Yesterday I purchased a box of Dr. Lucy’s gluten free ginger snaps from a local gourmet shop near my office. I absolutely love these cookies. I found them about 2 weeks ago and I’ve been eating them none stop. Due to my allergies, I’m quite restricted with food, so when I found cookies that were gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and reasonably low in sugar, I was exceedingly happy. I think my excitement got the best of me yesterday as I sat and ate the entire box of cookies within 2 hours. While consuming the last cookie, I felt ashamed of myself. How could I have not controlled my cravings better? The situation reminded me of someone having too much too soon or having too much at once. A very common example is one where someone has acquired a great deal of money either through inheritance or some kind of winnings. We hear so many stories of people spending the money within a short period on frivolous material items and expensive vacations and not really planning for the future. When someone has inherited wealth from a family trust fund or the passing of a loved one, this person has not really put in the work for the money earned. I will admit, I’ve wanted the quick success that I’ve seen many entrepreneurs have, earning millions of dollars from just one simple idea and sometimes I still want it. I’ve thought about all the things I’ll do with the money I would have earned and how I’ll impact society. When I pray to the God of my Heart and I express gratitude for the things in life I do have, I also express gratitude for the things in life I do not have. I understand that some things may not bring out the best in us if they’re given to us now or even in the future. Some people say that money brings out the worst in people but I truly think it shows us who we really are.
During a conversation with a friend this week, he mentioned that as we become more educated and improve our standard of living, our taste for things generally become more sophisticated. While that may be true for some, additional money may not have the same effect on everyone…example Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is ranked among the world’s richest men but lives a lifestyle that hasn’t changed much since before he made his billions. He is often referred to as the world’s greatest investor and despite this, he is legendarily frugal, residing in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for US$31,500. He is well known for his simple tastes, including McDonald’s hamburgers and cherry Coke, and his dislike for technology and luxury items. Despite being worth billions, he earns a salary of US$100,000 a year at Berkshire Hathaway and this salary has not changed in 25 years. He is a man of simple tastes and enjoys watching sports and eating junk food, which is easily supported with his salary. Now there aren’t many people like Warren Buffett walking around, so why is it that most of us live our lives as if we are worth so much more than him. How much should we really allow money to change us? It’s understandable that if you never owned a home or a car or are in serious debt, the influx of money can be used to take care of those needs…but to what point are we then considered materialistic and wasteful. There are many other frugal billionaires out there and this article from Business Insider takes a look at 15 frugal billionaires. Instead of spending lavishly on private jets, yachts, and mansions, they have saved up, lived modestly, and given away huge amounts of money to charity. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has been quoted as saying in the book Inside Apple: “I like to be reminded of where I came from, and putting myself in modest surroundings helps me do that. Money is not a motivator for me.”