Sav­ings, the only con­test I re­ally win each year

Record Observer - - Religion -

Be­tween now and the end of the year our house is go­ing to be a mad dash for the stores in prepa­ra­tion for Christ­mas.

This time of the year, I lay low and try to be as in­vis­i­ble as pos­si­ble. If I hide in the shad­ows of the par­son­age and do not speak, I am in pretty good shape. I have been prac­tic­ing this for over 40 years, so I have reached a cer­tain level of pro­fi­ciency.

Hav­ing a wife and two daugh­ters has been a chal­lenge, es­pe­cially at this time of the year. My son and I have sur­vived and so I am sure I will make it through an­other year. How­ever, I am not tak­ing any­thing for granted.

I am some­what of a com­pet­i­tive per­son, in some de­gree. I like a good chal­lenge and I cer­tainly like to win. Go­ing up against the Gra­cious Mis­tress of the Par­son­age has not been a suc­cess­ful com­pe­ti­tion. Even when she loses, so to speak, she wins. When she wins, I also win, so why should I com­plain?

The con­test at this time of the year is to see how much money these ladies of the par­son­age can save. I have not kept track over the years for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, so I do not know who is ahead and who is be­hind.

I would not say that they were Shopa­holics, but I am pretty sure they are. From my point of view, I am in no po­si­tion to chal­lenge them on this se­ri­ous ad­dic­tion. To chal­lenge them thusly, would re­quire sev­eral weeks in a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion center for my­self. Who wants to go there dur­ing the hol­i­days?

I try not to keep track, but I be­lieve it all be­gins with what is called “Black Fri­day.” I am not sure why it is called “Black Fri­day” be­cause after it is all over my check­book is in deep red.

On this au­da­cious hol­i­day, if it can be called a hol­i­day, I keep out of their way.

They will start early in the morn­ing and through­out the day they will come home to un­load and boast to me about how much money they saved. Then, off they go back on the shop­ping trail. For my part, I would never want to stand be­tween them and their shop­ping des­ti­na­tion be­cause, I just have grown ac­cus­tomed to liv­ing.

Al­though I am not much into shop­ping, I know when to shop and when not to shop. The pur­pose of my shop­ping is not to see how much I can save. If I want to save money, I will stay home and drink a nice hot cup of cof­fee.

Half­way through the shop­ping sea­son, my wife and I were sit­ting in the liv­ing room drink­ing our evening cof­fee and she was ex­plain­ing to me her shop­ping plan. The more she talked the less I un­der­stood. I did not know you needed a plan to go shop­ping. My plan is very sim­ple, do not go shop­ping!

I hap­pen to no­tice that one of our spare bed­rooms was get­ting rather full of her shop­ping items. I just walked by the bed­room, glanced in and quickly walked down the hall as far away as pos­si­ble. If there is one thing I do not want to do around this time of year, it is wrap­ping Christ­mas presents.

One year I was en­ticed into wrap­ping Christ­mas presents, I did such a bad job, I was never in­vited to do it again. I will not say in pub­lic that I did that on pur­pose. I just will say, I love it when a plan comes to­gether.

As we were re­lax­ing in the liv­ing room, my wife be­gan ex­plain­ing how much money she saved this year in shop­ping. I lis­tened for as long as I could. I do not know how much she saved, just what she told me. It is al­most like a con­test with her to see how much money she can save each year.

The big­gest chal­lenge is to try to out save her two daugh­ters. They have been taught by the best and yet I am not sure they have ever beaten her in this one con­test.

When there was a lit­tle lull in the con­ver­sa­tion, I sneaked a the lit­tle question of my own.

“How much,” I queried as se­ri­ously as pos­si­ble, “have you saved so far in your shop­ping?”

I thought it was rather an in­no­cent question to present at the time.

“How much,” she said with a very se­ri­ous look, “I saved over $300 so far.” With that, she set back in her chair and smiled. $300 is a lot of money you have to ad­mit.

Then I pop this one, “How much have you spent so far?”

After some thought and a quick look into her check­book, she came up with the fig­ure, $700.

She in­formed me that her sav­ings were al­most half of what she spent.

There was a mo­ment when I was tempted to chal­lenge this con­test by say­ing, “Well, I saved $700 by not shop­ping.”

On sec­ond thought, would it be worth it? Some­times it is bet­ter to con­cede and have every­body happy, than to win and be the only one that is happy.

Solomon un­der­stood this when he wrote, “A fool ut­tereth all his mind: but a wise man keep­eth it in till af­ter­wards” (Proverbs 29:11).

My goal in life, par­tic­u­larly as a hus­band, is to be a wise man.

Dr. James L. Sny­der is pas­tor of the Fam­ily of God Fel­low­ship, Ocala, FL 34483, where he lives with the Gra­cious Mis­tress of the Par­son­age. Tele­phone 1-866-552-2543, email jamess­ny­ Web­site is www.jamess­ny­der­min­

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