O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Uncle Jason’s Birthday Reflections (Part 1)

Today is my birthday. I’m not usually one to honk the birthday horn and go around telling people it’s my birthday. Facebook does that well enough for me. As does the band of minstrels I’ve paid to follow behind me, Brave Sir Robin-style, singing birthday songs all day long.

But birthdays are good times to reflect, which means they are also good excuses — under the guise of “reflection” — for me to tell people what to do. And I like to tell people what to do. I’ve written entire books for the purpose of telling people what to do.


So today and tomorrow, I’m going to pretend that you have asked me, “Jason, what are three important things you have learned in your many, many years on this planet?”

Thanks for asking. Here’s the first thing I’ve learned. Numbers 2 and 3 will follow tomorrow.

1. I’d rather spend money on experiences, not on “stuff.” I’ve never been a big spender, and I don’t always have a ton of money sitting around to spend. As a result, I’m pretty tight-fisted when it comes to money. My wife is the same way, so we make a pretty good pair. We don’t ever have the newest electronics. We bought a flatscreen TV just last year, when our old tubey one bit the dust. It took us three generations of iPhones before we bit that bullet. We think iPads are cool but can’t justify the purchase of one. We have a pretty fine-tuned appreciation for what we want and what we need, and in most cases our spending habits tack toward need rather than want.


But we have no problem saving our money so we can go on a week-long cruise together. We’ll save up so we can rent a cabin in the mountains for a weekend to go sledding or teach our kids how to ski. We love to travel and will gladly spend on something frivolous like Broadway tickets or a snorkel tour or a Cubs game. When we do splurge on “stuff,” it’s usually stuff that contributes to our experiences. A game we want to play together. A high-end camera. Camping or backpacking equipment. A bike for triathlons. A Kindle so we can read more often and conveniently. In other words, we spend money intentionally. We spend on experiences, traveling, and hobbies — things that promote memories. Studies have shown that more long-term satisfaction can be gained by a pile of good memories than a pile of stuff I didn’t need but bought anyway. We consume less so we can do more.


People have different spending styles, so I don’t want to say my style is the only right one and others are just wrong. But mine is definitely deliberate. And I think it’s dumb to spend money mindlessly. This is what I’ve learned: If you’re going to spend money, don’t do it on impulse. Do it smart.

Otherwise, you end up being one of those people who just doesn’t know where their money went, and that’s sad.

[Note: We’ve been practicing this spending rule for a few years, but “vagabonder” Rolf Potts helped me put words to it when I ran into his blog several months ago.]


Tomorrow in Part 2: the work/play balance and doing what you love.

Feedback: How do you spend money? Do you have any particular criteria for non-need spending?

Comments read comments(3)
post a comment
Charlie's Church of Christ

posted December 6, 2010 at 11:56 am

For a few years I’d work a full time job and a part time one, only living off my income from the part time job, and saved the rest so I could spend it all on experiences. It is a deliberate way to live, but it can be difficult to discern what you want just because we’re consumeristic.

report abuse


posted December 7, 2010 at 8:41 am

“We consume less so we can do more.” I like that about you, and everyone who adopts this creed will be the better for it!

report abuse


posted December 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Happy belated Birthday man! So strange I clicked over here because I too had a birthday Monday and also posted in a way I don’t usually go. Hope you have a terrific bday week. I’m looking forward to checking out some more of your stuff.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting O Me Of Little Faith. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent ...

posted 2:25:22pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Farewell, O Me of Little Faith
You said you had a big announcement coming today. What is it? The announcement is this: Right now you are reading the final post on this blog. Ever. Ever? Ever. So you're shutting this blog down? Well, I'm going to stop writing ...

posted 6:11:49am Jun. 01, 2011 | read full post »

My Introvert Interview
On Monday, author Adam McHugh delivered a guest post about the "snarling 8-headed monster" of the writing process. Today I return the favor -- sort of -- via an interview at his blog, Introverted Church. We talk about how my introverted ...

posted 3:05:36pm May. 25, 2011 | read full post »

Harold Camping: "Invisible Judgment Day"
When the rapture didn't occur as predicted on May 21, 2011, Harold Camping had a few options. Here is how he could have responded to the failed prediction, in descending levels of crazy: 1. He could announce that he was wrong. This is the ...

posted 9:06:24am May. 24, 2011 | read full post »

The Phases of Writing (Adam McHugh)
If you've ever felt out of place among all the exciting, expressive, emotional enthusiasm of a contemporary church service...or an evangelist's demands that you need to constantly be sharing your faith boldly to strangers...if it simply wipes ...

posted 7:46:00am May. 23, 2011 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.