Money and Dreams

I used to love personal finance blogs, back in the day when they were really just taking off. Then I stopped reading them because we had no money, and all of the suggestions were ridiculous since I was already forced into a far more austere life than even the most frugal of bloggers dared to write of.

It was apparent that the wounds of deprivation were healed not when we celebrated my new job with a frivolous dinner out (veggie burgers for a total bill of $5.something-or-other) but when I started adding money blogs back into my regular reading.

I quickly found that many great blogs were established in my time hiding from all talk about finances. One of my favorites is Mr. Money Mustache (warning: profanity) and I really, really like his wife’s posts and comments.

For instance, she considers the issue of  makeup not primarily from a feminist or religious perspective, but rather as a financial question of prioritization. In response to a one objection she writes:

If you want to stay home with your kids, for example, as I did, then every single dollar counts until you get there. You really strip down and go into uber-frugal mode because the goal is such an important one. Every single dollar that is spent is taking you away from your goal. That goal is a very powerful thing if it’s something that you really care about, as it was for me.

I love that!

These sorts of comments are exceedingly frustrating when you are considering a dream over which you have no control, but it is incredibly helpful for me to think about when I do have any sort of income.

You see, I dream of a better world. And that means that even if I cannot see one particular dream fulfilled, I can still work for other goals–other hopes.

I find frugality incredibly rewarding because it is an active assertion that there is something better out there than immediate gratification or materialism.

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4 thoughts on “Money and Dreams

  1. Mark S. is directly in line with your thoughts but from the point of view of making someone with first world resources address your post and then assist in DOING something useful. Love the way this post made me stretch my brain and morality.

  2. waywardson23

    So which money blogs do you read?

    I used to read Get Rich Slowly, but haven’t been back to it too often.
    I also read I Will Teach You To Be Rich. It takes a personal improvement approach over a frugality approach (more offense, less defense) and has some great information, if you can ignore Ramit’s constant sales pitches.

    If anyone is looking for a great “big picture” approach to personal finance, (Senator) Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth is fantastic. It is all about how to use your money to live your values and not get caught in the common traps that make people miserable and cause them to run into financial trouble. For example, she recommends buying a smaller house but budgeting some money for “fun”. If hard times hit, you can cut down on the fun and not lose your home.

    Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Warren was a law professor at Harvard and THE expert on consumer bankruptcy law. Whether you like her politics or not, her personal finance advice is solid. As someone who has helped file a few bankruptcy petitions, I have found the saddest thing people who have plenty of income, but have nothing to show for it because they spent it on material things that weren’t important in the long run.

  3. Adri

    So I get this wasn’t the point of your post, but wanted to share an article I read a while ago that is semi-related to what you quoted from Mr. Money Mustache.

    According to some studies, women who wear make up actually earn more $$ than those who don’t. If the extra earning power that comes from being perceived as “more competent” is considered, maybe it isn’t such a frivolous expense…maybe even a money maker?

    Can you tell I’m trying to justify the money I spend on make up? ;-)

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