Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Small Thing Would Make You Feel Rich?

Forget the manse on the hill or the beemer in the garage. What small thing would make you feel rich?

As I was yelling at my kids to please close all the doors (to the upstairs, to the basement, to the bathroom) before turning on the heat this morning, I realized that being wealthy, to me, would be turning on the heat and neither worrying nor caring if it "got wasted." Given that my two-story 1929 house has an oil furnace, being wealthy would also mean never worrying that the tank would run dry--something that happens to me at least once every year, clogs up the lines, and costs me an extra $90 to put back into operation.

For my long-deceased mother, it would have meant using each teabag only once. As it was, she never got over her depression-era habit of using each teabag at least twice before discarding. I still can't see a saucer with a used teabag sitting on the counter without thinking of her.

My oldest daughter told me that being wealthy would mean that she could fill her car up with gas, rather than getting it $10 at a time; Her husband said he'd know he had it made when he could purchase a woodworking tool without concern that there would not be enough in the bank account to last until the end of the month.

One of my colleagues at work said he'd be wealthy when he could go through the local bookstore and pick up whatever he wanted instead of weighing how much he wanted a particular book against the amount of time he was willing to wait for it to become available at the library.

Another colleague felt that wealth would be hers when she no longer felt compelled to buy generic breakfast cereal and frozen orange juice.

So what about my readers? What minor change would make you feel richer than you are now?

9 comments:

vicki said...

What a fantastic post.

I do all of those things (except I am not even sure I have a heater, as I live in the south), so I guess I'm either wealthy or incredibly wasteful.

To me, I will be wealthy when I don't have to rent anymore. When I sleep under a roof that is actually mine.

DogAteMyFinances said...

I agree, great post.

I will feel rich when I feel like my retirement accounts (IRAs, 401K) are "done." That is, that I don't need to contribute any more. I'm not sure that day will ever come.

Rhea said...

Great question! I think going into the supermarket and buying anything I want without thinking of the price. Especially when it comes to organically grown food!

ylfoo said...

A great question for the readers to ponder...

Everyone seems to have different views on wealth. Even for the same person, at different stages the definition of wealth varies.

Personally wealth within is important when I feel so inner-rich and live the moment.

Anonymous said...

Money does not buy happiness, concentrate on what you have...

Living Almost Large said...

When I know by my overly cautious calculations DH and I can support our 4 parents sufficiently in old age. We need a lot of money to buy 3 homes (1 for us and 1 for each set), and any kids we have.

Right now I think we should get there in our early 40s. We might get there sooner if we make some stellar salaries.

For us being able to support our family is very important. But it's a cultural thing. We don't worry about small things now, we fill gas when needed, buy food we want, and eat out.

But the thing is that getting to that point took learning. How? We live simple. I know we spend $120/month on gas, it doesn't matter if we go over some and under others. I've tracked us for 8 years and know our habits and the rising costs of gas (used to be under $100). We fill about 1/week.

Second, we never buy books or DVDs or CDs. We can get them for free from the library or rent them.

Groceries, we started out buying from a list $25/week for 2 people. As our income grew so did our selection of food. Now we have staples and so I know we spend about $250/month on groceries (again going up over time).

Honestly tracking spending and learning your money habits helps curb it. We never shop, hate going to malls, and rarely do you see a charge for a store on our credit cards.

Our credit cards are used 2-3 days/week (Friday-Sun). Majority is groceries and gas.

SavingDiva said...

In the fall, I moved to a one bedroom apartment that includes heat. When I look around my apartment that I rent (by myself!), I get really excited! Having heat and living alone feels amazing!

Tanya said...

I will feel wealthy when I am able to save properly for a house and retirement rather than funneling everything I can towards my student loan.

Anonymous said...

I bounce back and forth between two daughters contributing towards the rent. I'm not lonely and I am able to help them $$$$.