Further Up, Further In Weblog

Chronicling the Journey of the Homeyers

The Value of a Dollar August 12, 2008

Filed under: Life of Matt — furtherupfurtherin @ 9:01 pm

Sorry it’s been a while since the last post.  I have been on vacation, at conferences, and attempting to Pastor and enjoy summer a bit between all of this.  It has been a good time.  Good times for reading and reflection and taking some time away from life in order to fall back in love with it.  I hope that makes sense to you.  If it doesn’t, you need to get away. 

Here is a thought that has cropped up the past couple days.  The phrase is thrown around quite a bit (I don’t really use it, I’ve never really heard it used in regular conversation, but you will know it none the less), “the value of a dollar.” 

Maybe my parents used this while raising me.  Now that I think about it, they probably did.  The actual valuing of the dollar has been in the news lately as the actual value of American currency (i.e. the dollar) has fallen recently in comparison to other world currencies. 

As I have said before on here, I am a compulsive budgeter.  I bought myself quicken for my birthday (and for you Arrested Development fans, I laughed harder than I ever have when Michael brought George Michael Quicken for his birthday.) a few years ago. 

After not looking at our finances for a couple weeks I was astonished at how much money we had spent traveling, eating, and generally living, and suddenly the realization hit me:  I no longer know the value of a dollar. 

I used to know the value of a dollar.  When I was in high school I knew it.  A dollar was still a big deal.  Although I spent quite a few of them, I knew they were gifts from my parents and that I wasn’t earning them and spent them with care.  I knew their value. 

In college I certainly did.  I knew how little I earned, how many I was borrowing, and how many more I was spending to experience college.  I held on to them tightly and, looking back, probably valued that dollar too highly. 

But I no longer know the dollar’s value.  Perhaps I know the value of $5.  I would say I certainly know the value of $10.  But I spend dollars without thinking, with little thought of their value.  Like I would have spent a quarter or nickel not so many years ago. 

I am not quite certain what this means, but I don’t think I like it.  Espousing a theology of financial simplicity and generosity, in my relative comfort and affluence I have become the consumer I don’t want to be.  I have made my peace with a level of middle-class consumerism (house, car, clothes, the occasional small toy)  But I fret that I am a consumer of needless crap.  A consumer who throws devalued dollars at sodas, fast food, sonic drinks, starbucks, and other economic equivalents of trans-fats. 

I am aware this is a ridiculous American problem like chronic obesity that pales in comparison with the problems most people face. 

But, I want to know again the value of a dollar.