I hadn’t planned to post again until next week since this whole weekend is technically a holiday. However, I had an experience a few days ago that I’ve been thinking about a lot, and so I thought I’d share it with you here today. I’m curious to know if it’s something you can relate to in your journey with money—or in your journey with anything, really.
When talking about financial choices and financial philosophies, narrative is key. Most people who are thinking consciously about money have a story that ties the different phases of their life together and helps them understand their financial journey thus far. I have a story like this. Perhaps you do too.
Know who’s awesome? Albus Dumbledore. Clearly. For many reasons. But this observation of his is one of my favorite quotations, something I think about a lot:
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
This could be applied to a lot of things, but since this is a personal finance blog, let’s go right ahead and apply it to personal finance.
Choosing to be financially conscious is a relatively new thing for me. And this week I decided that it’s time for a reevaluation of this still-evolving aspect of my life. Specifically, I want to ask myself: what is the impact—on myself as well as on others—of my ongoing choice to be more financially conscious?
One day about five and a half years ago, when I was living in Vermont (a time, by the by, when my student debt was only half—half!—of what it is today), I was hungry, so I bought an avocado at the general store for about a dollar.
Okay, that’s a bit misleading, because yeah I was hungry, but I also had a much larger plan. I ate the avocado, and then I suspended the pit in some water, and I waited for it to hatch. If you have ever done this, you know that it can take many weeks. This one was particularly slow to awaken. I started the pit in April, and the first crack appeared in August. So I named her August.
Typically the financial choices we make at different times in our lives all impact one another in a pretty obvious way. In other words, my net worth at this moment is largely a culmination of past choices I’ve made about spending and saving and borrowing and investing. That’s kind of the underlying principle of personal finance, right? I could even argue that if I hadn’t bought that $7 Jamba Juice last summer, I would have $7 more in my bank account right now than I actually do. And in the personal finance sphere we talk a lot about trying to make better choices with our money, such as saving and investing our discretionary income instead of spending it on Jamba Juice.
Do you ever wonder about the impact that your childhood reading material had on your financial choices as an adult? Nope? Just me? Oh. Okay, no problem. But stay with me anyway, because I think this could be an important topic and I definitely want to know what you think.
As someone who has only recently started to become financially conscious (we’re talking less than a year), I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the financial choices I’ve made as an adult and trying to understand what factors might have influenced those choices. Not so I can make excuses for myself, mind you, but just so I can understand myself a little better. And since books had a huge impact on me growing up, I thought they could be an interesting possible factor to investigate.
So let’s rewind about 20 years.
If my sources are correct, it is now November, which means that my October Challenge to purchase zero restaurant food or takeout is officially over.
Rather than going through each day individually (since it occurred to me that maybe it is a bit of a leap to assume that just because you are reading my blog, you care what I had for dinner last Wednesday?), I will just offer a few brief highlights: