Our pets can teach us a lot- unconditional love, responsibility, patience, and how to cool your jets when you find out your dog ate an entire roast chicken off your countertop. Three years ago we adopted Captain, our muppet mix, and everyday he bestows on me a new life lesson. Some of them I can do without (like that time he stole a teddy bear from a toddler), but others have helped me go deep and reflect on my money like…
Share (even if you didn’t mean to):
Lately my partner and I have been doing something kinda ridiculous. We rent a cabin in Nevada City and spend several weekends up there a month. In the summer, temperatures get up to the 100s and our favorite cool down ritual is a mid-afternoon cup of frozen yogurt.
It started with us giving Captain our empty yogurt cups and letting him lick the remnants. Then we started saving the last bite for him and feeding him a spoonful. Finally, we broke down and bought him his own cup of frozen yogurt.
That’s right, we spend $3 on frozen yogurt for our dog and top his cup off with dog biscuits. Is this ridiculous? Yes. Do we care? No. Why? Because every time we go for frozen yogurt, we go as a family and there is a tenderness in our memories. That’s what sharing gives us.
Some of my most feel-good moments with spending money have been when I have spontaneously offered to buy a friend brunch, dinner, drinks- whatever.
There is something wonderful about sharing our money with others. There is something even more wonderful in doing it out of impulsive love.
What this shows us that money can be loving. It can be thoughtful. It can be sweet. It can be tender.
Give Yourself a Treat (for just being you):
My dog gets a lot of treats for doing nothing. Well, actually, if he isn’t doing anything that means he is being good. And then he gets a treat. Sometimes I even give him a treat for just being cute. Sometimes, he treats himself. Like the first time he ate a roast chicken off of our countertop- and the second time.
As, um, disappointed as we were to discover our dinner was gone, it’s hard not to respect his unapologetic approach to treating himself. Why don’t we take the same approach in our human lives?
Now, I’m not advocating for treating yourself by way of stealing someone else’s dinner or buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need. But I am advocating for doing something kind for yourself just because. Maybe it’s buying the fancy chocolate. Or ordering the not least expensive glass of wine. Whatever it is, those extra $2 in appreciation of yourself are worth it.Money can be kind and it can be kind to you.Click To Tweet
Accept what is offered (and enjoy it):
Captain has an alias in our neighborhood- The Great Mooch of Holly Park. He is infamous for wandering around our neighborhood park looking for petting. In fact, if someone offers him a pet (or a treat), he will lean on their legs, sit on their feet, stare into their eyes, and enjoy the petting until we, or the poor duped petter, finally breaks and walks away. Captain always accepts what people offer him and will lavish in it without a second thought.
How many times have you had someone offer to pay for dinner and said, “No, no. I got it.” Or, had a friend offer to pay for your services and you insist on offering it for free? I am particularly bad at the second one. Even with friends I know can afford my services, I still insist that it should be a gift.
However, lately, I’ve been considering the idea of the conscious yes, intentionally accepting what others offer and not feeling guilty or like I need to make it up. Instead, like Captain, simply enjoying the gift. This doesn’t mean expecting people to foot the bill, but it does mean that when they offer, intentionally deciding to say yes, rather than defaulting to no.
Because money appears in unexpected places. Money wants you to say yes.Money appears in unexpected places. Money wants you to say yes.Click To Tweet
Save (for what could happen):
We recently discovered that Captain has a cracked tooth with an exposed root and needs to have oral surgery. Like put him under type of oral surgery. If you’ve ever had a pet need dental work, you know it is not cheap. The situation could have gone like this:
Vet: “Your dog needs a really expensive surgery that is going to suck you dry and leave you frantically working extra hours for the next 6 months.”
Us: *opening laptops, frantically trying to acquire extra work, while simultaneously posting all our possessions on CraigsList*
But instead it went like this:
Vet: “You dog needs dental surgery. It costs *expensive number*.”
Us: “Ok. What’s the next step.”
How? As soon as we got Captain we started putting $40 a month away into savings for Captain-related expenses. In fact, we put the money away for exactly this type of situation. To be honest, we don’t have an extra *expensive number* laying around, and if we hadn’t been saving, scenario one would have been very likely.
By saving, we prioritized our future financial and emotions well being and made an investment in our happiness. Sure, it costs us a night out a month, but we are much happier watching Netflix with our muppet, knowing that our entire family is well cared for. Money can be there when you need it.