I want to continue to cultivate gratitude, so in addition to my post “Take the Gratitude Challenge,” I thought I’d continue my list, this time with 10 things about the economy that I’m thankful for. (Yes, I know the economy is troubled, and people are having a very difficult time, but there are things about having an economy that make our lives better, so we really need to remember these things.)
1. I’m thankful for money. It is wonderful to have something that can be used as a universal means of exchange. Using money means that it is a lot easier to exchange our services for things that we need. Rather than having to search hard to find someone who needs our skills and has something we need, we can use money in our exchange.
2. I’m thankful for prices. Prices mean that I have a way to compare value and decide what I can or can’t afford. (Prices also cause me to be even happier when I find something FREE!)
3. I’m thankful for savings. I’m glad it is possible to save because it means that I can sacrifice now for something big I want in the future. It is wonderful to be able to store money for use later. Building savings makes financial preparations possible.
4. I’m thankful for banks. I’m grateful for banks because they eliminate worry about whether our money is safe or not. Without banks, everyone would have to find a secret place in their house to keep their money and they would always be worried about being robbed. Also, without banks, if you needed to borrow a lot of money, you would have to get a very rich person to agree to lend, or get a lot of your neighbors to agree to lend. Borrowing from banks makes it simpler.
5. I’m thankful for checks. Checks are something to be grateful for because it means you don’t have to carry quantities of cash around with you to pay someone. It means that you can pay someone exactly what you owe while keeping your money in the bank.
6. I’m thankful for credit. Credit causes a lot of problems if we don’t use it very carefully, but when we do, it can be very helpful. Credit means that you can get what you need when you know you will have money but don't have it yet; people are willing to trust you that you will eventually pay them. I am thankful that people trust enough to give credit.
7. I’m thankful for taxes. You may think I’m crazy, but yes, I’m also thankful for taxes (within limits, of course). Paying taxes means that no one person is burdened with the full cost of providing services for the public good. It also means that I can help pay for roads and schools and the protection of police and I don’t have to worry about exactly how to spend that money.
8. I’m thankful for contracts. They make it possible to make a complicated exchange over a period of time. They also make it so that you don't have to renegotiate an exchange that you know is going to happen often in the future the same way each time. I’m thankful they can be written down so that each party remembers what they agreed to do and what they can expect from the other parties in the contract.
9. I’m thankful for buying on the internet. Buying on the internet makes it easier for me to find things that I need even when I can’t find them for sale in my town.
10. I'm thankful for budgets. Budgets are HUGE. A budget make it possible to see how actual spending compares to planned spending. It makes it possible to be sure that we are spending less than we earn. It helps me make more realistic spending plans and helps me see how my savings progresses toward big purchases. It helps my husband and I stay unified financially because we both know where the money should go and how much. It helps me spend responsibly. It gives me opportunities and incentives to spend carefully. It helps us avoid impulse spending so we can spend according to what is really important to us.
Quite likely you’ve read this list and have said to yourself a number of times, “Yes, that’s good in theory, but right now…” Yes, yes, I know, corruption has occurred. It is a sign we have to get back to the economic basics. Making this list has shown me that if we don’t misuse or corrupt these aspects, we really have much to be thankful for about the economy.