Money can’t buy me this

By Web Master

Sarah McNabb

Guest Columnist

The other night my boyfriend got off the phone with one of his friends that he hadn’t talked to in a while and came into the room and said, “Well, looks like _____ is making six figures now.” “Good for him,” I said. I contemplated what it would be like to be considered “upper bracket” and to roll around in all that money with no financial roadblocks to prevent me from doing all the things I want to do. It would be great to get a paycheck and say, “All right, now I can go to Vegas for the weekend. Miss Secretary, would you mind booking me a first class seat on the 10 o’clock flight from O’Hare?”

I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Wow. . . Six figures is a lot of money.” He noticed the glazed look in my eyes and said, “Yeah, but it doesn’t mean you’d be happy.” I knew this, but couldn’t help pondering the possibilities.

A day or two later I visited friends who renovated a condo they’d bought. It was absolutely gorgeous; they really sank some dough into that place. How many people have butler’s quarters in their homes? Well (enter sigh here), I know that money isn’t everything and that material wealth is just that — material that can perish.

So, how does one enjoy the pleasures of life without writing a check? Here’s a list of some simple pleasures that require very little, if any, money.

1) Take a day off and sleep in, especially when it’s cold and blizzardy out. Wake up when you’re good and ready and drink piping hot chocolate in front of the window while watching the snow fall.

2) After getting home from work at night, put on some Brahms, draw a hot bath, toss some bath beads in, light a few scented candles and relax.

3) Plan a tea party with your friends. Sound kiddish? Dress up, sit around the table and pretend you’re in Paris.

4) On a rainy night get bundled up, put on rubber boots and take a few friends down to the lake to watch the stormy waters and talk philosophy on the beach.

5) Clean your parents’ home when they don’t expect it and aren’t there. They’ll get a pleasant surprise when they get home, and you’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel after doing it.

6) Designate a scary movie night: Rent a couple of thrillers, whip up a batch of buttered popcorn, toss your sleeping bag on the floor and turn off the lights. If you’re chicken, invite a friend or leave the lights on.

7) Go through your closet, box up all the clothes that you never wear (even if it is that sweater you’ve had since age 13) and take them to a clothing drive box or a Salvation Army. Voila! Now you have room to collect more clothes, don’t you?

8) Collect all your spare change in a large glass jar labeled “A Good Time,” and when it’s full spend it on a night out on the town. It won’t interrupt your regular cash flow and it’s something special to look forward to.

9) For all you artsy goths out there: Go to a big cemetery with tracing paper and charcoal, do some tracings on the beautiful stones and become inspired. Sound weird? It is a form of typography, believe it or not.

10) Use coffee to create parchment from regular white paper. Using a calligraphy pen, write fancy-looking poems and send them to your mate, who will find them timeless and romantic.

The list goes on and on, but these are my top ten things to do to feel good about life without having to spend a fortune. Being rich does not necessarily mean being happy. Happiness lies within and, depending on your beliefs and values, it could come from other things: religion, family, friends, work, school, nature, or expressing yourself through art, photography, film, acting, singing, or other forms of fun. Remember, sometimes something that could be torn in half to become useless is not what it’s cracked up to be. Life is a gift. Reach out and unwrap it and accept it with a smile.