Why We Need Two Incomes

- jim Young

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” - Dolly Parton

We live in a disposable world. Everything from paper cups to spouses are disposable these days. And it costs us big time (especially the latter). Not only has this become a problem for our environment, it’s also the cause of a lot of our social problems.

Excessiveness is also part of the problem. We all have too much stuff.

People complain that two incomes are required to survive in today’s world. It is very rare to see a stay-at-home mom anymore. The decision to become a career mom may be based on many facets but economic need remains a major contributing factor.

I think our attitude towards material things has a lot to do with it too.

We have a pair of scissors in our kitchen. We also have a pair of scissors here in my den. I can’t be bothered walking all the way down to the kitchen to get the scissors when I need them.

When I say “all the way down”, I don’t mean down a flight of stairs, I mean down the hall. It’s literally 10 steps from my den to the kitchen.

This may seem like a minor inconvenience but the reality is, if we did just have one pair of scissors, I would walk all the way down to the kitchen to get them but then I wouldn’t walk all that way back to put them away. Then, when My Shirley needed the scissors, she wouldn’t know where to find them.

For the same reason we also have a pair of scissors in each of our two bathrooms and another in the workshop in the garage. That’s five pairs of scissors.

I admit that the purchase of four extra pairs of scissors would not require an extra income, but that’s just scissors. We also have a lot of other extra stuff.

I grew up in a family of 8. We had one bathroom, one television, one radio, one telephone, one pair of scissors, one record player, one car and one income. Just about everything you can think of - we had one to share with the whole family if we had one at all. And we were one of the more affluent families in our neighbourhood.

Some of these items are larger, more expensive items, but even all the smaller less expensive items add up.

Maybe if we quit buying things we don’t really need, we’d be better off.

A coworker once told me his wife wanted to purchase some snack clips to help keep their opened bag of potato chips fresh. (Snack clips had just been invented.) Phil promptly told his wife they already had some. “They’re called clothespins,” he said.

I’m the worst offender for purchasing things that we don’t need.

I love to buy gadgets. I’ll see something and turn to My Shirley and my only question to her is “Do we have one of these?” It doesn’t matter if it’s a newly designed can opener or a backhoe. If we don’t have it - I want it - especially if it’s unique.

A miniature backhoe that doubles as a riding lawn mower, for example, would be preferable to either a backhoe or a riding lawn mower.

“It does two jobs,” is the only justification I need even when I don’t have jobs that require either. “Just think how much money we’re saving!”

I have found so many ways to “save money” that I have almost bankrupted us on more than one occassion.

I remember in the 80s peering through the display window in a Music Instrument Store and seeing an organ keyboard that had a built in calculator.

“How cool is that?” I thought to myself. While most people would not see the practicality of a calculator built into an organ keyboard, I envisioned myself on stage with my band, performing for a huge crowd. While the rest of the band would take a break as our drummer broke into his 15 minute solo, I could stand by my keyboard, enter the amount we were being paid for our gig, deduct all our expenses and divide the amount by the number of members in our band to accurately calculate how much each of us would earn for the evening, all before the drummer had completed his solo.

There were just two problems with that scenario. One, I didn’t know how to play the keyboard and two, I didn’t have a band.

As much as I wanted that keyboard, it was a little too cost prohibitive for me, but had the cash been in my pocket, even that would not have deterred me from taking it home.

It’s always nice to have disposable income to buy the extra little things that bring us pleasure whether we really need them or not but it’s important to find a balance between working to live and living to work.

Check out this slideshow to see 15 Things You Don't Need To Spend Your Money On.

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