This I Believe

Nick - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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“At Face Value”

In today’s society, a shocking trend has been steadily and noticeably developing, right before our very own eyes. Teenagers, or simply many people of youth, have yet to understand the power and value of the dollar, yet to comprehend the notion that money is a product of work. This trend which has consumed the vast majority of the teenaged nation manifests itself within impulsive and unnecessary desires, and the amounts of money spent on them. I believe that money is simply too important to waste; however, it is not something that people should let themselves be consumed with.

In my own household, I was taught many things about money from a young age. One of the few things I admit that my parents did right was teaching me about the value of money. They had me work on chores around the house for money, although at the time I would have rather received a nice random wad of bills for my own pleasure to spend on. However, this established the understanding in me that money does not come cheap, and that for me to receive, I would have to give of myself. Had I simply been given money to spend, I would not have developed a conscious awareness of the value of money. However, I still was somewhat of a spendthrift, and not exactly sure about what the spend money on. My grandma, who had lived through the Great Depression, helped me here: “If you see something that you want to buy, wait one day longer. Only then, if you still want it, buy it.” This simple yet profound philosophy sparked a revelation in me. Soon, it became second nature to me to save whatever money I earned. As I grew older, it was obvious to my parents that I loved money. “That must be the Polish in him,” they concluded.

Although I have remained conservative with my money, I have made the discovery that I won’t die if I remove money from my wallet to actually spend it. A dinner with some friends, possibly a movie, and even the occasional splurge on a venture to Six Flags is always worth it.

Ultimately, I believe that although money is very important and can be dangerous in the hands of some, to be overly consumed with retaining money is equally dangerous. The true value of money should not be taken for granted as it is by some, but it should not be overly exalted as it is by others. Children should be taught to work for their money, but they should never let money control them. As long as you are generous with others, saving money is far from harmful. After all, as a founding father of our nation astutely pointed out, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”