Monday, May 16, 2011

Think About Money

 "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

 I think that's the only thing that I remember from my high school Economics class. It seems to be a pretty ubiquitous phrase, and most people are familiar with it. I wonder, though, if many people really understand what it means.

Perhaps I'm in the minority in the way I view money. I don't see it as a goal in life. For example, I see (for the most part, at least) designer labels, fancy cars, and huge houses as crass and gaudy. And, to me, a diamond ring doesn't mean love; love comes from the heart.

Suffice it to say, I'm constantly surprised at how other people seem to see and treat money. I've worked in retail for a number of years, but it's at my current job in a college bookstore where I've seen the most blatant abuse of funds, especially funds that come from other sources (i.e. government). As someone who was taught from an early age how to save money and make wise purchases/investments, I find it disenchanting to see how careless many college students are with their money. While I chock up many of these financial choices to immaturity and materialistic selfishness, it's what they do with government money and other aids and scholarships that irks me the most. Some students even brag about how they will avoid paying it back.

One student who had a bookstore stipend that she didn't have to pay back just started tossing items on to the counter, barely looking at what she was buying. "It doesn't matter," she said. "It's free." I had to stop myself from replying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

Another student was buying something with money other people had given him to make the purchase. When given the choice between a less expensive and more expensive item, he grabbed the more expensive one, saying, "I don't care; it's not my money."

"I don't care; it's not my money."

That statement denotes precisely what is wrong with so much in this country. Government programs; federal, state, and local governments; educational programs; school districts; corporations....

In most cases, it's not so much that the money doesn't exist (for various institutions and programs); instead, it's that the people in charge of handling the money don't allocate it smartly. In actuality, a lot can be done with a little.

Think about it; how do you view money?

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