“Pay Yourself First”

Blog 1541 – 12.07.2019

“Pay Yourself First”

Money even in small amounts has as long as I can remember been too important to me for me to lose track of. I remember marveling at my younger brother finding money that he had hidden in a book and forgotten about, he being quite and pleasantly surprised. I always wished that I could be more like my brother in that regard. Don’t get me wrong like most of you I have found money just laying on the ground, most often pennies, and believe you me I still pick them up considering them good luck no matter which side is facing up. And, on several lucky occasions I have found Benjamin’s, though I am pretty sure I never misplaced or lost a single one of those.

Some years ago a friend pointed out to me, “David, you make too much money, not to have a stash of cash.” She went on to say that if one makes saving money a game, in no time at all they will have a stash of cash and will never ever have to think of themselves as ever again “poor.” I thought of the scene in the movie, Gone With The Wind, where Scarlett O’Hara returns to her family’s plantation, Tara, after fleeing Yankee General Sherman’s take over of Atlanta, to find Tara destroyed and ravished by the war and herself in a dark and measly turnip field digging in the dirt trying to find something to ease the hunger in her belly. She raises her head and hands and swears an oath to the dark night sky, “As God is my witness, neither I, nor my family, will ever go hungry again.” I, with Scarlett, determined that I would never ever think of myself as “poor” again but that as faithfully as I had always paid my bills and taken care of my financial obligations that I would pay myself first and see myself growing richer not poorer every day from that day forth.

My friend said it had long been her practice to consider any hundreds passing through her cash register at her restaurant as “hers” and that she kept them in envelopes labeled for this or that. I decided to adopt her game only my first envelope would be “David’s Cash Stash” that I never intend to spend but to keep as “FU Money.” I think you can figure what the FU stands for. FU Banks and credit card companies – loan sharks. If I need to borrow I will borrow from myself and pay myself back with ten per cent interest. I am a rare breed “a banker with a heart.” I have even once or twice forgiven my own debts to myself. Like the the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

The last several days as I have been thinking of my current work assignment ending soon, I found myself getting a bit anxious over the possibility of having to dip into some of my other savings, not my FU cash stash, my silver dollars, or gold coins laid by, but one of my “rainy day funds” I was calculating when my last paychecks from this work might hit my checking account and not just considering how I was going to pay bills, as I once did, but more importantly to me now, how much I would be able to put aside in envelopes or accounts – “FU money”, “retirement funds”, and “rainy day funds.” The money saving game has become so much fun I am continually finding new ways to redirect cash flowing through my wallet. First it was hundreds and fifties I claimed as “mine” and stashed but my stash was not growing fast enough so I decided that I would also save five dollar bills too, then ones with certain letters for where they were issued from on them. I started with D for Denver and for David, for me, then have added other significant to me letters till I save more and more of what passes through my wallet.

I always save my coin change, roll it, and exchange it at the bank along with my saved ones and fives for Benjamins, having already enough of those stashed, these days I save any additional ones I collect for the purchase of ever pricer gold coins. Safe space, and ever fewer banks having safety deposit boxes being a consideration, I may have to graduate to platinum or diamonds to keep my growing fortune manageable. What I have developed is my own “cash back” program and I am not talking about some credit card scheme where they charge the restaurants and shops you frequent a larger percentage for accepting your credit card so they can “give” you “cash back.” Oh, and how they love to increase your limit so you can pay more and interest into their coffers.

Where was I, before I got carried away, somehow I was thinking I would not get paid again till next Friday. What a pleasant surprise to find a nice deposit in my account Friday morning. I finally felt quite pleased and surprised about unexpected treasure like my rich brother, oh joy.

Don’t just dream of hitting the lottery or a big jackpot at a casino. That but rarely ever happens but mostly makes the lottery sponsors and casino owners that much richer. Start your own “cash stash” today and stop thinking of yourself as poor. You are not, as a dear lady of color once said, “As long as I have canned food put aside, nobody can tell me what to do.” That was her FU Money.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

“Pay yourself first” are today’s encouraging words to all my “rich” friends

David White

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