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Men, Trees, and Money

By Nikki Willhite

Stop the presses! Can it be? A primetime television show with a lesson in frugality as part of the storyline!

Kudos to ABC's show "Men in Trees" Wednesday evening for teaching how industry AND thrift result in savings; and showing the big picture on how careful savings over time result in realizing dreams.

Jane and Sam are a "mismatched" couple, recently married, who have decided to spend half the year in Alaska, where Sam operates a plow moving snow, and half the year in New York, where Jane works as a publicist.

Sam surprised Jane by renting an RV when it was time for them to travel back to Alaska. Sam had mapped out the route, based on his favorite restaurant, and the coupons he had so carefully collected for the trip.

This started to bother Jane, and she tried to get Sam to "lighten up" with his wallet, even trying to call him a "tightwad" (although she couldn't quite get the word out).

This led to a discussion on money, where Jane tried to reassure Sam that she had "plenty" in her bank account, and he didn't have to be so frugal anymore.

She said that is was "liberating" to waste a little money, and went so far as to actually throw a few bills out the window.

This brought Sam's RV to a stop, as he pulled to the side of the road and went back to find the dollar bills she had thrown from the window.

As they continued on their journey, Jane tried once again to impress Sam with the size of her bank account. Sam just smiled, and told her that he, too, had a good amount of money in the bank.

Jane, very much in love with her new husband, gently tried to tell him that while he might have the perspective that he had a nice sum of money in the bank, he still didn't understand that she had a SERIOUS SUM of money in the bank.

This led to them both writing down on paper the amount of money they had both saved.

To Jane's amazement, it was Sam who had the serious amount of money in the bank. When she asked him how he did it, he replied that while Jane was, literally, throwing money out the window, he had been saving his money.

He had been saving money for a very long time, because someday he knew he wanted to buy a home. He said HE WAS THRIFTY BECAUSE OF CHOICE, not necessity, and it was a way of living for him.

This impressed Jane, and at the next stop, she went happily into the restaurant, coupons in hand.

Again, kudos to "Men in Trees". Thanks for teaching both a lesson in frugality and the way to accumulate money, as well as how short term sacrifice can lead to long term goals.

Sam wanted to buy a home someday, and he was willing to work, save and wait to buy it.  

This is the way to buy a home, instead of the "got to have it now" no downpayment, 40 year, interest only, adjustable rate loans that have made such a mess of our housing market and caused so many people to lose their dream of home ownership.

The bottom line to wealth or just keeping out of debt is not how much money you make. It is how much money you save. Thanks Sam! We needed that!  

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Category:  Money

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