Show Me the Money

My theory of wealth is that if you die with too much coin of the realm, you’re doing something wrong. Sure you want your heirs to have some security, and there’s no predicting whether retirement assets will have to last four years or forty (my dad was retired longer than he was employed, much to his dismay), but to excessively hoard wealth just doesn’t make sense to me.

That money ought to be working for the betterment of the species or the planet, not sitting around waiting for me to decide I need fifth home.

I’m similarly uncomfortable with profligate spending or compulsive consumerism–we have only the one planet–so I do ponder whether I’m spending my money well. Because the past few years haven’t lent themselves to travel, I’ve turned instead to fixing up the homestead. Painted the house, rebuilt the larger porch, called the junk haulers, hired professional landscapers to hit reset on the flower beds that have grown seedy in recent years… I like the results, all of which I lacked the skill to bring about myself.

I live here, and the appearance of my dwelling impacts my well being. Then too, that money went into the local economy, and helped preserve a house that somebody else will live in some day.

I’ve spent way too much money poorly–on clothes I haven’t worn, on a house that wasn’t properly inspected prior to purchase, and fad health care supplements each of which was supposed to be a magic bullet (anybody remember raspberry ketones?).  Live and learn, do better next time, Grace.

My favorite money is the money I earn from my web store, because that’s a transaction strictly between me and my readers. I’m not scraping their privacy, they aren’t getting a “license to visit the file in the cloud.” They get an ebook file to keep, lend, send, or archive. My favorite investment was $1500 I spent on my daughter’s first horse–the cheapest equine I’ve ever purchased. (And yes, I know purchasing any equine puts me clearly in the multiply-privileged category!)

Pasha (AM Appomattox) was 25 when he came to us, way over the hill in horse terms, and at least one ridin’ buddy told me I was nuts to buy such a geezer. But Pasha was spry, handsome, whip-smart, and without vices. He took my daughter to her first big shows, over her first fences, and to her first awards ceremonies. He died peacefully in our backyard at the age of 31, and I have never, ever gotten so much in return for a mere $1500.

My travel funds have been money well spent, that AC window unit I bought for my bedroom was money well spent, and the little old used Prius I bought five years ago was money very well spent.

As Amazon is cranking up for yet another Prime Day, and the holiday shopping season looms, what do you consider money well spent? Do you have any favorite money or favorite investments?

If you want an ARC of Miss Dauntless and did not get one this week (I’m working my way through previous commenter lists), please send me an email at [email protected]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 comments on “Show Me the Money

  1. I’ve been reassessing my priorities these past few years since I retired, and am no longer a mindless consumer. That is, I think long and hard before I buy anything and I’m trying to donate things I previously bought but really have no use for. I grew up with 4 siblings on an Air Force sergeant’s pay so when I started earning my own money after college, I spent but not always wisely. Now I try to make sure that I “get joy” and will use whatever I have my eye on. When it’s safer to travel, that will probably be my focus since I enjoy history a lot and will be prioritizing experiences over owning things. I have been donating more to charity also. I have no investment advice except to invest in yourself and what makes you happy.

  2. Yeah, I don’t even look at the Amazon Prime “deals”
    If I really need it, it’s on my Watch For list, and an app notifies me if the price drops below a certain level that I’ve set. I don’t need to be prodded to buy things I don’t really need! I’ve unsubscribed from all company email lists and catalogs, and only buy what I need. And I have a “1 in, 1 out” philosophy. If I get something new, one thing has to go out in exchange. Minimalism is a beautiful and freeing thing!!

  3. My bucket list money came to be when I downsized my house to a one bedrooms flat by the sea six years ago.I made a plan and included all the places I wished to travel to within the British Isles.England Scotland Wales Nothern Ireland.Coach trips mainly and with friends.We enjoyed visiting many lovely towns,cities,North South East and west.But half way through my list we had the pandemic and the world shut down.This year I managed to get away on a small trip to Liverpool.I have been to Liverpool many years ago but I discovered many other places of interest.This city does not sleep it seems to party 24/7.If only I had been fifty years younger!!!!!.So I have my set aside bucket list money and I have some catching up to do so all being well I will do and see the remainder locations in the near future.I want to leave this life knowing that I have seen the most beautiful sights my country has to offer.I’ve travelled far and wide but saved the best till last.Hope I makeit.

