Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Different Kind of Payday...

Payday is such a wonderful day, isn't it? It is the day you see the fruits of your labors, the day you get your just reward for a job well done. My paydays today don't have quite the same feel as they did ten years ago. They definitely don't have the same ring they had twenty-five years ago!

It could have something to do with HOW I get my paycheck.

When I was a kid, earning an allowance, I got paid in cold hard cash! It had volume and weight and a wonderful texture to it. I could put it in a piggy bank or hide it in a safe place from my brothers or go into town with my mom on a Saturday and deposit it into my Passbook Savings Account (remember when they used to write the balance in by hand?).

(I grew up on a farm, so I definitely earned that allowance. We had a whole list of chores that had to be done every day, from feeding animals to chopping holes in the ice in the winter so the horses had water, usually before we caught the bus for school.)

College was a good transition period. One of my employers (furniture delivery) paid me with an actual stubbed paycheck. My second employer (liquor store) paid me with a regular check from his business account. My third employer (restaurant) paid me in cash. I got a good blend of all payment methods in preparation for the really real world (where hopefully I wouldn't have to work three jobs!).

With my first job after college, I got an actual check with a stub attached to it. It was a bit of a pain because I had to take the check to the bank and deposit it before it was of any use to me, but it was a tangible object that I could hold in my hands and fold up nicely and stick in my wallet! Nothing quite beat the anticipation of waiting for the payroll staff to walk around the office, handing out envelopes with paychecks in them!

Nowadays, I don't even get a simple e-mail notification of a deposit. It just magically shows up in my checking account. Eh, another payday came and went; no big deal. You might think I'd get some sort of a rush digitally diverting a portion of it to my Roth IRA account, but that isn't the case. On the other hand, I've found it is easier to keep to a budget if I don't see the money because then I don't spend it!

It might not totally be related to how I get paid, though. Maybe it has more to do with how I use the money I make. Maybe it is because most of today's paycheck goes towards things like paying the mortgage, fixing the leaking roof, replacing the garage door opener and buying a new water heater. There isn't as much "fun" money as there used to be. Or maybe my fun money just doesn't go as far as it used to?

Speaking of "fun" money. Some of the best memories I have as a kid were when I had to forego instant gratification and actually save my money for something big (usually related to Star Wars)! I remember taking half of my weekly allowance and setting it aside but keeping the other half handy (just in case). It was difficult, I'll be the first to say, but man that was such a great feeling when I knew I had enough saved up! Think about it; you're taking the emotions involved with accomplishment and dedication and wrapping them up with the feeling of spending your hard-earned money! Can't get much better than that!

Yesterday, I got to feel those emotions all over again! After almost two years of saving (all non-budgeted money from things like selling projects to listing things on eBay to doing some part-time editing work), I finally had enough money set aside to purchase something I've been wanting for a while now.

At age eight, it was Star Wars figures.

At age 34, it is Festool.

That's right. I've jumped into the Festool Pool. Well, I didn't really "jump in"; I just bought a Rotex sander (RO125) and the CT22 Dust Extractor. So it was more like walking down the pool steps rather quickly. Jumping in would have involved a Domino, at the very least, and possibly a pre-order on the new MFK 700 modular router.

(By the way, I've got to give great props to Timmy C. from Festool Junkies. He got my order shipped out the same day and his customer service skills are top notch!)

With some trepidation, I sent an e-mail to my wife, letting her know I'd placed my order. Her response?

"WOW!!! That is exciting. I hope they are everything you wanted/need. I love you for following your dreams of woodworking."

Talk about a payday! Isn't she the best? I don't imagine every guy has a wife like that.

But... doesn't she realize she's encouraging me to buy more Festool?

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