Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Shifting Monetary Perspective

I've noticed a slow shift in the way I'm spending my money. Watching my daily microstock sales tick by, I get excited at $0.25 here, $1.88 there. The plan is, a lot of these small sales will add up into a meaningful revenue stream at some point. But here in the beginning, they add up to very small daily and monthly totals. So, where's the shift? When I hear, "That will be $14.42 at the window." at the drive-through fast food joint, I think to myself, "That's more than my stock earnings last week." At a finer level of detail, I get to decide whether I want to erase the day's sales by ordering dessert.

The point is not that I want to become some sort of miserly old fart. But, as I moved from an hourly to a salaried worker, I changed. Moving from cashing a paycheck to watching for a direct deposit to not even worrying about it anymore, I'd lost my perspective. Once I decided it'd be fine to budget $500 a month, and later $1000 a month, on whatever whim I felt at the time, I started to literally spend without thought. Any book on personal finance will tell you that the first step to better finances is to track every cent you spend. I've just never felt the need, until now, and now I can't help but pay attention.

An unexpected benefit of the microstock experience may be a new awareness of money. I have earned a little over $100 to date. I have spent $10,000. *gulp* If earning the occasional $0.25 or $0.30 can add up to a significant pile of cash, then so can saving the occasional $0.25 or $0.30, right? What's the old Ben Franklin quote? "Take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves." Was he talking about budgeting, or microstock?

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