  4. My husband and I love to travel. We save up for it, live in a small, fully paid for house and drive one, old, car. When we travel we are careful with our expenses but decided years ago that we would pay to view art, architecture, museums, historic sites, etc. Our souvenirs are refrigerator magnets or useful kitchen utensils. We also stay in small, family run, hotels or pensions. P.S. I pre-ordered Miss Dauntless from your website and loved it!!

  5. Smartest thing I ever did was paying off my house at the seven year mark of my mortgage. Plus my car note early. Took a lot of doing without to make those principal payments & I had to fight the banks to make sure I got antiquated payment forms to ENSURE those extra payments went to principal & not the interest. But the interest saved was huge, that money stays in my pocket to go for other things like food & doctors, & the tax deduction was nowhere near what the bankers would have you believe. In an insane world where pensions are taxed like recipients are 1% wealthy & Social Security worked for since the age of 14 is considered a “windfall” like I’m gonna go crazy with an additional $900 a month, having a secure roof over my head so long as I can scrape up the taxes is the smartest thing I ever did. Plus the pandemic insured my 7 year old ride should last years longer.

  6. Money and time well wasted:
    I spent a lot of my “college” $$ traveling. I was young and “never saw the good side of the city,” but even managing that was worthwhile
    I have bought too many books. I didn’t have to buy too many door stop science texts so lucked out there.
    I have spent too much on gifts, many of whose recipients would have preferred the money. I got the value out of the time spent thinking of them. For example, this blog alerted me to books in prisons. My kids roll their eyes at what they get.
    We put our kids through their undergraduate degrees, no questions where and what. (Or too many)
    And, really, I’ll probably die broke, but not starving, and that’s a win.

  7. To me, paying someone to do the jobs that I am unwilling or unable to do is well worth the money. My husband & I are both (mostly) retired. When we bought this house nearly 6 years ago, hubby was determined to take care of the lawn and yard. With over two acres, it is a formidable task. It is also a task for which neither of us has the skill, inclination or stamina to tackle. I had to beg him to give it up because, he reasoned, he’s retired and has the time. But he was miserable doing it! I’d rather fill our days with fun things that we love rather than see him sweating over a lawn mower. So I happily pay for a team of young, local gentlemen to keep the lawn trimmed and lovely, to do a fall and spring cleanup and basically keep the place beautiful. We spend our summers swimming, relaxing, and enjoying our yard, rather than sweating and cursing it! And I help a local business thrive. Same with the snow removal, gutter cleaning, etc. I am happy to leave these jobs to people who are much better at them! Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  8. Money well spent: traveling across country for a short weekend so I could be at a lifelong friend’s wedding. Heat pump maintenance contract (I live in the desert). Vacation in the San Juan islands on a sailboat. Sending my kids on every school trip they wanted to take including the ones I couldn’t afford. Replacing my ancient washer & dryer. Supporting charities I think are important. Most recently it has been traveling across country to visit my adult children and to meet my new granddaughter.

    • How could I forget to mention my pets?! Dogs, cats, fish, parakeets, hamsters. Guinea pigs, gerbils, sugar gliders. Mostly dogs and cats

  9. I do my best to consume minimal goods, I’m more likely to spend money on experiences. But what I buy, I try to buy the version that will make me happy. That usually means from a small business and environmentally friendly. My biggest regular spending goes to maintaining my health (outside of mortgage, insurance etc.) – acupuncture, yoga studio membership, books. Of course I have spent unwisely on healthcare as well, fixes that weren’t and supplements that did nothing, but I can generally say they were worth a try.

    Amazon is evil as far as I am concerned but my husband and I agree to disagree on this and unsurprisingly the packages of all kinds of crap are his. The package of t-shirts of weird colors, socks that will get holes in a few months, an extra chess set (he has half a dozen) etc. Deals too good to pass up apparently. Sigh.

  10. How Funny – our sermon today was on the “he who dies with the most toys wins” fallacy! Sort of like what you were saying at the beginning of your essay. Money well spent, hmmm, well my little house and the upkeep I had to do during the pandemic, plumbing, furnace, gutters and downspouts, new storm door. AND I just went to England and back last to visit family. They are older and so am I (!) and I decided I shouldn’t wait much longer It was a lovely, peaceful vacation.