“Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody…”
Okay, it’s not Saturday night, it’s Friday. And, unlike the song, I didn’t just get paid, either. Payday is the 5th and the 20th, but for some reason I only occasionally get paid before the official pay date when payday is on a weekend or a holiday. This cycle, payday is on a Saturday, and my check wasn’t deposited, but should be there on Monday. In the 5+ years I have worked for my current employer, my checks have never been deposited to my account on Saturday or Sunday or a holiday.
So, I’m well and truly broke until Monday. Then it’ll be a trip to the dreaded Walmart for groceries, because it’s very literally the closest and cheapest place for me to shop to fill my cabinet. I kind of wish it wasn’t. I wish it wouldn’t be such an imposition to boycott Walmart. But, I need light bulbs, and groceries and acetaminophen and there are few places I can get it all with one trip. Since I don’t have a car, one of my housemates who does gives me a ride for less than a taxi would cost me. But I can’t afford to be going three or four places to get what I need just to spite Walmart. I don’t have an extra $15 or $20 to spend on carfare twice per month.
Yeah, I’m that broke. Destitute. Penurious. Impoverished. Hey, I’m a thesaurus!
If I had money, I might have a car again, even though I really don’t like driving. I never was a “true American male” in that sense. Wasn’t champing at the big to get behind the wheel of some overpowered muscle care in 1970 when I turned 16 and could legally do so. I’ve seen cars I like, cars I thought were sexy, cars I thought would turn heads, but I’ve never been real focused on trying to acquire one of those for myself. I would have liked a Hummer if it was a little more practical, just because of its overall utility. I owned several American Motors Gremlins in my time. Seriously. Held onto one that I bought for $200 for over 10 years. When it finally just completely died and couldn’t be salvaged any longer, I bought a 5-year-old Chevy Cavalier station wagon that I then drove for 15 years, until I finally junked it almost 3 years ago now. And I’ve not had a car since.
What would I buy if I had more than enough money to be stupid with some of it? We’ll, I’d probably buy two cars. I would buy something small, seriously miserly on gas and upkeep, perhaps even a hybrid or electric. Maybe an electric Smart Car. The biggest drawback, to me, of a small car is that I would then be even more anxious about being on the road with all the idiots who would try to run over me in their two-story four-wheel-drive pickups. And I might get a van or a truck. To haul model airplane stuff to the field and back. If I had money and I needed to impress a date or something, I could always rent a vehicle for the evening.
See, that’s why it’s good to have money. There are a lot of things money can’t buy (but probably fewer than you think; I once quipped “Money may not buy happiness, but it’ll buy a good enough actress I can’t tell the difference!”) The most important thing money can “buy,” isn’t even a purchase.
When you have money, you have choices. What poverty does is steal choices. If you have a little money in the bank, you can quit your job without worrying about needing the insurance and not being able to go six months without while you wait to be eligible at a new job for their group insurance. (If you find a job that offers insurance.) You can decide where to go on vacation, rather than sitting around because you can’t afford to go anywhere if you do get a couple of paid days off. You can decide to look for housing where the schools are good or crime is low, rather than where the rents are cheapest. You can decide which restaurant to go to, instead of being limited to a choice of which flavor ramen to fix for dinner.
I’d have the option of shopping somewhere else instead of being forced to consolidate all my shopping into one trip (which actually isn’t a bad idea and is a good habit) to Walmart (which is the bad part).
Unquestionably, the single reason it is good to have money is because it buys you options.