Over the last twelve or so days, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that comes as a byproduct of only buying food at grocery stores: I don’t spend very much money right now. I’m like Scrooge McDuck, swimming in a big ‘ol pile of gold doubloons, or whatever that was that he swam in.
Total madness, right? Yeah, yeah. Not super surprising.
However, that’s not the end of the story. There is an aspect of not spending money all over town that I wasn’t fully expecting: I watch my bank account like a hawk. Or like Bravestarr who, as we all know, has the eyes of the hawk and the ears of the wolf.
Think about that for a second. Not only am I watching for crazy shit to happen, I am also listening for crazy shit to happen. In my bank account. You have to really strain your ears, but you can hear money being withdrawn: swift and nearly silent, like a ninja using a port-a-potty at a K.I.S.S. reunion concert.
Anyway, the point of my little walk down memory lane into crappy 80’s cartoons is this: I have never, ever, paid attention to my bank account before. I simply checked my balance occasionally, hoped like hell that all of that money was actually available, and then headed over to that kitschy little breakfast diner that serves omelets made from bald eagle eggs to wait in line for two hours. I didn’t really have to worry about money until the internet was around. I couldn’t have imagined actually having to balance a checkbook. I don’t know know how people lived before online banking.
I think the problem stemmed from one of two things: either there was way too much activity going on in my bank account to even consider keeping up with all those transactions, or I was too scared to deal with the repercussions of how much money I was spending. That’s all I can come up with to explain my lack of attention to detail: laziness or fear.
And why not? It’s scary as shit to think about blowing a grand on going out to eat. Think about all the things I could
be doing with that money! I could start getting out of debt! I could finally max out my 401(k)! I could donate more to charity or save up and plan a trip to New Zealand!
No, nonono. There is waaay too much uncertainty in those things. Uncertainty is scary. You know what’s not scary?
Starbucks isn’t scary.
I can get exactly what I want, and I know it will be delicious and warm and there will be track lighting everywhere. I can go to any location I want, and it will always be exactly the same, and that is comforting.
I have been avoiding making my financial situation better because I am afraid of change. The idea of saving up cash to pay for a large-ticket item scares me. Americans don’t blow their cash on new beds, I tell myself. That’s what credit is for. I have a fancy degree in business administration, so know to call this principle leverage. I am leveraging my credit so I can use my cash for other things.
What other things, though?
Small ticket items, that’s what. I end up spending the same amount of money (double, if you actually consider debt as money spent) on hazelnut americanos and shitty sandwiches at Panera Bread that are so loaded with sodium and fat that I could safely walk through the Gobi desert.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this post, so I’ll just end it by saying this: I need to learn to live like my grandparents did. Mom and dad, I love you, but your generation kinda fucked everything up. Why waste cash on big ticket items when you could just tell someone you’d pay them back, and they would just give it to you? Debt is so cheap, you’d be stupid not to use it, right?
Well, from here on out, if using debt like it’s my own personal electronics budget is smart, I think I’d like to be the stupidest man in America for awhile.