I’m a thrifty person.
I don’t like waste. Whether it be time, money or words, I aim to maximise what I’ve got.
Using as little as possible is admirable I’m sure, but sometimes it gets me into trouble.
I often rip off so little dental floss that I can’t hold it well enough to get it between my teeth. Does anybody else do this?
Trying to use my time efficiently means I squeeze in one more job than I should and I end up being late to things.
And, while I try to save paper, I’ve learnt that half a square of toilet paper isn’t much use to the next person…
Yes, thriftiness is great to a point… but not always, and not when it comes to other people.
I decided to buy my wife flowers this week, (something I should do more often), and I found myself looking at the ones with the big markdown sticker on them.
“Woah! Stop that,” I told myself. “There’s a reason they’re cheap! They’re drooping like they should have been in the bin yesterday!”
No, sometimes it’s got to be all or nothing. It would be better to get no flowers than to deliver my wife those. Believe me.
So, I stopped thinking how to cut costs, as I normally do, and went for the fullest, most expensive bunch. The ones I’d choose if they were all the same price.
Who have I become?!
Time for a life of excess? New Farm river-side mansion here I come?
Probably not a good idea…
But, I’m learning something.
Instead of cost or waste: I should think worth. When something it is worth it, I’m going to pay the price. When it’s not, I’ll spend as little as possible.
Whether it’s time, money or how much thought I give something, when the worth is low, my spending should be efficient. Or, go without completely.
At the same time, if something, or someone, is worth it, I’ve got to be willing to give my all.
Because there are some things I can’t risk losing.
We’ve got limited resources, but spreading them thin across everything means we’ll end up with nothing.
No, we should spread generously, but save it for what is really worth it.
We can’t please everyone. Can’t have everything. Can’t be good at all things.
The decision is about what we value and what we don’t.
It’s something I’ve got to remind myself, because it’s funny how often I spend money on what I don’t need, time on what won’t matter, and thoughts on the small questions.
“Stop that! Keep your eyes on the best flowers Thomas… and spend up big.”
Tom Anderson likes Indian spices, French cars, British drama and Japanese gardens. He goes running nearly everyday, but early in the morning so that he doesn't miss time with his wife and two young kids. In his spare time, Tom is a Special Needs and Technology teacher. Read more of Tom’s articles here: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tom-anderson.html
Tom Anderson is pioneering www.haventogether.com, an online church plant supported by his in-person church, Catalyst, Ipswich. He has a young, growing family and enjoys playing backyard sport. Tom is a keen long-distance runner, averaging 21km each day last year. He has worked as a teacher for eleven years and enjoys perfecting a flat white on his home espresso machine. Tom would welcome a visit for a coffee some time… or an online catch-up via Zoom. See the Haven Together website to get in touch.