Our youngest sprout spoke to me yesterday about a project for high school she is working on. Her task is to write an essay about a specific universal truth. I didn’t tell her this, but I am glad, at least, that the school is affirming such a thing as universal truths.
She was struggling with which one to pick. I tried to get her to write about death as a universal truth. She told me that was too negative. She’s probably right.
In typical Greenbean fashion, I shot off about seven or eight quick universal truths that I think are worthy of her time and thought.
No matter which line you pick at the grocery store or bank, it will be the slowest one.
If you love a restaurant, and brag about how great it is to your friends, the one time you take them there will be the worst experience ever.
The book is always better than the movie. Always.
Whenever a preacher says, “Let me conclude . . . ” or something to that effect you can bet he or she is nowhere near the end. She is just getting her second wind.
If you wash your car, it will rain.
Ten minutes is the shortest amount of time between when the nurse puts you in the little room and the doctor actually comes to see you. This is true even if no other patients are in the building.
A watched kettle never boils.
If the dog gets sick or has an accident, it will be on the carpet. It will not be on the 93% of your floor that is tile or hardwood.
In the end she rejected these. I don’t know why? She decided to go with something all serious like, “human beings need companionship” or “everyone is prejudice about something.” I guess she wanted to get an A on her paper.
I’ve turned comments on for this post–in case any of you wanted to share some universal truths form your experience.
I ran way too long on the blogs regarding marriage advice and advice on raising children, so I’ll make that up by keeping this one pretty short and simple. I only have six simple pieces of advice regarding money. They are important, but simple.
1. Eat at home. Most people who are in financial trouble spend too much of their monthly income at fast food restaurants. Learn to cook at home, from scratch, with better and cheaper ingredients. It costs the average family of 4 about $25 or more to eat at a fast food restaurant. For about $10 I can cook that family of 4 a delicious meal and have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Besides, homemade always tastes better anyway.
2. Get this through your skull–the BANK is not your friend. Your bank exists to make money off of people like you and it does so by exploiting your bad habits and your impatience. Credit card commercials are funny. The interest they charge and the pain they dole out is not funny. Learn the difference.
3. Give money away. Until you show money who is the boss, it will demand to be the boss. The only way to show money that you are the boss is prove you don’t need the money, so give it away. I advocate for 10% tithe to a local church as as starter, but give away more than that. If you don’t believe in tithing or have an aversion to church (we should talk maybe, if you do) then I suggest giving it way to someplace else like a veterans organization or the American Cancer Society or any charitable organization you agree with. What you will find is that not only does it feel good, it gives you spiritual and emotional control of your money.
4. Be thrifty. Most of the things in life we need can be bought cheaper than new. Cars, books, tools and clothes are the big ticket items, but there are more things like cookware or furniture. I think God smiles upon the thrifty because it demonstrates responsibility and humility and he really digs both of those attributes. Thrifty is not just shopping for a used car or buying books at the used book store, it is about eating leftovers for lunch, turning off lights, and not indulging in things you don’t really need.
5. Don’t smoke cigarettes. I know of some very wealthy people who smoke cigarettes, but almost every ‘poor’ person I know smokes. Most smokers can’t afford it. They can’t afford it because of their health but they can’t afford it because of the price of cigarettes. Those things are very spendy and they literally go up in smoke and hold no value! Check this chart out on the price of a pack of cigarettes per state. In Texas, where I live, a 2 pack a day habit costs you $14.48 a day, or $434 a month. Yet, even the poorest of poor find a way to get their cigarettes. Life is about choices, and if you choose to smoke you are likely choosing to drain your life of wealth and financial security.
6. Get married before you have children. Child rearing is difficult, but it is also expensive. Single parents can make it, but it is extremely hard and it will hit your pocketbook pretty hard. God intended families to have a mommy and a daddy, and the financial obligations is one of the reasons why.
7. BONUS ADVICE: Read a book or two about finances. I suggest anything by Dave Ramsey, but especially Total Money Makeover. I made my oldest child listen to it on audio. I think every high school and college student should. Of course, I recommend buying it the thrift store or check it out at the library.