About Me

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I am a wife, mother, and step-mom. I am not perfect, but try my best to reduce damage control. I have incredible family and friends that encourage us on this adventure. My mom always told me that motherhood isnt for whimps... and I couldn't agree more!

Friday, March 9, 2012

History Lesson from 1879: Learning to Determine True Value

She handed me a handful of change for her coffee while she was on her cell phone. At that time, I was working as a barista in a drive-thru. I handed her the coffee then began sorting out the handful of change. There it was. It was huge and really heavy. I had never seen anything like it before. I picked it up to look at it closer... I knew it was a silver dollar- but it was sooo much heavier than a silver dollar. The date read: 1879. I cant even begin to tell you how excited this made me. I am somewhat of a sucker for history. I immediately ok'd it with my boss to buy the silver dollar out of my drawer and took it home to research.

It was a Morgan Silver Dollar minted in New Orleans in 1879. There were 3 million minted that year. The edges of the woman's hair was worn down, and the edge of the flip side show considerable wear as well. I had it evaluated and it was determined to be worth a whopping $7.00!! Still, I couldnt understand why anyone would use it to buy a cup of coffee?! She obviously didnt see the full value of the coin.

I couldnt part with it in all honesty. I imagined that it was in the pocket of someone that survived the great depression. That when they wanted to spend that dollar, they rubbed it contemplating if the item they wanted to purchase was really worth the value of that hard earned dollar in their pocket. So I stuck it in a box in my filing cabinet instead.

Recently, I came across that box. I pulled it out and looked at it. I held it, letting my thumb rub the worn areas thinking of the overwhelming anxiety the spender must have had in those hard times. I know that anxiety over finances. Wondering if the questioned purchase was really a want or a need, was it worth the time it took to earn that dollar?

This is a question I need to start asking myself. I am the queen of impulse buys. I am not talking about the rack at the register full of goodies under $5.00 either... although some of those are pretty good purchases I have known to indulge in too. I get a random idea in my head of what I want to buy, and I become borderline obsessive. I have to have it. I have dug through my house before pulling out sticky change from between the couch cushions to buy that Victoria Secret Lotion I smelt days before at the mall, a new purse, shoes... the list goes on. Robbing Peter (the guy that works for the electric company) to pay Paul (the guy that works at Target) for that new DVD. That is bad, because usually the obsession heightens the value until the obsession ends. So the question that I need to ask myself with every purchase, "Is this a need or a want??"

With our household recent financial crisis, I have been posing these questions to my daughter: Is this a need or a want? Is it something that we already have in the house and/or can do without? Is there a less expensive form of what we want to buy? Why is it that we need to purchase this right now? Does the item's worth outweigh the valuable time to earn the purchase price?  (Sometimes it is slightly defeating to hear her answers... like when she thinks a box of Nerd candy is more important than our dreams of a vacation to Disneyland. But she is only 5! And I am 30 still making those same defeating choices!)

I believe it is important to learn from history so that it isnt repeated. I know personally, I do not want to repeat my history, or see my daughter make the same mistakes I have made. So I want to equip her with the knowledge I have learned the hard way. I want to teach her to work hard, and to see things for their true and long lasting value.

Although that Silver dollar was spent frivolously on coffee, and might only be worth $7.00 in silver, it has taught me and continues to teach me invaluable lessons that just might help change a generation.


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