Thursday, November 05, 2020

Priorities - Money

 I was raised stingy.  My parents were farmers, farming is an insecure way to earn a living.  The good years were good, the bad years could be really bad.  I learned early in life, that a key to financial security was deciding what was important, what your priorities are and ignoring the rest.  

Things that are not important to me:

  • Clothes - I am not a fashion icon.  I look for comfort and durability.  
  • Furniture - again I look for comfort and durability.  I have learned that spending a little more for better quality, is worth it in the long run.  I have never replaced furniture for a change of style. 
  • Appearance - I don't spend a lot on haircuts, or "beauty" products, I would never spend money on hair color or tooth whitening.  
  • Cars - this is a complicated one, I like nice cars, I have owned a couple of really nice cars, but I have never spent more than $19,000 on a car.  
Things that are important:

  • Food, I have to admit, we really don't pay attention to the grocery budget, we buy what looks good, we seldom look at prices.
  • Travel, under ordinary conditions travel is a budget priority.  I have to watch prices, but I would sooner spent a few dollars more for an airline with better service.  I will shop for a good price at a nice hotel, but I try to avoid cheap hotels.  I go for the best I can afford for the location.  The last time I went "bottom fishing" for a hotel room, I killed a bed bug. Never again, I could have easily afforded the nicer hotel next door, my comfort is worth the extra few dollars.  
  • Technology.  I hope I have learned the lesson, that cheap computers are more expensive in the long run.  I have tossed more cheap computers than I can count.  The last time I spent three times the money and bought the best, and three years later it is still flawless.  I have had several cheap tablet computers - all of them disappointing, one I-Pad - joy!  There is one exception of cheap computers that worked, Chrome Book. My first one lasted about 6 years. I beat the crap out of it and it never failed, the battery got to the point it wouldn't hold a charge. I bought another one.  It has been used less, as the I-Pad does everything the Chromebook will do, and weighs less.  The Chromebook is currently my bed computer. 
  • Shoes, I have reached the point in life that shoes have to be comfortable or my body hurts.  I don't care what they cost - I am buying the good shoes. 
  • Soap.  When I was in college in Florida, there were a couple of fancy shops up Park Avenue from campus that sold expensive soaps.  I discovered quality, and it has been something I have splurged on ever since.    
What are your priorities, what does not matter to you? 



  1. Interesting blog post. My answers would require a post of their own.

  2. We have very similar “important” lists except traveling. Because we rarely travel by plane (I’ve only flown to 4 times round trip to 4 other states - I can hear your mental gasp from here) and usually drive, our car trip travel splurge is on suites instead of standard hotel rooms, or condos depending on where we’re going. And even then, we choose the most economic options. (Our Ptown mainstay is a small studio condo for which we bring all our own linens, towels, and cleaning supplies - but because of this, it’s cheaper than the cheapest room you could rent anywhere.)

    I am a poor boy at heart, from a family with no money, so I know we’ll the life of powdered milk, butter sandwiches, food stamps, government cheese, big brother hand me downs, and holiday gifts from charity organizations. We did not own a TV until I was 10, I got my first bike at 15, and we never went to the doctor or on a vacation. Those things were for “Rich People.”

    I now live a life undreamed of by me (not extravagant by any means but far beyond anything I imagined my life would be.) While I don’t have to worry about money, per se, I do still budget and count pennies because I never take our comfortable means for granted, and we wear and use everything until it falls apart - no replacements “just because.”

    My one life long non-essential luxury splurge is comic books, my passion. I’d rather buy a comic I want than have any other item or experience, bar none, and would rather explore a new comic book store’s back issue bins than a new city. (Fortunately, I can usually do both.) But I do try to restrain myself even in this endeavor - that’s a reason I don’t own the first issue of Green Lantern Vol 2 Issue #1.

    Great post. I may do a similar one of my own.

    1. Wonderful answers. Origin is not destiny.

  3. My priorities are good food and travel both of which have been seriously curtailed by the pandemic. Like you, I don't worry about food prices, I shop where I know the meat and fish are good. And, I have a 21-year old sofa and a 19 year old car and no plans to replace either. My weakness used to be shoes but I have slowed that urge significantly.

    1. Dreaming of the travel to come. I love to cook, and I have had more time to be creative, we have eaten well during this confinement. Shoes, I am so glad I wore the alligator shoes when my feet and back would tolerate them, now it is comfort over style.

  4. I've never put my money into showy, "keep up with the Joneses" type of stuff either. My discretionary spending (at least before the pandemic) went on entertainment and relaxation type of things -- travel, restaurants, concerts, books, music, etc.

  5. not important: shoes, jewelry, furs, clothes, makeup, cars, furniture, cable tv

    important: house, utilities, cats, food, music, books, knitting yarn

    PS - and are 2 local women-owned businesses that sell hand made soap. I have used both companies and they are EXCELLENT!

    1. I should learn to knit.

    2. plenty of beginner videos out there. may I recommend craig rosenfeld owns LOOP, a philly yarn shop. and he's SO cute (and gay also)!

  6. Anonymous11/05/2020

    Travel is an interesting one for us. Last year we resolved to focus far less on price when travelling, especially overseas, and more on comfort, and as we haven't been able to travel internationally, it was a wise decision that didn't end up costing anymore. What?