>I spend too much money. I'm not like the people that you see on Intervention that are in ridiculous habits of spending thousands upon thousands of hard earned (sometimes not earned) dollars on things that they don't need. I'm not a hoarder, I don't pack useless things away into places thinking that I'll use them sometime when really in the back of my mind I know that if I even think about that item again, it'll be a miracle. I am not a gambler, I don't hang out at expensive stores, all of my friends aren't rich and I don't believe in "keeping up with the Jones'." But, knowing where I am and how I recognize that I go out to eat too much and buy too many cd's on iTunes makes me all the more puzzled at how one comes to that point.

But that isn't the point of this.

The point of this is that with this new change that's coming I know exactly what it is that I need to fix and exactly what I need to cut out. I know that I'm not the only person who does this, and I also realize that I'm no Suzie Ormon or howeveryouspellhername. So to all of you like me, join in my "money diet" to fatten up those wallets and make living that much easier.

1. iTunes makes these wonderful things called gift cards. If you're anything like me, you're borderline ADDICTED to the simplicity of point-and-click to access the next potential greatest CD ever made. You understand the struggles that artists go through and you feel bad pirating music because you can appreciate every single person that has ever bought your songs. So let's still use iTunes rather than Kazaa or Limewire or whatever it is you're using, but put a single restriction on it: only with a gift card. This way, you can still experience the anticipation of new releases, and the anticipation may even better the actual experience of listening to the cd once you finally get that first glorious listen. Postponing this may also save you from buying something that you end up not liking, because with the use of the gift card, you'll have to decide what it is you want to spend it on.

2. Chilis is a deadly weapon against teenagers. It's quick, friendly, filled with great food, and an incredible hang out spot after just about any occasion... but it sneaks up on you in the wallet. I don't see a lot of people my age going to J Alexander's or Red Lobster, but rather these little places to satisfy their fleeting hunger. I say let's limit eating out to one or MAYBE two times a month. You don't need to completely cut it out! They're there for your disposal and enjoyment, but not to take up every meal. WalMart has an amazing selection of food that you can get for very cheap, and make an adventure out of it in the process. Learn to cook. Try new recepies. Have fun with it!

3. When that time comes that you simply can't resist going out with friends, but you want to save that dinner for another special time, there is a fabulous thing that we (you AND I) need to start getting the hang of: the water and wait. Order a water. It's free. Have two or three bucks to tip your waiter at the end of the night for refilling that glass... but wait until all of your friends are done eating. Inevitably, everybody will not finish all of their food, and often times this food is up for grabs at the end of the meal. Most places also give endless supplies of bread or chips or other scrumptious appetizers. Let's use this stuff to not spend so much, and look forward to that bowl of Lucky Charms when you get home!

These are just a few of the things I plan to do with Matt and Ryan. Just by doing this, I am going to be saving myself countless dollars that I've wasted in the past, and I can honestly say that I'm excited about it :)

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.