Monday, April 09, 2007


After a meaningful chat with a very good friend of mine, a lot of thoughts and questions were raised for me, about how this society and I live our lives. I want to reiterate one of my 40-day improvement plan challenges. The money one. I think it seems like I would find it hard to spend less than $30 a day. This is wrong. I spend almost nothing everyday, and if I do, it rarely exceeds $10.

I feel bad if I spend lots of money on material things like clothes. I don't spend much on other things, like alcohol or extra food, because it's such a waste. I can live without those things. True, if I do spend money, it probably is on food, but not to the point of excessiveness. Which sounds like a justification. And probably is.

The money challenge isn't so much to curb my spending, but to highlight how easy it would be for me live without spending much at all. At least, in this life I lead at the moment, where a lot of stuff is taken care of for me by my parents, and I have no need to worry about survival, I can respect that and not waste what I have.

I always felt bad, going to a private school. Part of the reason I started Africa Aid was because I saw the ability and potential - in energy and financially - of the people there, and knew a lot of it was being wasted. If you compared the amount the boys put into the cafeteria each day, compared to the aid stuff at school... it makes me sick. I didn't want to force people to care, nor to just give their money and not bother knowing why. Just I didn't want a shameless material consumerist attitude to be the dominant one. (I feel very uni student after writing that.)

It's the same in the church. There are plenty of people who spend ridiculous amounts on lots of things. Clothes. Hair. Travel. Going out. I have nothing against all of these things. Indeed, I spend money on these things too, just I try to be conscious of how much I spend, and how often. I don't quite understand what Church of Christ means. I know a big part of it is being missional, going out into the community and giving of self. I think that money does not have to be the complete giving, nor should it, but I think it has its place too. But it gets wasted on other things, or just absent mindedly forgotten that an offering is important. That said... I need to lift my game on offering too.

The attitude that money, while not the meaning behind life, or means to a better life - in quality not quantity, still comes with important decisions and morals is something we are trying to show to the Garage boys. Jono prepared a simulation for them a few weeks ago - the Game of Life. The boys were put in families, and had to deal with the everyday battles of families - housing, food, medical, insurance, etc. - as well as forces of nature and unexpected happenings of life. Each family started off with different amounts of money, to simulate how it is in this world. The boys understood I think - one mum told me that her sons went home and made boxes, so that they could purposely set aside money each week to give to something more meaningful than their cafeteria. That made me feel like the Garage was a worthwhile thing.

Anyway. This is it for now. I shall write more later. I guess that the only thing that will challenge me about the money 40 days thing is if I see something I want - due to greed and want for possession, not need - and then can't buy it. But I will get over it.


  1. sitting here, struggling to find an appropriate thing to say. mainly because u already know my stance on the spending matter.
    i find it ridiculous that someone can go out and spend excessive amounts of money on anything they feel like whenever they feel like it, when some families struggle for every day things such as groceries.
    i have never been a spender. im not really a saver either because i rarely see money, as 9 times out of 10 i have no need for it. money teaches waste. waste makes people lose compassion.
    dont get me wrong. i spend money. i go out. i just pride myself on knowing when to stop.
    im glad u dont force people to give money just for the hell of it. they need the knowledge and belief that they are helping someone. or something, that is in dire need of it.
    people need to be selfless not selfish.. money doesnt help anyone.
    wouldnt the world be a much better place if everyone had the same amount as each other?

    proud of u monash

  2. I appreciate the effort you put into giving me a response.

    I'm not much of a saver really, and I get annoyed at that too. I just let money sit until I want to spend it, but it's kinda just stagnant.

    I also would like to think I know when to stop. But perhaps my spending isn't constant. It's more like nonexistant for a while, then one big day. Then more nonexistance, making up for that big day. Just as stupid.

    At first, it did seem a lot like Africa Aid was about money. Money is what excites people - to be able to count the vast amounts of money we collected excited us, gave us and others energy. But it was temporary. We needed to realise that money is not the solution, because money without a heart is worthless, and a bandaid fix, rather than a more permanent change for the better.

    The last line amuses me. As I said to you, were you at uni when saying would be attacked by people for sounding communist, and embraced by the people with handouts and inviting me to rallies with the socialist party. However, I agree to an extent. It would be nice if we were all equal and had equality. That's what makes the 'ideal' of communism, and indeed, any ideal, look perfect and good for us. It's only when it gets put into action - and the nature of people to have greed, selfishness, lust for power; and maybe just a want to survive and the thought that their current state of living isn't satisfying survival - that it all starts to come undone.

    Haha, and you say you go off on tangents. All in all... let's not waste our money, but not be scrooges either.

    The pride is mutual.

  3. Yes, i agree with most things said, or all, or whatever. Can't think of anything to say other than that, most stuff I would say has already been said.
    Hmmm. Communism.