dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish

8.16.2006

A Better Way to Waste? (Pt. 1)

Everyone's had it happen. Fresh off of filling your tank with gas, you discover that you could have saved money by filling up at a different gas station. If you're like me, you immediately begin calculating how much money you could have saved. Let's see. . . eight cents per gallon. . . I bought about twelve gallons. . . that's a whole dollar down the drain.

Obviously, we'd all love to get the best deal on gasoline--and everything else, for that matter. The problem is that we can often spend time bemoaning the money wasted in such ways while ignoring the money wasted in other ways. I'm not about to get into a whole discussion of discretionary spending--read Money, Possessions & Eternity for a strong, Biblical perspective--but I wonder, do we consider our use of all dollars equally? Do we only desire to find the best deals so that we can waste that money in other ways?

The character Richard Carstone, from Charles Dickens' Bleak House, serves as an exaggerated example of this attitude. Though a kind young man, Richard was quite näive, especially when it came to money. On several occasions, his friends talked him out of foolish expenditures. Richard, however, viewed this not merely as money saved, but as money credited to him. Thus, if he nearly wasted £2, he believed he could spend £1 elsewhere, and come out £1 ahead overall.

While his reasoning is somewhat comical, it begs a serious question: what is wasting money? Coming to this point, I sometimes argue, At least I'm getting something out of it. That dollar I wasted when I filled up my tank got me nothing. I'm still getting [fill in the blank] with this money. The thing that makes the matter complicated is that this is usually true. Obviously, there's nothing inherently wrong with buying a soft drink, a new shirt, or a snack. Overall, I suppose the question comes to be whether or not we view "our" money as God's. Do we buy soft drinks, shirts, and snacks on impulse, or are we looking for opportunities to give?

But what about that dollar wasted on the gas? Are we not to care? Here's my conclusion. It's great to get the best price on gas, but we need to ask ourselves why. Why do we want to save money? Is it because we want more to use as we desire, or because we want to be good stewards of what God has given us? If the dollar is already gone, and we view the money as God's, yet still feel frustrated, are we trusting God to help us use it best?

The other side of this issue is the fact that the money isn't always the issue. Free stuff isn't always good to have. If a free donut is going to make me feel sick, or a free computer game is going to tempt me to waste time, I still should pass it up. But this post is long enough. I'll have to write about time and money later.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said jason

8/19/2006 8:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said jason

8/19/2006 8:03 PM

 
Blogger Clear Ambassador said...

DUDE! I didn't know you had a blog now! Last I checked you just had a blogger profile (obviously a long time ago :-P). Dang man, I've got some catch-up to do :-) I look forward to reading the musings of a somewhat like-minded fellow.

PS - Gas was $0.20/gallon cheaper in Ohio this week. That saved me roughly $4 total. YES! Now to go out and blow two bucks!

8/20/2006 2:36 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

That's a relief. I figured I was getting cyber-snubbed. :-)

8/20/2006 9:23 PM

 
Blogger Rae said...

Interesting post. Most people don't think about things that deeply. I know a few people who calculate how much gas and so on, but over all you raise some interesting questions. This was a good thinking post. Well done!

8/21/2006 11:28 AM

 

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