Apparently I am already cheating on the minimum wage challenge even though I haven’t even started it. At least, this is the argument my sister has decided to make. I recently sent out a “Christmas wish list” to friends and family for what I would like this Christmas. My sister didn’t like my choices of 1) pizza gift cards or 2) beer, wine or any other assorted types of alcohol.
Her first argument is that those are things that I will use during the challenge to circumvent the spirit of the minimum wage challenge allowing me to have (beer wine and alcohol) or buy things (pizza) that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. She feels that I should go in with nothing (because it’s her job to make this as difficult and miserable an experience as possible on me) and that by doing any type of preparation, I’m bending the rules.
I, on the other hand, feel that if you know things are going to be tight, you should leverage all events to your benefit as much as possible. Yes, I could ask for a salt gun fly killer which I probably would have asked for had I’d not known I was going to be attempting this challenge. While I think it would be a lot of fun, the upcoming challenge has changed my perspective a bit. I don’t think that I would enjoy it nearly as much as the other gifts I requested knowing that I won’t be able to buy them anytime I want next year. In fact, I think that the better I’m able to leverage these events, the more likely it will be that I can succeed at this challenge. When times are tough and money limited, there is no shame (in my opinion) in getting things that would be useful for your current conditions rather than things that would not.
My sister’s second argument is that these aren’t really “gifts” but simply things that will help me get around the minimum wage challenge. I disagree. While there is no doubt that I like pizza and alcohol and would never turn them down, the fact is that I doubt that I will be buying much of either during the challenge simple because I know I can get a better value for my money purchasing other things. I view both more like a treat — something that is really nice to have, but something I can live without if it isn’t there.
All of which brings to the forefront a very good questions about preparation. If you know that you have the possibility of losing your job or that a pay decrease is coming, you would make preparations for the inevitable decrease in income. To that extent, what do you think it’s allowable for me to do in preparation and what would be off-limits? For example, I think that going to the grocery store and buying a bunch of food at full price just so I had it when the New Year began would be cheating at this point. On the other hand, I don’t believe that if I saw a great deal at the grocery store and bought a bunch of that food at that great price I would be cheating since that is something I would do that anyway.
If you were in the position of previously not living on a minimum wage budget, but know that this reality was coming, what things would you do to prepare? What are some of the steps that I should be taking in these last few days before I begin the challenge that you feel are acceptable preparations that don’t go against the spirit of the challenge? And lastly, do you agree with me or my sister when it comes to my Christmas gift request from family and friends?
And as a side note, for all of you that haven’t purchased gifts for those you know, I would suggest getting them a gift that saves money as this ends up being a win-win for all involved.
Next entry: Frequently Asked Questions
(Photo courtesy of Calsidyrose)