This is a question I’ve been asked a few times, most recently last night. A long time friend called after reading my recent blog post about my travels wanting to know that very thing. Her feeling was that I had a lot more money than she realized. Well, I didn’t ask how much she thought I had, but I did respond that it wasn’t that I had a lot … it was that perhaps I chose to spend mine differently.
Back in the 60s when we bought our first house, I remember realizing that if someone got a new television delivered you could rest assured that there would be televisions being delivered up and down the street. And over the years, I’ve found that to be true with cars, houses, clothes … whatever.
That was just not my thing. While I enjoy walking into friends homes that are nicely decorated with all the newest trends and I think about redoing my home, I then equate that money as better spent on trips. Or take clothes, for instance. I don’t recreational shop. I’ll shop twice a year for myself. Going into summer because the previous years stuff is usually pretty worn having been washed so much. And going into winter if I’ve gained weight or lost weight. Winter clothes don’t need replacing that much. Not to mention it helps to be old and not care about the current fashion.
When I had to replace my car, sure I loved those really cool SUVs. But, wow! Those price tags. So I got another Honda Civic. I still fantasize about tooling around in one of those cars. Remember, I lived in Southern California for a long time and learned you are what you drive. I’m not quite sure what my Honda Civic says about me.
When Jim and I are together, we might go out to eat once a week. We don’t do it most days. When I’m by myself, I like to go to Chipotle. I get one of their bowls and I can get two or three meals out of it.
So go ahead … call me cheap. I know I am. Jim keeps forgetting that I’m cheap. Or he chooses to forget when he’s proposing another trip. Does my carpet need to be replaced? Yeah. But that Viking River cruise down the Rhine is such a better way for me to spend my money.
My daughter laughs at me because I won’t throw away the tissue paper from gift bags. I iron it and reuse it. Plastic ziplock bags? Yep … wash those and reuse them. Then there’s those lightweight produce bags. Good for lots of things too.
When I grocery shop I don’t buy just anything, I generally buy what’s on sale. I rarely buy steak. But I do buy canned tuna a lot. I buy whatever laundry detergent is the cheapest that week. I do buy loads of fruit though. It’s a shame the things good for us cost the most, isn’t it?
Are you getting my drift? It’s not how much we have, it’s how we choose to spend it. Travel is at the top of my list right after my essential needs. And since we are retired, we can take advantage of all the great deals on travel. We can go on short notice or during off seasons. We’re going to Tuscany for 8 days including room, car and flight for $800 each. But, it’s in February. It’ll be cold but it will be cold here too. So why not? I’ve never been to Tuscany. I want to see it and feel it. And February is such a dreary month.
I don’t have many wants, otherwise. I don’t golf, work out at a gym, go out to lunch, gamble, smoke, get my nails done. Jim once asked me what I would buy if I won the lottery. After thinking for a while I told him I’d buy a new car. (This was before I had to buy a new car.) What kind? Another Honda Civic. (Which was exactly what I bought.) What?? Not a Cadillac or Jaguar or Mercedes? No. A Honda Civic. And I’d buy better brands of clothing… better quality stuff … like from Dillard’s, instead of Kohl’s, Belk’s or Macy’s. And maybe a pair of leather boots. I can’t bring myself to spend the money on them even though I really want them. I don’t need them.
Definitely El Cheapo, here.