Thursday, August 21, 2008

A $1200 Latte

A barrel of latte at Starbucks would cost $1,200. Kinda puts that $115 barrel of oil in perspective, doesn’t it?

Last week, Todd G. Buchholz, an economic advisor to the older, smarter President Bush, wrote an opinion for the Wall Street Journal that presented a much less frantic, and panicked, view of the economy than what we see and hear on television and read in the newspapers. In short, he noted that most of the important economic indicators, with the exception of housing and financial, are not doing bad at all.

I’d love to know that something I could do, some decision I could make, would have a dramatically positive effect on the economy. But you know what the only solutions I can come up with are? Be creative, work hard and smart, pay down my debt, and have big dreams. Those are the only solutions that affect me, mine, and those I’m trying to help.

When it comes to economics, here are two strategies I’ve used over the years that seem to work for me.

First, I have a limit of money that, if I want something that costs the limit or under, I go ahead and buy it and don’t worry about it. Years ago, when I first started my own business the limit was $5. If I saw something that was $5 or less and I wanted it I bought it and didn’t worry myself to death about it.

I’m all for being frugal. But, pinched pennies pave the road to stress as far as I’m concerned. Every night when I come home I throw whatever coins I have in my pockets into a dish. When the dish is full I put the change in a jug. Every summer I cash out the jug and use the money for fun on vacation. In 15 years I’ve never had more than $197 dollars in change. A good shrink today will cost $200 for one hour. I’ll take $197 worth of beer and wings at the beach any day.
And by the way, my business is now successful so my limit has absolutely doubled.

I use the second strategy every time I go to the grocery store. There’s that person holding the silver can of LeSeure little green peas at 89 cents in one hand and the Food Lion peas at 87 cents in the other hand. 89 or 87? 89 or 87? I say pick the silver can and live it up!

I’m not an extravagant person. No flashy clothes, car, watch, or wine. And, yes, there are times when money is tight. But, there’s got to be more to life than worrying about the Benjamins.

I realize some folks are in tight situations, often due to market forces they don’t control. But, waaay too many folks believe the economy is tanking based on what they see and hear on the tube and in the paper.

Here’s what I’m going to do…Be creative, work hard and smart, pay down my debt, have big dreams….and vote in November.

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