and where my sister still lives.

First, it seemed straightforward that we buy the next house for him. We have more money, we have better credit, it’s an investment property for us, he pays rent on time all the time, etc… That was until I began to watch his spending behavior. Dad is retired and pulls a decent pension after forty eight years as a public school teacher. While he has little net worth, he is guaranteed a paycheck each month for the rest of his life and it’s more than he needs to live. But, like so many others in America, Inc., the result of his excess money is that he constantly trades it for excess crap. The final straw for me was a $400 Kindle Fire that he bought about a year ago and, recently in July, offered it to Mini Maroon 1 “because I don’t even know how to use it; I just bought it because it was on sale and I thought I wanted one.”

I set out to correct his spending behavior by challenging him to save for the down payment for his new house. He begrudgingly shared his financials with me and I put together a simple budget. Imagine his surprise when I discovered he could easily pay himself first each month with an automatic transfer to his savings account and, more importantly, be able to afford a down payment on a house by January 2015.

So, when he asked me a few weeks ago about buying a gift for Mini Maroon 2, my answer was simple: A new house. We don’t need anything and she’s too young to want anything. He does need something. And what he needs is something that she can enjoy and will have memories of.

Anybody Can Do This…Really!

The point here is that anybody can do it. My dad never learned to save for the future. He always wished he’d had more money, but only because of the buying power it represented. And he had no clue that he was throwing away $15,000 a year because he was unnecessarily accumulating stuff, causing him to live paycheck to paycheck.

~Mr. Maroon

Unexpected Income
FF #11 - Frozen Delight

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