Of Misers & Millionaires

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I've been wanting to write about this for quite sometime but I kept putting it off because it is a very sensitive topic and I did not want to offend anyone. Money has always been a debatable topic. I am someone who believes that money cannot buy happiness, but it can certainly make your life comfortable. But, is this the only thing in your life? Is money the only thing that can make you happy? Is having a big fat bank balance your only goal? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves.

I come from a lower middle class family where I was used to fighting for the basics let alone the luxuries. So, I always knew the importance of money. When I grew up and started working, I did not take it for granted. I am very smart when it comes to money and I invest it wisely. Yes, I do shop and indulge in luxuries once in a while, but that is not my sole agenda when it comes to money. I am a person with many passions and passions come alive only when you invest something in it. Be it time or money. Travel is something that is very important to us, so we are more than happy to invest in it to create memories and have a good time. As much as we are smart with money, we are not misers.

Have you ever met a miser? I have met way too many and I have hated almost everyone if them. Spending on the basics and curbing on luxuries might make some sense at least, but what about those who cringe even on the basics. It is not like they don't the money, they have more than enough of it. It is just that they don't want to spend it. I know a lady who is so stingy that she's probably the queen of miserland. She cooks rice at home and borrows curry from the neighbors. She does not buy newspapers and waits for the neighbor to finish reading it so that she can borrow it. If someone visits her family for a meal, her whole family will visit them again soon for two meals. They don't use their car and choose public transport because the cost of fuel is higher than that of a bus ticket. She's known to beg, borrow or steal, but try to get her to loosen the purse strings and all hell breaks loose. Is this even called living? This one can give some serious competition to the world famous misers.

I have met many people in my professional and personal life who can equate and link everything to money. If I buy something, instead of appreciating it, the first thing they ask is how much it cost. If I travel, the same question is asked. If I plan for a team outing or a family lunch, the same question is asked and many of them automatically tend to avoid the occasion after it. Such people hate others who spend a bit more. I have been asked so many times as to why I waste money on travel. Someone even asked me why I spend money on Netflix, when I can use the same internet to torrent stuff instead. See, I do not like to waste money. I have no qualms in spending it to buy things I need. The unwillingness to spend is different from the unwillingness to waste, but I'm not sure how many people get that right.

When my mother fell sick last year, I saw the misers in the millionaires. It is not like I went asking people for money, because I knew that I was able to take care of the medical expenses by myself. But, I had people calling me just to let me know that they had no money and that I should not ask them anything. Trust me, when I know a miser, I'd probably drop a penny or two in their hands rather than ask them for something. Money does offer a lot of things. Better houses, better transport, better medical facilities, travel and in some vain cases, even love and relationships. But is that enough? Why are we known to worship money and let go of people? If I had a penny for every time I have witnessed a relationship (blood or friendship) break due to money, I would be a multi-millionaire now.

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I'm not preaching anything here. What I'm trying to say is as much money is important, we need to give importance to people and relationships as well. I firmly believe that if you put your energy and time into other things more important than money, money will follow it. Be it your passion, travel or friendships, it will find a way to work for you. When you are smart with money, it is called saving. When you save for the sake of saving, it is called being stingy. I've seen parents send their kids with empty lunch-boxes to their grandparents houses, so that they don't have to spend money. I've seen people eat the same food, day after day, with the same intention. I've seen people collect scrap and papers from their neighbors or even the roadside at times to add to their raddi. I'm not talking about people who have to do everything they can to survive. I'm talking about the people who have it all and yet give up on everything to want it all. The frugal are more often than not generous with whatever the have. While the stingy, if ever they are generous, it comes with a hidden agenda or a underlying future benefit. Or a calculated interest. The wile millionaires or the urban poor, what is this?

The one who are smart with money prefer to choose a simple meal over a elaborate buffet. They might indulge once in a while, but that's not what we are talking about here. With a simple meal, their purpose is fulfilled within a small investment. What matters is that their stomach is full. But the stingy would rather prefer to go hungry and skip lunch, but when someone else is picking the tab, they choose the most expensive meal plan that money has to offer.

Another species that annoy me the most are those housewives who don't make a single penny and yet act like they are the ones responsible for their lifestyle. Such women don't value money and flaunt something that is clearly not theirs. I'm not asking them to be indebted to their spouses, but a little bit of humility never hurt anyone. Another concept that gets my goat is Inheritance. What belonged to the parents, now belongs to the children. Who decides this? Why is this just assumed? I firmly believe that no one deserves the money that they haven't worked for. Even if money does come to someone in the form of inheritance, it will not stay. Free money always flows freely for an unexpected cause. I have seen this happen and honestly, that is the way it should be. There are no free lunches in today's world. No one should get anything for free. You want something, work for it. You want to stay stingy, don't expect it.

What is your take on money?

