(photo credit: Riches. Photo by Sheila Sund on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)
It’s day 50 (woo-hoo! 50 days of 50) and I’m thinking about money.
It began with a passing conversation about one of those ads in the Sunday newspaper for getaway vacations. The prices for super-economy, economy and business class airfare differed by such a huge amount that my husband and I wondered aloud about what made a person choose business class over economy or super economy when for a short trip, which these getaways were, the price differential was so high.
That led to my considering whether I would think differently about which ticket to buy if I had gobs of money instead of being a regular person with a regular amount of money (whatever that means.) I don’t think I would change my mind about buying economy but not because I’m a stoic. I would readily accept an offer of a free upgrade to business class. And if it were a long flight, over five or six hours, then, I might consider the more comfortable, and more expensive, option. Or if I were an anxious traveler. Or arthritic. Or something else that I am not. But, generally, my reasoning is that I don’t need a few extra comforts for a short trip simply because I can afford to pay for them.
When I live inside my insular little world, I think that everybody thinks about money (and other things) the way I do until somebody says something that pulls me out of my misperceptions. Or makes me realize that not even I always think about money the way I usually do.
Take the airplane ticket example. I’ll search online for the best rates for a family trip, if possible changing dates to fly midweek or choosing an early morning or late evening flight in the name of thriftiness. However, when my mother was sick last year and I traveled to Baltimore frequently to help her out especially during hospitalizations and post-chemo treatments, I didn’t make my ticket purchase decisions based on price. It usually made sense for me to arrive on a specific day within a specific time frame and I made tickets accordingly, without much thought to any added expense it may incur.
The way each of us views the various aspects of life differs according to the breadth of our experiences and our individual responses to those experiences. But for most of us, our primary way of behaving in a situation, can change depending on circumstances.
Because I am married to somebody who knows cars, I trust his judgment regarding purchasing used cars. All of the cars (except one) we’ve driven in the last twenty-five years have been secondhand. I’ve gotten used to not spending as much money for cars as many people do and for us, the higher cost of new cars seem wasteful. But, since I don’t know a lot about choosing used cars, if I’d married somebody less knowledgeable than my husband, I would readily buy new cars, at their much higher price, in the name of safety and reliability.
Nothing brilliant here but thinking about all of this reminds me to try to be careful about judging other people’s choices. Somebody may spend their money in a way that seems foolish or thoughtless from my point of view, but from theirs, it might be the best option. And, if I were in their same circumstances, I might act in a similar way.
Or I might not.
The fact that we are not all the same, that we do not all respond to situations in the same way, is what makes life interesting.
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