It’s Thursday, which means you get Vanessa instead of Nelson. HEY. STOP CHEERING SO LOUDLY.
A few days ago someone asked me a strange question — “what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?”
I promise that this wasn’t at some sort of high school slumber party but rather, a random question from someone who decided that I was too naive and pent-up and that I needed to let loose. I began to throw out things in my life that I consider crazy — living in Bulgaria, going to Cuba alone, taking off to Europe for 3 months with almost no notice, deciding at the 11th hour that I didn’t want to go to law school — but this person just laughed. Apparently, waking up naked in bed with 3 other people and not remembering how you got there was crazy; my life? Not so much.
At the end of the conversation, and after I had repeatedly reiterated that I’m happy with my life, I reflected on why crazy adventures never really appealed to me. In short, I’m too damn cheap to have fun.
It all started back in high school. There was a Christmas party where a secret Santa would take place. The party was going to be a mix of seniors and juniors but, because I rarely spoke with people in other grades, I wouldn’t know anyone outside of my friend circle. Growing up with no money meant that I would have to beg and plead with my mom for $10, to buy a gift for someone I didn’t know, and to then receive a gift that I wouldn’t likely want in return. It seemed like a waste of money to me and so I didn’t go. Those same friends talked about that party for weeks afterwards but I didn’t mind. I had saved money and learned a powerful lesson:
Saying no to things that you don’t really want to do is perfectly acceptable and can save you money.
Sometimes I go a little bit overboard (like when I didn’t want to go to prom) but mostly I’ve found a happy balance. Simply saying no has saved my thousands of dollars over the years and is definitely one of the reasons that I didn’t finish university in a terrible financial state.
Let’s talk for a moment about my last wild night out — back in 2009. I was a wee lass of 21 and I was not in a good place in my life. I worked 48h a week, studied full-time and just wanted to get so drunk that I couldn’t move anymore.
Drinks: I drank about 4 glasses of wine, 3 shots, a few beers and a lot of tequila and Sprite. Let’s average my drink cost out at $8 each and multiply that by 15 or so drinks and voila, I’ve just spent $120
Taxi: I was in not shape to drive home and so I took a taxi back to the ‘burbs at a cost of $30
Potential robbery: I lived in a bad neighbourhood at the time and passed out on my front stoop. Anyone could have walked by and robbed me blind (cell phone, iPod, wallet) or worse
Missed work: Here’s the big one… Once my roommate found me and dragged me in, I stayed in bed for 50h+ Two days of work at $16 an hour is $256
In total, my night of debauchery cost me over $400 — plus the hangover, plus the fact that I could have been robbed and murdered. Was my night worth $400? The people that I was with said that I was having a good time but frankly, I can’t remember much of that night. In fact, I can’t even accurately remember how much I drank or which of my roommates brought me to bed.
The next time my friends went out I stayed home. I found things to do at home (reading, cooking) that were enjoyable but also much, MUCH cheaper than going out to the bars. Sure some people may think that my life isn’t fun — and, in the conventional, early-20s sense, it isn’t — but I’m ok with that. I’d much prefer to squirrel $400 into my retirement fund, rather than into a bartender’s.