Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What would You Do with an Extra $1,500?

So, what would you do?

Save it for college?
Buy your first car (obviously used)?
Paint your cat?

No, that’s not a typo; I actually suggested taking your kitty in for a paint job.

Last week a friend sent me an e-mail featuring photos of freshly painted felines. Apparently people pay up to $1,500 for such beautification treatments—a process that must be repeated every three months as Fluffy’s hair grows. Some of the photos were kind of cool (for example the piano-playing cat, painted with a keyboard motif). Others were just creepy.

Two things immediately came to mind as I laughed over the photos.
1) I can’t picture a cat sitting still for such a process.
2) If I had an extra $1,500 to blow I can think of many things that I might spend it on, and none of those choices involve our cats (sorry Lucia and Princess).

In several of the photo the proud owner posed stroking or cradling his or her pet. A few even dressed and/or painted themselves to match. Now that’s taking pet loving to the extreme. For a moment I felt irritated, seeing the whole thing as a ridiculous waste of money. With so many in need, couldn’t those men and women, who obviously had extra, use that $1,500 to benefit a charity, a struggling family member, or a single mom with three kids?

Then a startling thought hit me between the eyes—one of those “Do not judge lest you be judged” moments. What do I do when I have extra cash (not that I do very often)? Give it to charity? Send it to a family in need? Drop extra into the offering bag at church? Sometimes. But more often I treat myself to a book at Barnes and Noble, set it aside for something that I want, or opt for the larger mocha at Starbucks. I guess you can consider these my extremely toned-down versions of painting the cat.

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying that it’s wrong to give ourselves a treat once in awhile, or to do something a little frivolous if we can afford it. We all need a lift now and then—a fun gift “to me, from me.” The question is what do we do with our extra funds most of the time? How do we manage our money overall, whether we have a lot or a little?

So now, what would you do if you had $1,500? No guilt if you still say, “I’d buy a car.” But what if you HAD to spend it on someone else? Now there’s a thought! Who would you help? I’d love to hear your responses.

Have a blessed day,


T. Suzanne Eller said...

As I watched Oprah's special last night (building a school for Africa's brightest girls), I was nudged by the Holy Spirit. I don't have Oprah's billions, but what do I do with the small amount of money that I do have? This is a thought-provoking post.

Thanks! Suzie

kaysi said...

Jeanette, it is so ironic that you posted this today, because I was thinking about this exact thing just yesterday! There's a place I like to visit that decorates extravagantly, and the fact that the amount of money used in their decor could be used to feed the hungry was brought to my attention... But my immediate thought was the along the same lines as what you're saying here... What extravangant things do I spend money on? (Emphasis on the "I"!) Just because my extravagance consists of $5 or $20 instead of thousands or millions, that doesn't change the concept whatsoever. And I agree with you completely -- it's not WRONG to treat ourselves, I think it's just a matter of being aware of the extra blessings that come to us when so many other people in the world are desperate for just the basics, and not letting our own "treats" get out of control. And hopefully, when we put things into perspective, it WILL motivate us to share our blessings with others and not just spend all our extra money on ourselves all the time! Great blog, Jeanette. :)

daflowers said...

Perhaps it is the difference between "Maybe I will treat my self to a manicure/pedicure," and "I deserve a manicure/pedicure."
Perhaps $1500 could pay off a bill or two, to free up more "disposable" income to give away each month. Or buy books for your favorite children program (no harm in treating yourself to book shopping for others. My addiction is more to the bookstore anyway.)
Just thinking out loud. :-)

Jeanette Hanscome said...

Thanks for the great feedback, ladies! It's so encouraging to know that this post got people thinking!

Blessings and hugs,