It Is All About Priorities (and the 17 cents gap)

I work in an office where approximately 90% of the employees are younger than me. Younger and more carefree, much more spontaneous and always up for a happy hour. They know all the newest music trends, see each blockbuster the first night it comes out and get an iPhone upgrade the moment it becomes available.

Let’s take Bob for example. Bob is 28, has a really cool haircut, dresses fashionably, and walks with confidence. Bob is smart and funny, I adore Bob. Every day Bob comes into the office with the largest ice coffee and before turning his laptop on, consumes his two chocolate croissants. When lunch time comes, Bob with a few other colleagues heads back downstairs to pick up some sushi. We then catch up by a coffee machine, share a few laughs, update each other on the weekend plans and complain about taxes. In between calls and meetings Bob runs downstairs again to get a couple of Red Bulls to be ahead of the 2:30 feeling; he also grabs a bag of cookies to munch on. Bob never misses to drop off a cookie or two at my desk. Bob is adventurous and always planning a fun trip. He is hardworking and tends to stay in office late, he and the delivery guy from the local Thai place seem to be friends at this point. Bob always adds a few more bucks to make a tip extra generous. Yes, that’s Bob.

Last week Bob and I had some extra ‘bonding time’ when I joined him for lunch (yes, you heard that right!). When we finally got to a counter, after waiting in a line for several minutes, we found out that only cash was accepted that day. Bob put his credit card away and headed to the deli across the street to use the ATM debit card to get a ‘twenty’. Well, the ATM never spit the ‘twenty’ out. The reason? After trying multiple times, it occurred to Bob to log into his online account, only to find out that all he had was $19.83. So close! We ended up going to another place so he could use his credit card after all.

frugal living


Our catch up was very productive:

1. Bob is still ‘working on’ paying off a whooping $56K in student loans. “Yea, that loan is a bitch” as he says it.

2. He is also getting a puppy two weeks from now. Aaawww..  I am so jealous. This means a dog walker and vet bills but ” Oh, it will be ok’ Bob stays optimistic.

3. Bob also just applied for another credit card to earn some extra ‘miles’ to purchase flights for him and his girlfriend to go to Thailand over the Easter break. He would need to spend $3k in one month to get the miles bonus but “Surely I can come up with some shopping to hit that limit”.

4. Bob is also considering proposing to his sweetheart somewhere around Christmas. “We never talk about money, that’s why we don’t argue” Bob is laughing.

frugal living


Well, good luck Bob. I am scared for you man!

But I know it is all about the priorities after all.



  1. Peggy Ann in CT says:

    This post and the one about the friend that walked away from one home to a new one leaving everything behind have stayed with me. I think because it really blows my mind. Do they really have that much in discretionary spending? I know that I have not always been so great with money and am working my way out of some debt but what has to happen before you realize that you are being crushed by foolish spending? Credit cards are not free money. When will the light bulb go off as to how much “less” really becomes “more” in the long run.

  2. Anni says:

    Has Bob ever heard of Dave Ramsey Size Orman etc maybe an anonymous or indirect gift of a finance book would help. He needs to get very real very soon before it all comes crashing down on him You can’t say anything to people like this though your intentions are good they dont listen or they take it wrong It’s very sad to watch them live a lie because they chose to hide from reality because of their fears or seriously don’t get it due to lack of mentorship and guidance I wish him luck because he sounds like a nice young man He might be struggling with his image and peer pressure and acceptance The right road is not always the easiest one to take

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