Mike Kueber's Blog

November 24, 2012

Aphorism of the Week #15 – What I spent, I had; what I kept, I lost; what I gave, I have.

Filed under: Aphorism — Mike Kueber @ 6:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

On Wednesday afternoon, I met an eHarmony woman for some get-acquainted drinks.  Because the day was gorgeous, we decided to meet at some place with a patio – Stone Werks at the Rim.  A few drinks later, a bite to eat, and a generous tip – $96.  That amount might be acceptable to many middle-class consumers, but it isn’t to me.

As I have reflected on the incident since Wednesday, I have concluded that I am currently independently wealthy only because I am willing to live like a poor man.  Henry David Thoreau once said something similar, although much deeper – “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”

Although my frugality might be accentuated now that I am living off my nest egg instead of earning any money, my friends will testify that this has been a lifetime trait.  Early in my career, I had the opportunity to supplement my salary by teaching some continuing education courses, but the lure of a few hundred extra dollars was never enough incentive to take on the extra work.  If I had something extra that I wanted to buy, I would scrimp on other things instead of trying to find another source of income.  That’s just the way my brain is wired.

The habit of living off a nest egg is also something that started early in my life.  As a kid on a farm, I didn’t receive an allowance that I was free to spend and then wait for the next one.  Instead, I usually was given a farm animal to raise and then sell in the fall for a quasi-nest egg, which I had to live on until the next fall.  Living like that hard-wires your brain to defer/avoid consumption.

My mom and dad grew up in the Great Depression, and I’m sure that some of their experience rubbed off on me and became my economic imperative.  But my parents weren’t as cheap as me.  Their attitude was better reflected in a quote that I heard a few days ago during a Darrel Royal tribute on TV – What I spent, I had. What I kept, I lost. What I gave, I have. 

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1 Comment »

  1. That Darrel Royal quote is great.

    Comment by Vance — November 24, 2012 @ 10:28 pm | Reply


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