Although i have written about money and how it has become invisible quite recently i have decided to include it as part of lent. Money, like coins, seem to have two sides and can be used for both good and evil. The world in which we live is very controlled by money and it is all too easy to spend more than you have.
A number of years ago i carried out an experiment with money; where was it going? And was it being spent wisely? I looked at three things, books, magazines and visits to Starbucks or other like establishments. I found that i would buy more books than i could possibly read in a month and most magazines would end up in the bin after a cursory look. As for Starbucks, it is all too easy to go in there for a drink and end up spending three-times the amount of money by buying a sandwich and then a cake. I found i was buying a month; up to 8 glossy magazines, paying about £3-4 for each one, my one visit a week to Starbucks or elsewhere had grown to three-times a week at about £7-8 a go and i was spending up to £50 a months on books, which i was stacking on the shelves and not getting the time to read. I wasn’t buying the books all in one go, i would make a weekly pilgrimage to the book shop. And i know i am not the only one.
I have been trying to find a website that would tell me how many coffees Starbucks sells in a day in the UK, but couldn’t, but i did find this fact; in 2011 Starbucks sold 8.2 million cups of coffee a day in the USA. I have a feeling that that figure would be even higher today judging by how busy my local shop is. Waterstones book shop, which is the only book shop in Bradford stock 30, 000 consumer titles in their average store and we all want a new book, don’t we? Most magazine come out every month and you just have to have the latest, don’t you?
The fact is that we do not need any of that, nope none of it. It will be a rare occasion when the only thing that is available to drink is a coffee and the only thing there is to read is new magazine or book! I stopped buying magazines, i never, ever buy a magazine now not even the ones with the cutesy ‘thingy’ on the front. I do not have the money to eat out three times a week and usually when i go out for lunch my friend pays. I won’t say i never frequent cafe’s because that would be a lie and i try not to do that either. I wouldn’t even call it proper food, it is often loaded with sugar and/or fat. As for book? Books will always be my weakness, but truthfully i have enough books on my own book case to last me quite some time and then there is the new library. I do love the feel of a new book though! And there is always that ‘new title’ that you really must read!!
If i were to ask you how much money you had in your purse would you know? If you took money out of the bank, let’s say £20 (or the equivalent) would you know by the end of the week what you had spent it on. I am not giving up money for lent, it is not possible to give up money and survive even for lent, but i am giving up the ‘easy come, easy go’ feeling that can come with money. I am going to be asking myself ‘do i really need this?’ before i buy or pay for anything.
On it’s own money is not evil but it’s misuse is. The lack of money can make individuals feel like outsides, i know i am now an outsider. Yet we can do so much good with money if only we say ‘no’ to some of the pleasures of this world. What has cost you money in the past that you have now let go off?