Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Pot to Piss In

How is it that there's a free ride, a free high, a freebird, a free smoke, a free drink, a free thinker, free elections, free trade, freebees, and freedom, but there's no such thing as a free lunch? - Gooch





I'm a little weird about money.

Well...me and about a billion other Americans.

But no, what I mean is that, if I can't afford to participate in something, I just don't do it. I have a budget and I stay within it most of the time. I have an allowance and, if my allowance is gone, that means my fun will have to be found in a variety of free ways.

Along those same lines, I don't often let other people pay my way. It's one thing to have someone say "I would love to take you to dinner, my treat" and quite another to just be out and not pitch in my portion of the tab when I'd expected to pay anyway.

It's an honor thing with me. I don't want to feel obligated, indebted, to anyone. Nor would I ever dream of asking to have my way paid...even with the promise of a payback.

With L...we have a system worked out. We've not ever gone dutch but he pays one time and then I pay the next. It works out nicely.

I also try to be generous with my friends and family - especially when they're struggling at no fault of their own. For instance, last year, on more than one occasion, I picked up the tab for a friend whose employer was having cash flow issues and subsequently couldn't pay their employees on time. I didn't mind. I wanted to spend time with him and his hands were tied. He never asked. I just did. And I knew he appreciated it.

With my mom, there were times when I was forced to ask for help. Even with 3 jobs at one point, finances were especially tight and I had no choice. She never once said no. She just always somehow came up with the money to help me. The guilt I carry about that is tremendous. So, now that I'm in a better place, I try to repay her the best I can by taking her to brunch, bringing wine and treats with me when I visit, refusing to accept gas money.

I refuse gas money from everyone. I've given rides to the airport for a number of people. I do it because I want to - because I know if it were me in the same boat, I'd appreciate having one less travel issue with which to deal. L repaid me for his ride with a night of Thai food and wine and fun. That was better than any gas money. Even if he hadn't treated me though, I would have given him a ride happily. Because I care.

Lex and I live below our means on purpose. We've both struggled financially in the past and know we've worked hard to be where we are now. For me, I don't want to struggle like that again. I want to remain independent and self-sufficient without feeling guilty or obligated to anyone while also being able to be generous when the situation calls for it.

We don't have a nice house or nice things...but we sure have a lot of fun.

3 comments:

Chris said...

"Free" reply !
Right !
We have this here, it's called "Restos du coeur".
Literally "Heart restaurants", created by a famous comic many years ago.
It works quite well with voluntary work, artists involvement and salvaging from our awful consumer societies.

Kristin said...

I have such wise friends. ;) It's refreshing to be reminded that there ARE people who know that value and worth do not necessarily depend on cost.
Oh, and I intend to take you out for a glass of wine (or 2, or 3) when I'm there in a couple of weeks. It will be my payback to you for you being there to celebrate with me. *laughing*

Kristin said...

I have such wise friends. ;) It's refreshing to be reminded that there ARE people who know that value and worth do not necessarily depend on how much money you spend.
Oh, and I intend to take you out for a glass of wine (or 2 or 3) when I'm there in a couple of weeks. It can be my repayment to you for you being there to celebrate with me! *laughing*