I spent Sunday afternoon at the Frugal Festival. Lots of people there were interested in talking about ways to stop wasting money.
To be frank, I surprised myself by having more fun than I thought I would. I met some great people there. Seems like frugal is cool, and I was delighted to be part of it.
The organizer asked me to give free, 15-minute coaching sessions – which I did. I value those consultations at about $62.50 since my hourly rate is $250.
The last person who took me up on my offer was a very sweet woman in her mid-thirties. She said that she and her husband were struggling with debt and told me, “I want to make more money.” She spent a few more minutes explaining more about her situation. When she finished, I was ready to start giving her some ideas that I thought she could use to improve her situation.
But just as I started to give her my ideas, she lost all interest in our conversation.
The time had come for the raffle prizes to be awarded, and she wanted to make sure that she’d hear her name if it were called. Keep in mind that the prizes being awarded were T-shirts.
Granted…they were nice T-shirts…but they were T-shirts.
I don’t know about you, but I have enough T-shirts. In fact, I have too many T-shirts. Don’t you? Had she asked me for a T-shirt, I would have given her one. It might be a used one, but who cares? I wouldn’t give her one with holes in it…
Back to my story.
I’m not saying that I had the magic pill that would turn her situation around overnight. But she had a chance to get some experienced input and she blew it. Maybe my advice would have been dribble and she sensed it. Maybe that’s why the T-shirt raffle lured her away.
But she could have been wrong. Just maybe, I might have said something that could have had a significantly positive impact on her and her family. She asked me about her old 401k. Maybe I would have told her something important about that. You never know. And now she never will.
I know that we were at a frugal festival. I don’t have any problem with folks looking for freebies. That’s what everyone was there for. The problem I had is that she had a very valuable freebie in her hand, and she threw it away. It was a poor economic decision. Oh, and by the way, she didn’t win the T-shirt.
I didn’t say anything to this person. I just picked up my books and went home to spend some time writing this post. I couldn’t help her, but that exchange made me look at my own behavior.
Do I pay attention to the price I pay on my quest for frugal nirvana?
Am I picking up pennies and ignoring the dollars? Unfortunately, yes. I do this too sometimes. So I’m thankful for that lady who preferred a T-Shirt over my 15-minute session. I learned a lot from her.
I am just sorry that she didn’t win the raffle.
How would you have handled this situation? Would you have been angry at her? Would you have given her a piece of your mind? Do you sometimes make the same mistake she did? Am I an ego maniac for thinking she blew it? Should I just have explained the virtues of couponing and explained what Groupon is to her and moved on?