Sunday, October 12, 2008

Being The Ant

So I'm caught up in the social whirl, which on the one hand is a great thing (yay people!) but on the other hand can be a bit expensive.

My friend Gaurav, who is off-consumption, would solve the problem by saying "I'm off-consumption; but I'll sit with you at this restaurant and not order anything."

Not being off-consumption myself, yesterday I tried the approach used in personal-finance books: when my friends suggested adding dinner to movie plans, I said "I'd love to, but I think that's going to overblow my budget -- I'll meet you at the cinema."

The personal finance books say that telling people things like this will help inspire a mutual feeling of spendthriftery; e.g. speaking honestly about spending and saving will help others to do the same.

In my case, it prompted my friends to ask me, concernedly, if I were a little hard up for cash right now.

No, not at all. Nowhere near it. Not that I wonder if I couldn't be, if every week were as busy as this one (four dinner invitations, two happy hours, the movie, and the weekly debate party).

I told them that I wasn't at all hard for cash, but I was playing the ant in the "ant and the grasshopper" story and my goal was to save up two months of living expenses by Christmas. (Originally I thought I could save three -- it looks like two will be the goal I'll actually reach.)

However, contrary to what the personal finance books wrote, even this admission did not spark a conversation about the "necessity of saving vs. spending."

Instead, I think my friends thought I was a little weird.

Maybe I am.

But I've got my cash-flow budget, and my "expenditures-by-category" budget, and... well, doesn't the ant come out on top in the end?


ctrlalteredmind said...

I'm the same, although unlike the ants I do that to save money for other indulgences (mmmm, electronics!). Repeated use of lines make me look cheap, though.. especially since on paper I might even be doing better than some of my friends (although they don't realize that I have more and bigger bills than they do).

People who think that way are obviously in the minority in the US (they form an overwhelming majority in Asian countries).

Here's a related article -

Blue said...

LOL but your HTML does not work!

Blue said...

Found story by googling "the street 10 more reasons." :)