Thursday, May 24, 2007

When Do You Appreciate Your Money the Most?

Do you ever stop to appreciate what money can buy? We all have times where we think "I'd love to have XXXXX, and if I had more money, I could afford it." But aside from idle dreams of luxuries we may never be able to afford, when do we really find ourselves appreciating the money we have? Valuing it?
I ask because it is a beautiful evening in Brooklyn. I came home, ate dinner on my balcony, and sat out there for a while with a glass of wine, talking on the phone to a friend while watching the twilight deepen. The moon is out, you can see Venus, and every couple of minutes a plane goes by overhead on its landing path into LaGuardia. There's a soft hum of traffic noise, but otherwise it's quiet and dark, and no one is out except the local cat who likes to thread his way through everyone's fences.
Those of you who live in suburban houses might not appreciate this, but in New York City, where almost all of us live in cramped quarters with limited windows, and often no outdoor space, being able to have a quiet, solitary moment outdoors on a warm evening, while simultaneously being in the comfort of one's own home, well, it's just extraordinary. At least that is how it feels to me.
And this makes me so happy that I was able to buy this apartment. It took money to do that-- money I earned through work, and money that has grown from good investments. I spend my money on lots of things, and sometimes I wonder how worthwhile they really are. But tonight is one moment where I feel like the career rat race, the budgeting spreadsheets, the bank balances: they're all worth something. This may still just be materialism in some form-- it's not like I'm saving the world or curing cancer. I'm just enjoying a moment of peace that I wouldn't have in quite the same way if I'd made other financial choices in my life. But sometimes, I think, that's enough.
Do you ever feel this way?

14 comments:

optioned unarmed said...

You are enjoying the simplicities of nature. You are lucky to be able to do so.

But it is sad that it would seem that such basic luxuries, which are really actually necessities, require money.

mOOm said...

At the biggest scale I am contemplating moving to Australia or Arizona or somewhere and not worrying about getting a job there....

Anonymous said...

My car was broken into yesterday, and I was able to go to the auto glass store, spend 160 bucks and get it fixed immediately. If I didn't have extra money, I'd be driving with a trash bag on my window. *shudder*

Anonymous said...

I live in Philadelphia and am frequently surprised at how many absolutely quiet hours I experience. I am not much of an outdoor person mainly because I attract bugs. But I like sitting in my home office and listening to the dull hum of traffic while working or reading. I think its sheer bliss.

Cheryl said...

Yes!! I live in Florida, which most would consider paradise anyway...but when you live here, you do not stop to appreciate what we have. Whether sitting on the beach reading, walking my dog inb the neighborhood, or sitting on my balcony , much like you were, enjoying the quiet surroundings of my home, which I own....yes. It was a good choice to buy when I did. And a good choice of where to buy.

optioned unarmed said...

Taking a cab occasionally, instead of public transit. If it is very late, or I am very tired, I am so grateful to be able to afford this luxury. I remember a point in the past where this was not an option.

chica said...

Being able to pay to have my mom's AC repaired without blinking an eye made my budgeting a worthwhile endeavor.

hazygrey said...

It's cliche but I recently took a vacation to Paris. I often threaten to leave my stressful job for a lower pay, lower stress one, but at times like that, I remember why it's nice to have money. The occasional vacation, cab rides, meals out with my DH~ They're all material things and aren't necessities but they sure make life nicer.

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fin_indie said...

Absolutely! I have this feeling every Saturday morning -- the sun coming up, a truly excellent cup of coffee and near silence. Inner-city Seattle is not anything like NYC, but it generally has quite a bit of commotion going on. For whatever reason, Saturday mornings are different, and without having to leave the house to go to work, it's time you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors. I love it.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

There are a few ways I appreciate it...

1) When I use my American Express card and know I can pay it off.

2) When I use my sweet little laptop, which started as a bad idea expense and ended up as my only computer. It gives me the flexibility to work or play wherever I'd like.

3) When I do things like make an expensive haircut appointment and don't worry about where the grocery money will come from.

Love your blog -- please keep it up.

clkl said...

We lead a relatively frugal life.

I appreciate having money the most when an emergency hits, and I have the option of throwing frugality to the wind to solve/mitigate problems.

This is true even for minor emergencies. When some of the children are home with the flu, I can send the others to school via taxicab.

When a friend's mother was very ill, I could help her buy a train ticket to visit her mom.

Saving as much as possible when it doesn't matter, allows me (sometimes) to "throw money at a problem" when it does matter.

This is freedom.

NewbietoNYC said...

As a little girl, I dreamed of living in New York City, and I'm lucky enough (and I've worked hard enough) to be able to afford that now. Nearly every day, when I step out of my building and my foot hits the sidewalk, I'm reminded of how much I love being here and that the struggle -- however hard -- was worth it. Any extra money on top of that is icing on the cake.

MissGoldBug said...

Madame X-

I've read and re-read this post. It was so well written, I loved it. It reminded me on a particularily grumpy day of how very, very much I have to be thankful for.

I am a home-body and a nester. I adore all things home related and it is where I spend all my fun money... Therefore, I love nothing more than savoring the moment in my home which my generous salary and hard work affords. I sometimes forget to reflect on the wonderfulness of simple pleasures during the hectic pace which sometimes is my life...

Thanks for the reminder, I needed it today.

MGB