14 comments:

  1. Surprised at the extent some people could go. I have personally seen some cases you have mentioned here. I am lucky not to be around those for long. I have known people who run around to colleagues desks just to view their salary slips. Trust me,it is one of the worst behavior. While I worked, I have always felt satisfied with what I earned, but I have seen many people in the senior level complain about earning less. I used to wonder how is it even possible because they definitely earn more. Most misers belong to the category where we think they are the "People who have it all." For the last two years that I didn't work, all I did was start a couple of investments for my husband so that the money is streamlined. I don't like dependency, though my husband doesn't make me feel like that, that is something of a self-esteem for me. I work on small projects and earn my own. I don't like others telling me even for a namesake drama that I am spending all my husband's money. I hate that kind of drama and when that drama comes only from people who actually do that I have no words to say to them. I totally understand what you have written about, it is so true!

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    1. Oh man, some people just need to learn to mind their own business.

      I'm glad you are making the most of your situation.

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  2. yes, there is a difference between the unwillingness to spend and unwillingness to waste. My husband and I get so many uninvited advises on spending money, like you mentioned about Netflix. We don't look to save money on things which we feel that need. What's the point in having a well paid job and not willing to spend at all! Recently one such person ended up in spending double the amount by playing miser. I am still wondering why would you rent a place despite knowing that there are more crimes and less security, infested with rodents and roaches just because you want to save some dollars. I resigned when I got married and traveled to US with my husband, and everyday of the past 10 years I felt guilty of not working and earning. But my situation was different at that time,so my decision to join my husband leaving my job made sense. I have started to work part-time fitting my family's schedule, though this isn't enough for me, I am able to manage my guilt and worthless feeling better now.
    I hold similar thoughts about inheritance. Why would you automatically assume that you are eligible for your parents' wealth? And on that note, why would you assume that it's your parents' responsibility to take care of your children just because you have to work? Aren't daycares meant for this purpose?
    This was a good read, Soumya. It was as if I was reading my thoughts on your blog!

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  3. Yes, there's a big difference between people who save for a dream or a passion,and those who are greedy and want more money. It's very hard to reason with them or try to explain what passion or lifestyle means. Really, people question you for netflix! That's taking it too far. I know two of my friends back home who travel overseas on family vacations and have to hear an earful from colleagues on money. It's ridiculous.

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    1. Oh yeah, you don't know the extents to which some people can stoop down to.

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  4. Oh don't get me started about misers. I have seen people bring lunch from home to avoid spending money at work but then eat most of what other people are ordering, day after day and for free. I have seen how people conveniently forget to pay their share when we go for team lunches. Well, I actually ask them point blank about returning the money because they just take advantage of people's decency. There are so many forms of misers. That's why I stay away from most people. I spend my money how I want to and as much as I want to in a responsible manner and I never let misers piggy back on me because I these are people who can afford to pay but still choose not to.

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    1. Ewww, isn't that disgusting! I have seen people do it too and the main reason I stay away from people too.

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  5. Like you I am not a slave of money but I like a comfortable lifestyle and I am willing to work for it. I hate it when people behave in a cheap manner. And yes I have seen such misers and obnoxious people. Also hate those who are gaudy with money, splurging on stupid display. I know it is their money but do they have to make such a vulgar display of it. It's absurd how weird some people are about spending on essentials and pointing fingers at you for your spending.

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    1. You said it, Rachna. You earn to have a decent living, what's the point in earning then? I'm thrifty and a very smart with money, but I'm not a miser. Oh yes, the unnecessary display of wealth gets my goat too. It gets so in your face at times.

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  6. Just like you, I also had modest upbringing and spend my money carefully. I do indulge a lot in travel and netflix also. And yes, I have also seen well to do neighbours stealing milk from other flats. I would anyday choose a simple meal over elaborate buffet. The last para you wrote is my favourite, I hate housewives who do nothing other than splurging money.I hate those women who just spend time shopping and attending Kitty Parties. In fact I also wrote a post on them once. We should be wise with our money but not wicked

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    1. High five, sister! Housewives doing nothing makes me want to eliminate them from the planet!

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  7. Hahahaha! Been there, seen that! I can go all the way to my Granma's days when people (sometimes entire families) landed at our place and stayed for a month and acted like they owned the place. Then the newspaper/coffee powder/atta/rice borrowers. I have solid ego when it comes to borrowing anything. I'd rather do without.

    Soums, you left out those misers who love going out with friends but never ever offer to pay--the types that bum off everything from meals to car rides to getting away with not contributing to a pooled gift. Ugh!

    I believe money can buy happiness ;-) Thinking books here, hottie. And yes, definitely keeps us miserable in comfort. I wrote about this topic some time back. I love how everyone has a different take on it.

    I just wish people would be normal and kind.

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    1. Hahaha, you said it, Hottie! People who bum-off everything get a mouthful from me. It is annoying as hell.

      Money sure can buy happiness, to a certain extent. Books, clothes, book again :)

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