Feeling richer, looking poorer

Last winter, we switched to the jar system, allotting $60 a week in “entertainment” for our family of four. For the most part, we thought carefully about how to spend this money: at the movies? on a sitter? on a pizza and a bottle of wine? I didn’t carry it on me.

But sometimes, on my day off, a friend would ask me out to coffee after we’d dropped our children off at school. On such occasions, I’d find myself in the awkward position of having no money in my wallet, not even a loonie.

“I’d like to join you,” I’d say. “But I don’t have any cash on me.”

At which point, my friend would always offer to pay. In fact, she started to make a point of it. Coffee would be be on her, she’d assure me.

Slowly, I clued in to what was going on. She was interpreting my not having any money on me as my not having any money at all, when actually, quite the opposite was true.

The less money I carried on me, the more I started to accumulate in my bank account.

The fewer outfits I bought, the richer I was.

The less I ate out, the more I had.

I explained myself to my friend, but also started carrying a couple of bucks on me. Because I don’t want to miss out on coffee dates. Or be a mooch!