If I had a dime…

We could all use a little extra money, right? It’s so easy to spend a bit here and a bit there, and before long, those bits really add up! I’ve decided it’s time for a new savings plan. Just something simple for a little extra cash. But what should my new savings plan look like?

I considered a few options:

1) A swear jar.

  • Pros:
    • It would add up quickly.
  • Cons:
    • It would add up so quickly I’d go broke.
    • If I start calling out others on their language, they’ll start calling me out on mine. And I’ll fucking hate that.

2) Go vegetarian a few nights per week.

  • Pros:
    • Buying less meat would save money and help the environment!
    • We’d increase our intake of veggies and teach our children valuable lessons along the way.
  • Cons:
    • The only vegetarian meals my family find satisfying and delicious involve hearty portions of pasta and cheese. They get full; I get fat.
    • Any other vegetarian meals lead all members of my family to eat multiple post-dinner bowls of cereal. This ends up more expensive than meat and creates more dirty dishes, which sucks for me and the environment.

3) If I had a dime… How many times do you think “If I had a dime for every time…” I think it a lot. What if I actually got a dime every time? Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

  • Pros:
    • I’m getting free dimes from the universe!
  • Cons:
    • N/A

Practical Applications:

1) When you buy a pair of shoes do you ask the retailer how much money she’s going to make on the transaction? How about your kids’ teachers? Do you ask them how much they stand to gain from your children’s educations? No? I don’t either. Nor do I ask my doctor, UPS guy, or pharmacist. I imagine no one does. For some reason, however, upon hearing the words “blogger” or “writer” people immediately ask about income. “You’re a writer? Do you get paid for that?” “How much money do you make from your books?” “How much do you get paid to write on XYZ website?”

Writer Income

This isn’t limited to bloggers or self-published writers. I have friends with books published through traditional publishing houses and they’re constantly asked about how much money they make, if they get paid for speaking engagements, etc. Maybe this is something that happens in all creative fields. While I won’t answer the question, I’ll tell you this: there’s a reason no one’s Get Rich Quick Scheme looks like this:

Get Rich Quck

2) Not only am I a writer, but I’m also a mother. So my work happens in the same place as my family responsibilities. Now that both my kids are in school it seems that I have a ton of “free time.” I’d like to have a dime for every time I’m asked, “What are you going to do with all your free time?” That way, I won’t have to actually write every day or ever publish anything again. If anyone asks what I do all day I’ll just direct them to my giant piles of dimes.

The truth is that I’m not yet entirely sure what my life will look like with two school-aged kids and I’m trying to figure that out. I feel pressured to have a meaningful answer, some excuse or reason why I’m still valuable. When I’m asked what I’ll do with my free time, the implication is that writing or taking care of my household have no value or don’t count. A dime for each time I’m asked would certainly help to take the sting out of it.

3) I’m going to go ahead and ask for a dime every time my kids do all that shit they do: needing 101 things after bedtime – dime! Stripping and discarding their clothes on the floor anywhere in the house – dime! Asking me where their shoes are – dime! Sneezing directly into my face – dime! Fighting over something stupid… this list is extensive. In no time you’ll find me here:

I know you don’t normally come here for financial advice, but I think I’m onto something. With this savings plan, my family will have extra cash on hand for any unforeseen expenses or a splurge here and there. I see more date nights in my future, so this is even sound marriage advice! Truly, I think I’ve outdone myself. All this and the kids haven’t even been in school a week yet. Just think what I can do with all my newfound free time!

If I had a dime

Image sources:

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4458&picture=pocket-change

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=23484&picture=typing-text

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=20851&picture=dollars-and-euros-background

Scrooge McDuck, Disney

Figuring it out

Since we first picked our knuckles up from the ground, lit a fire, and covered our nakedness, mankind has been grappling with the Big Questions. Pondering the meaning of life, the flow of time, and the movement of the sun and stars has resulted in brilliant moments of philosophy, creative works that stand the test of time, and great leaps in our scientific understanding. And yet, we don’t have all the answers.

Despite thousands of years of philosophers, poets, and scientists putting their minds to the task, I still can’t explain “tomorrow” to my kids.

“Is it tomorrow right now?”

“It’s today.”

“But yesterday you said that it will be tomorrow in the morning.”

“Yes, and that was true yesterday, but this morning is today.”

“When is it going to be tomorrow?”

“Well, never.”

“There is no tomorrow?”

“Oh, no, there is one, but when we get there it turns into today.”

“I’m going to die before I ever get to tomorrow.”

“ACK! Don’t say that. Yes, well, I guess you will. We all will, but that doesn’t mean we’re dying today. Look, something shiny!”

Time is an all-consuming and entirely confusing concept to children. They hear us talk about it constantly so they want more than anything to master it. Don’t we all?

Master Time

“Is it once in a while yet?” my daughter wants to know.

“Um, what?”

“Is it once in a while yet? You said I can wear my flip-flops once in a while, so is it once in a while?”

I did tell her that. She can’t walk in those things but she adores them. So I put her off with the classic, “Those are once in a while shoes.” She figures it out though. “Oh! I know! I can wear them when we eat french fries, because that’s a once in a while food!” Move over Immanuel Kant, we’ve got a new master of Reason.

They know that minutes can be long or short but haven’t figured out how to control which type of minutes they experience. My, “OK, in a minute,” response to a request for something invariably means the long kind, whereas, “Bedtime in 5 minutes,” usually involves the short ones. I might have revelled in my power over Time once, a power not meant to be wielded by mortal men. I stretched and shortened minutes, bent hours and days to my will. And then Luke learned to tell time. Damn that school of his! 

Parents control time

Children spend their days trying to understand the world around them. They come up with explanations for the weather, lunar cycles, why they can’t see their eyes in their shadows, and how people in Antarctica cope with being upside down all the time. Bigger kids explain the mysteries of the universe to littler kids, making up for lapses in knowledge with profoundly unfounded confidence.

Now my daughter tells me that wishes she was a boy so the sun wouldn’t always be in her eyes in the car on the way home from school. And I find myself explaining the Earth’s rotation to someone who is not listening or getting it because her mind is full and otherwise occupied, figuring it all out.