Friday, November 9, 2012

Spend Your Money and Your Time on What You Value

Finance and Frugality Friday

A girlfriend of mine got divorced a few years ago and had a very, very limited budget for a year while she put her personal life back together. For that year she lived in a studio apartment with her cat and she didn't get cable TV. She had a zillion DVDs to watch and she also streamed Netflix movies on her notebook computer to help her while away the long evenings alone. With her cat.

I treated her to a Happy Hour one day and I inquired how she was getting on.

Her only complaint? "Everyone keeps giving me shit about not having cable TV."

I was really appalled. Why would anyone care about her personal home entertainment choices? She said co-workers and even her ex kept asking her why she couldn't afford cable. Was the money thing really that bad?

"But I just don't care about cable right now. So why should I pay for it?"

This is a perfect example of choosing to fill your life with things you value.

My friend did not value cable TV so she didn't sign up for it. I value Happy Hour with friends so I make room for it in my budget. I do not value brand new cars so I refrain from buying them. My sister-in-law doesn't want Internet access at home because she has unrestricted access all day at work. I don't value beautiful fingernails so I don't spend time caring for them myself or money getting someone else to do it for me. This list goes on and on for every person. Reading about frugality includes all range of stories from people re-using tea bags to dumpster diving to the intricate planning of errands so that all destinations form a circle and one never needs to double back. I do that last one. I keep lists galore on my frig. I try very hard to never make a special trip for anything. If I'm running low on dog kibble or milk or gasoline I make a note and determine when, in the next few days, will I be driving past the places I buy these items?



  1. I cut the cable and I can tell you that I have never been happier.

    If I want to watch the tube I will visit someone. The social interaction is also better.

    I would love to meet your girlfriend.


  2. Paul
    I'm so glad you've discovered the joy of life without cable! And I love your idea of visiting a friend to share a favorite show. Remember back when we all watched TV live and gathering around the tube with family and friends was a big deal?