Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Give money me, take friendship whoso list".

So said the old poet Barnabe Googe, whose Dickensian name would have been worthy of a clerk in a counting house.

In 'Provide, Provide", a greater poet tells his readers-

"Make the whole stock exchange your own!

If need be, occupy a throne,

Where nobody can call you crone".

Money is much on all our minds for the next four weeks, for merchants rely on our money to put air in their retail soft tires. Our children want us to prove we love them by asking us to line up outside the electronics store at midnight, only hours after eating our Thanksgiving dinner.
The poets advise putting cash away to buffer us in old age when our health and friends are gone. But we-we prefer to spend. If not our own money, well- then the bank's.

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." So said Thoreau. This thought never occurs to a young professional woman with a ten thousand dollar limit on her credit card. Over to the Green Hills Mall she will go ,to buy a handbag at Louis Vuitton.

Why not? It helps the economy. She can afford $175 a month for her Mastercard, and 15% interest.
But let her be late by twenty-four hours in paying that bill, and her interest and her payment double. She would have been better off paying the thousands she spent on the handbag in cash.

But she could not afford that. She has no cash. She has only her labor. If she is a nurse, she might get overtime or a second job. Extra checks that could help her pay down the debt. Reclaim her life. Instead, she feels rich again. What is a luxe pocketbook without shoes to match? Back to the mall, using a different credit card. She has five or six.

Then Bear Stearns fails, interest rates rise, overtime is no more. She has to pawn the handbag to make a car payment.

I know people who live like this. I have had brushes with this myself, though I, who always buy second hand, have never worshiped pricey leather in whatever form it comes. I once owned a Coach pocketbook that I bought at a thrift shop. A nurse I worked with offered me $30 for it one night as we talked at the nurses' station. I sold it to her, and carried my keys and wallet home in a ziplock bag. That nurse thought she had gotten a bargain, but I had the cash.

I do not have credit cards anymore. My Chanel boutique is the Goodwill store. If I have no cash, I cannot buy, and if I deplete what cash I do have at an estate sale, I must do without till the next payday.

Thus I am spared paying for a pontoon boat I might use once a year, or for a car bought only to impress. This is a perk of being over sixty, when one has little desire left for jewelry and clothes and makeup.

The currency I want now- free time, good health, and peace.

Not one of these is for sale on "Black Friday".


Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Giving thanks to your wonderful blog and the support of mine. I only appreciate it when drop by. Have a good holiday. Kevin

betsy said...

Thanks, Kevin. And thank you for being my eyes and ears in Old Hollywood!

Out on the prairie said...

I click plastic a little still, but it comes out of checking. I laughed talking with a young couple trying to get budgeted, remembering trying to keep my spending at their age under 1800/month.LOL