Jun 11, 2006

Some Dare Call Him Tightwad

Tightwad n. slang. A miser. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Someone referred to me as a tightwad recently. A group of people were talking about buying a new car or something and one of them said, "Merle doesn't approve because he is a tightwad." How did I get to be the bad guy? Well actually, I know how I did. Years of nagging those around me to make better decisions about their money did it. Some people have been appreciative of my advice, most think I'm a cranky old pain-in-the-butt who is raining on their parade. Most of us want what we want, when we want it and don't need some naysayer telling us different. Dave Ramsey, the king of the get-out-of-debt financial school, likes to say that you know you are on the right track financially when broke people make fun of you. I have been called tightwad, miser, cheapskate and stingy. I have been advised that I can't take it with me and that I'll only live once. My crime? Suggesting that living within your means is preferable to spending beyond them. Most of these taunts have been hurled by broke people that I know. People who borrow to eat out, buy clothes, go on vacation and all manner of other things. That's just not me. The fact is that I'm none of the perjoratives that are associated with being "conservative" with money. I am quite generous to people doing good work and to my family. I like giving, but I don't give what I don't have. Because I don't spend recklessly, I have money to give. I know a woman who spent big money sending her kids to private school, giving freely to her church while racking up debt for everything else. Does that seem wise? The lovely Mrs. Sneed and I spent big money, all cash, to remodel the kitchen. We did it when we had the money. Most of the people who think I'm cheap would just take out a second mortgage or home equity line of credit and do it when they wanted to. I'm not comfortable doing that. Does that make me a miser? In the old days I used to try to make it from payday to payday with money in my pocket. That was my goal. I never spent more that I made, but many a time I went the last day or two between paydays with no money in my pocket. Nowadays I try to keep the amount of one paycheck in my checking account at all times. If I don't, I feel squeezed and that is a feeling I'd rather not have. Yesterday, one of my drip irrigation valves broke. Since I had to dig up the whole area to fix one, the guy at the supply store advised me to replace both of my valves. I agreed because they are 11 years-old. It cost almost $200 to get all The parts. The cushion in my checking account made this no problem. When I gave the clerk my debit card and he asked debit or credit, I could answer debit, with no thought to it at all. That is peace of mind to me. I admit that I do have difficulty spending money when I don't have to. It is not in my nature to splurge on mysef. I am thinking about replacing my computer at the moment. My computer is 4 years-old and still works. I would like an updated model, but I'll have to ditch a perfectly good machine to get it. What to do. I can get a new tower for $500, but should I? Same with my truck. It is 6 years-old, paid for and has 45,000 miles on it. I would like to own a new one and can afford it, but the current one still runs fine. It is a Ranger, so it is small, but it still meets my needs. Call me what you will, as long as it is not "in debt". Tag: Tag:

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