Paradigm Shifts with Money

Over at Debt Free Adventure, I read a post recently on how Matt sold his motorcycle on Craigslist and how he’d jumped on the first offer for the bike, only to find that a couple calls later someone was offering twice the amount he’d listed it for.   Awwwwwww, bummer.  Since he’d already call the person with the first offer, and said they could have the bike, he was kind of in a spot, but he did the right thing.

Reading about his story made me think of an experience I had years ago, when I was living below the poverty level

I’d received a small fortune in the mail, at least back at that time it was a small fortune.  When I moved to the east side of Phoenix, I became a new Arizona Public Service customer and I had to pay a deposit in order to get my utilities turned on. While on the other side of town, I’d been a Salt River Project customer.

Anyway, once I’d had my utilities on in the new place for a year, APS refunded my deposit, if memory serves, it was right around $100. I’d totally forgotten about it.  Back then, I was really tight with any money that came in, so I took the check to the bank, cashed it and bought three money orders.

This was during the time when I still had a car, and my washer was on the fritz so after the bank we went to a local laundromat.   I did the laundry and got everything folded up, loaded in the car and we went home.

Then I looked in my purse so I could fill out the money orders, but I could not find them anywhere.  I searched my pockets, I went out and searched the car, piled my boys back into the car and went back to the laundromat.   This laundromat was unattended (some have attendants on duty) and also in a poor area of town.  I searched the laundromat and the parking lot. I even went back the next day and searched the empty lot next to the laundromat.

I felt miserable.  We were so poor, and I was doing the right thing by getting money orders to pay for outstanding bills. I could have taken the $100 and blown it, gone shopping for new clothes or went out to dinner a few times.

But no, I’d gone through the steps of getting money orders. Only I forgot the most important thing of all. This was the lesson that taught me to fill out money orders IMMEDIATELY, while standing at the bank or wherever I’d purchased the money orders.

Because I was feeling so depressed and miserable, and couldn’t seem to shake the awful funk… I decided to try something wildly different.  I went to my bedroom, laid on my bed and took several deep breaths. I decided to then play out a new scenario in my mind.

I went to the bank and got money orders, but this time I was purchasing money orders for a totally different reason.

Because now, in my imagination, I was rich.  Rich beyond my wildest dreams. And this was something I did all the time. I would go to the bank, get several money orders, drive to a poor section of town and drop them on the floor in different establishments. Like laundromats or grocery stores.

I’d put them into an envelope that would have a little note, saying something like, “Use this money order wisely and pay it forward some day.”

I was actually able to help myself feel better by imagining this little scenario in my mind. It really helped me to pull myself out of the depression I’d sunken into.

Have you ever lost a significant amount of money? How did you cope?

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10 thoughts on “Paradigm Shifts with Money

  1. So you never found the dough? Bummer! 🙂

    Nope, I’ve never lost a big chuck of money, but I found $50 once. I was at the grocery store and saw the $50 bill lying on the ground. I took it to the service desk to see if anyone had reported losing it… no one had. I asked them to keep it while I shopped, then if no one claimed it by the time I was ready to leave, I would take it. No one did, so it was mine! 🙂 That was cool.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Matt: No, we never found the money orders. And since I hadn’t written anything on them, there was really no way for a person to get them back to me. I *did* go back to the grocery store I’d bought them from to let them know I lost them. If the person who found them were honest, they could have taken the money orders back to the store. Since I’d left my information with the store, they could have then contacted me and let me know they were found. $50 is a lot of money to find! I’m glad the people at the store were honest… I worry that they might say someone claimed it, and keep it for themselves.


  2. This is an interesting article and a very good question – it is all about how you view things and changing your perceptions


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Business Blog: It was quite an exercise, to change my perspective of the situation. It has helped in other situations throughout my life. Thanks for visiting and commenting!


  3. I wouldn’t say that I’ve “lost” money, more that I didn’t know I was spending it and ended up with a huge international cell phone bill. I was traveling in Italy & it wasn’t explained to me that the phone I rented in Italy was only good for the country, and outside of it I would be charged roaming charges. Needless to say I continued to use the phone ( I wasn’t chatting constantly, but used it to make hotel reservations, check in with family) and racked up a HUGE bill. Luckily I had enough in savings from my trip fund to pay for it, but I was extremely upset for a good long while after that.
    Lesson learned – leaving a European country is like leaving the US. Pretty obvious, but I had to learn the hard way!


  4. I lot a large amount of money in not being smart enough to pass my Gen Ed for science and having to take the class over again during college. I don’t know specific numbers, but I know it cost me AT LEAST a few grand!

    How did I cope? try not to think about it :/ What else can I do? Well, study harder i guesssss 🙂


  5. I once lost several hundred dollars over a few weeks, not in one lump sum. I kept overdrawing the checking account! I couldn’t figure out what was going on! This was back in the days before online banking. Well after calling the bank almost daily for weeks, I figured out that my calculator was goofing up! OMG! I have balanced my checkbook with that big calculator between my ears ever since!


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