Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year's Tip #2: Check Your Trash

One day, a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were out on a walk down the road that runs in front of our house. As is often the case (and sadly so), there was trash strewn along the side of the road of cups, beer cans, etc. as we walked. And then we came upon a big pile of trash that someone had thrown out of their passing vehicle.
I told my wife that, on our way back, we would pick it up and get rid of it since it was such a large pile of trash. And, upon our return trip, we did pick it up so that we could dispose of it once we arrived home. The following is a description of what made up this pile of trash...
     First of all, it was a bag from a fast food restaurant with the accompanying cup, lid and straw thrown out beside it. Inside the bag, along with the wrappers and small box from the french fries, was also an empty cigarette box, several scratched off lottery tickets, one beer can and another beer bottle.
As I noticed these items that had been tossed out of a passing vehicle, I was, first and foremost, disgusted that a person had no more respect for the beauty of nature than to do such a thing. I simply do not understand that type of mentality.
Then it hit me. As I put that original thought together with the contents of the trash pile, it dawned on me that this was all evidence of a "poor man's mentality".
I have no idea what the financial situation is for the person that did this act, but I think I can probably give you a pretty good idea based on the trash and the type of mentality displayed by the trash and the action as well.
A poor man's mentality is a mentality that has no respect for anyone else or for nature and helping keep it clean of such trash. They often have the attitude of, "Someone else will pick it up" instead of taking it to their own home and finding a place for disposal.
A poor man's mentality is also displayed by one who, if they even have a job, will struggle to make ends meet and yet will spend the unnecessary money on the following:
     - Fast food: Instead of taking a lunch from home to work, they will stop off and spend between $5 - $10 on a lunch and do this several times a week. Even if they are not working on a particular day they may run through the drive through of a fast food restaurant and do the same...and throw the trash out of the window on the way home.
     - Beer or alcohol: Again, often, the person with this type of mentality struggles to make ends meet but, at the same time, will have the purchase of alcohol as a main part of their expenditures. Many times this person will be the person that will drink to the point of being drunk and passed out weekend after weekend. And, if drinking in their vehicle (illegally) will toss the can and/or bottle out the window as they drive down the highway.
     - Cigarettes: Do you want to come up with a better example of literally lighting up money with a match and watching it burn? Many times those with this "poor man's mentality" will struggle to keep their lights turned on yet, at the same time, will burn through dollar after dollar through the smoking of cigarettes. And, you guessed it, when done, if in their vehicle, they will toss it out of the window as litter.
     - Lottery tickets: Several years ago I worked at a convenience store that sold lottery tickets. I quickly learned that, come payday, there would be a steady stream of customers that would come in with their "fresh cash" from payday and spend money on lottery tickets, hoping to "hit it big". With amazement I would see men burn through $20-$30 of tickets and then get excited when, after scratching off all of the numbers on all of the tickets, would end up with "winnings" of $5.00. There would be days that I would see a man spend half of his newly earned paycheck on lottery tickets by the time he left the store. I often wondered what his family went without due to this habit.
Am I saying that every person that participates in any of these activities has a "poor man's mentality"?
No, of course not.
I will say this: If you are one that throws trash out of your window, you are a person that has no respect for others and, likely, not much for yourself. You can determine what type of mentality you would like to call that, but I feel very strongly about anyone that particpates in that activity.
However, I would challenge any of you on the use - and amount of use - with any of the other items listed above. I understand the draw of "eating out" but question the mentality of anyone that struggles in any way that makes this a regular part of their activity. Have you added up how much money you spend on fast food/eating out over a month's time? Maybe you should even just break it down to a weekly amount and then go from there. It's something to think about.
The same is true for alcohol, friend. Have you taken the time to add up your expense on this? It's definitely something to think about and, for sure, if you are getting behind the wheel of an automobile after drinking you, again, are not considering (respecting) anyone else as you do so. You might want to also ask yourself what the reason is for your drinking. Hey, get honest with yourself on this. Is it just habit? Is it to relax? Is it even to, perhaps, "escape" from life?  It's all worth taking a look at, friend.
Yes, there are people that win big money by playing the lottery. LOOK AT THE ODDS listed on YOUR chance to do so. You are literally "throwing your money away" when you play the lottery and, especially, when you play it in such a way that has you thinking that you are going to "hit it big" one day as long as you keep on playing and throwing your money away.
So, the tip is simply this: WHAT'S YOUR MENTALITY? Does it need to be changed? If you're not sure what your "mentality" may be, perhaps you should spend a little time going through your trash. Seriously.
As well as going through the trash, you probably need to go through your checkbook to figure out how much money is being spent on things such as this.
Think about it, this could be an adjustment that could greatly improve the your physical AND financial health as well.
And, one final thought...if you find that you are angry after reading this article, ask yourself, "WHY?" And then take the time to be honest with yourself as you uncover the answer.
I'll share one more tip with you for the New Year in the next article but, until then, whatever you do...
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you/)"

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