Blog 1622 – 02.28.2020
Jack-Pot Friday Again
It is Friday again and three out of four Februaries this would be the last day of the month, but this leap year it is not one of them. Most years this time of year I am working but this year I am not but still waiting to hear word of a new work assignment.
The last time this long a winter work hiatus happened for me was in 2017 when I was working in Wisconsin. It snowed several times and I was staying in a motel called The Travelers Inn in Mineral Point. I met a good friend in Mineral Point and we saw a lot of movies together and played table games, ate, and talked at eateries all over the area.
Last winter and this I pulled my travel trailer back to Texas to wait, with my lovely and loving wife, on a new work assignment. The wait was only a month in 2018 but this time it has already been twice that and a week. The 2017 time off work was even longer and I had to run up balances on credit cards and use some of my savings to meet all my financial obligations but this time I was better prepared. Not so many years ago I had myself convinced that I would have to work till I died and even then probably die in debt. I no longer buy that ego inspired sad lie. I am rich, I have always been, rich enough to weather any storm or unexpected financial crisis because my loving and infinite source is inexhaustible. Still I do plan to live my life completely debt free in a few years, maybe even retire from my traveling work, but not from traveling I hope, even if I have to work part-time to have a little more traveling money.
I have for some years encouraged all of my friends to heed a lesson my dear daddy tried to teach me as a boy. “Save your money, at least a little of all that comes to you. If you do you will never be broke.” I did not listen to him, nor learn it even for years after he had passed till I met a wise lady in Lafayette, Indiana who shared her experience of learning about money after her husband of some years passed. She had to learn and fast and she did and well. Well enough to teach others. I still recall her saying, “You have to trick yourself, play little games with yourself, to make saving money a habit and something fun.” And it is, a lot more fun than always worrying “How much does that cost and do I have enough.” Now of days even during this time when I often have had to take money out of savings to pay bills I still have gone to the bank more often to change ones and fives to hundreds for my gold and silver stash, also to trade in my rolled coins. You see my friend taught me to seldom if ever use credit cards and then only as charge cards where you pay the balance each month, using the credit card companies’ money interest free, but to use cash and teach yourself little tricks to hold on to some of it each time you do. The first trick she taught herself was to think of all hundreds that came into her hands as hers, and to hold on to them and save them.
I started with hundreds and fifties and began to see them pile up. But not fast enough, as I got so few in change, so I figured I would save Lincoln’s, five dollar bills. Getting fives still tickles me so much that my wife instead of restaurant gift cards, one of her favorite gifts to give, sometimes sends me a couple of fives in a card or letter instead. And much as I love to eat I love to stash those fives now even more. I was not getting enough fives in change to save so I started saving one dollar bills with D’s on them for the Federal Reserve where the were printed, D for Denver, D for David. I have since added other letters precious to me, L’s for Linda, my wife, E’s for Emily, my daughter, J’s for Jon, my son, and several others for notable and loved people in my life. What letter does the name you prefer to be called start with, maybe I will add it to my list. The cashiers love it when I trade a lot of ones for Bens, as it makes their jobs of making change easier.
After I had stashed quite a pile of Benjamin’s, (Ole Ben really is a handsome fellow) I got to thinking that as the government prints more money that the value of each Ben goes down and that also large cash transactions are tricky with all the illegal drug traffic and money laundering so I decided to change any additional one hundreds that I saved for gold coins. Yet, since it takes a while to save enough to get one of those and needing to see more immediate additions to my treasure trove I started buying a few silver coins along the way to each gold one.
Life is a lot more than money, silver, and gold but most of us know it is a lot less trouble and a lot more fun if you have some. My advice echoes my dad’s and that dear Hoosier Lady’s, “Hang on to some it, and make it fun, you will be glad you did.” I am, and I encourage everyone to have their very own “Cash stash.” And I am not talking “rainy day fund” or saving for anything – a car, a house, a boat, the kids’ college fund. Do that too but save some just for you, to have and to hold, till death do you part. Your beneficiary will be pleasantly surprised. But don’t wait expecting someone to leave you a big pile of money or to hit the lottery. Lightning strikes and financial emergencies are far more likely and more often.
Wanna be rich? You can beg, borrow, kill, steal or cheat others, maybe inherit, or win the lottery but then that kind of money usually goes as fast as it comes. The slow and sure accumulation of wealth through systematic saving is the longer lasting enduring kind of monetary riches.
Here’s to all my wise rich friends, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be but a spender and a saver.” I am ready to get to work making, spending, and saving some more money.
Your friend and fellow traveler,