By: Revanche

Humility in all things

August 30, 2007

Sistah Ant’s favorite financial advice unexpectedly struck a nerve. She reminds us that it’s important to place pride where it belongs: firmly behind our goals. It should not get in the way of, or undermine, our efforts to carve out a stronger financial position. We shouldn’t let appearances or materialism take precedence over that which we truly value. That could be anything. For Sistah Ant, it’s a Home of Her Own. For me, it’s financial security. For you? Anything. Your castle in the sky, your early retirement, saying “I don’t have to take this, I’m going home!” to your boss when the job gets too uppity. Anything.

That car, those accessories, the pieces of plastic that enable you to spend more quickly, efficiently, and wastefully so that you don’t “look poor” in front of your family, friends, or complete strangers shouldn’t get in the way of what really matters.

This piece of advice resonates strongly with me. Growing up, my best friend never hesitated to state clearly “I/we can’t afford that.” This statement and attitude came from her parents who worked hard to provide for their children and set firm limits on how much they would spend on wants. This is how they live comfortably and own their home on one income. They would say “no, that doesn’t fit in our budget” and that was the end of the story.

Their attitude was as fundamental to my financial growth as my parents’: “We’ll make sure you get it, no matter what we have to sacrifice.” While my parents’ work ethic serves me well when I need to put my head down and bull ahead through obstacles, it ultimately wouldn’t make any difference without the ability to both identify priorities and be humble enough to admit that I can’t afford everything.

I’m sure it started out as honesty when we were twelve, but now that we’re adults, it’s a matter of pride. These things actually matter more to adults than they do to kids or teenagers; I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. Every week, every day, opportunities to spend money comes up. Every week, I remind myself that I’ve a small allowance. After that, it’s money that I don’t have.

It’s not easy, even if I did expect to be my parents’ sole provider. It’s not always easy to say, “Sorry, I can go to a dinner OR a movie, not both.” Or not being able to give cousins “enough” for their birthdays and graduations. Not being able to gift that much for family weddings. Not buying lunch at work because it just adds up too fast. Or wearing the same suit to multi-day work functions, so that even your boss notices, because new suits and tailoring are too expensive.

It just sounds so petty, and who wants to look like a piker?

If, as a junior high student, as a high-school student, and as a college student, she hadn’t been consistent about knowing her limits and living within her means, if my best friend hadn’t been humble, I might not have seen that there’s nothing wrong with openly living on a budget.

To know how to spend less than we make, and save more than we spend is wisdom. Actually applying that wisdom to your life despite temptation is humility.

3 Responses to “Humility in all things”

  1. It’s hard to admit to friends that you can’t go out to dinner AND a movie, and you have to pick one or another.

    For us, it’s much easier in society to claim: “Oh I have to work”, as an acceptable excuse to get out of social functions. When in reality, we just cannot afford it and/or don’t want to go, but don’t want to say: “No, I can’t afford a $80 breakfast + tip at some castle this Sunday”… (true story!).

    It’s much easier for me to be out of town so I have a truly valid excuse of why I’m not going out and blowing $300 on some shopping spree…

  2. Sistah Ant says:

    great post – humility helps!

  3. ~Fab~ Oh my goodness, I have and still do use the work excuse. Honestly, saying “I can’t afford that” gets so old and incomprehensible to friends who don’t understand fully that my money isn’t my own.

    It’s only going to get worse as we get older 😛

    ~Sistah Ant~ Thanks!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This website and its content are copyright of A Gai Shan Life  | © A Gai Shan Life 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red