While watching The Real Housewives of Orange County yesterday, I was shocked to find out that 4 out of the 6 housewives were broke. I couldn’t find their salaries, but if The Real Housewives of NYC are getting paid $30,000 an episode, the ones in Orange County must be making more.
Even if you account for the recession, there is no reason why these housewives should have financial troubles. The only conclusion I could come to is that they are spending all of their incomes, similarly to 78% of athletes who go broke.
I don’t want to be judgmental because these are their lives, and they can live them however they want. What did occur to me, however, is that if they were a “Patel”, they would have never found themselves in this situation.
There are several reasons why many Patels do well, but the main one is we are cheap.
The primary reason I am somewhat successful, I believe, is because of what my parents taught me when I was growing up. They didn’t groom me into being a businessman, but they taught me what their parents taught them.
Here are some of the things I learned that helped me as I got older:
Get more for your money
Every time I went to Subway to get my mom a sandwich, I would ask her what she wanted on it. My reason for this was because I knew she didn’t like everything they put on a sandwich such as mustard. But she insisted on getting every condiment they had as long as it didn’t cost extra. It didn’t matter if she liked the items or not. She made sure she got her money’s worth.
You could say my mom’s logic is somewhat flawed, and I would agree. Nonetheless, the experience taught me that you should always try to get more for your money.
You don’t always need to upgrade
One time I convinced my parents to let me rent a movie. When I got to the video store, I saw some Bubblicious Bubble Gum and bought some.
When I returned home, my parents noticed I had the gum in addition to the movie and let me have it for wasting money. I tried to explain that the gum didn’t even cost me a dollar, but they didn’t care. My parents explained that we had gum at home, and even if it wasn’t the same kind, I should have chewed that first instead of buying more.
The point they were trying to make is that gum is gum. No matter what brand you buy, it’ll taste sweet; you can blow bubbles with it; and it usually makes your breath smell nice.
The next time you think about getting something new like a faster computer, ask yourself if you really need it. If your old computer works, does roughly the same thing, and is fast enough, why would you spend money on a new one?
Sometimes you have to lose money to teach someone a lesson
What’s a dollar here or there, right? One time I bought the wrong type of milk at the grocery store. I bought a gallon of the Alta Dena brand and ended up spending about a dollar more than I would for another brand. My parents got so mad that they drove back to the store and returned it for the cheaper milk.
If you take into account the 30 minutes it took them to exchange the milk and the money they wasted driving to the store, they probably didn’t save anything. In fact, I think they even lost money. But if they hadn’t done this, I may not have learned a valuable lesion. It is easier to save money than it is to make it.
Your employees are going to make mistakes. You could yell at them and hope they don’t make the same errors repeatedly, but it might wiser to teach them a lesson. Even if it costs you money, chances are they won’t make that mistake again.
Don’t forget about the holding cost
The other day, I bought $163 worth of groceries on Amazon Fresh. You might be wondering how could I, as a single guy, spend $163 on groceries, right?
On Amazon, if you buy things like soup, cereal, or chicken nuggets in bulk, you can sometimes get 50% off.
So, I ordered 12 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, 8 boxes of chicken nuggets, 12 boxes of burger patties, a 12-pack of yogurt, 6 packs of soup, and everything else I normally need for the week.
I was so happy I got a box of cereal for $2.50 that I called my mom to tell her. Instead of patting me on the back, she yelled at me. She said she could buy the same box of cereal for around the same price, if not less.
But she didn’t get mad because of how much I paid. She was angry because I ordered 12 instead of 1. She explained that by ordering too much food, I was tying up my money on things that I wouldn’t be using any time soon (holding cost). She also said that I could have used that money to potentially make more by investing it in other business ventures or the stock market.
Buyer’s remorse can be costly
By the time I entered high school, I was used to my parents’ way of being, and I started to become cheap too.
One year, when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told them I wanted a $100 pair of sneakers.
Fortunately, my parents could afford them, and without saying anything, they bought them for me. After getting them, I ended up having buyer’s remorse, and within a few days I had my parents return and replace them with a $60 pair instead.
When I returned the shoes, instead of praising me, my parents explained that buyer’s remorse can be costly. I was able to return the pair of shoes to Foot Locker, but not all stores/companies would have allowed that.
Before you buy something for yourself or your business, make sure you need it. Too many times companies make bad business decisions, waste millions of dollars, and sadly aren’t able to turn back the clock.
You can be too greedy
During the dotcom boom, my parents made a fortune in the stock market. At its peak, my parents were pulling in about $10,000 a day in profit.
The good times ended up lasting for a while, and my parents were pulling money out of the market slowly.
The sad part is that they didn’t pull enough out before the market crashed. The saddest part is that my parents lost all of their gains and put even more money into the market.
The lesson I learned is that what goes up must come down. There will be times in your life when your business will be booming, and you will be living the good life.
But keep in mind that what goes up, must come down. In other words, when things are going well, don’t wait for the peak before you get out. There is nothing wrong with selling your business early or making some money compared to no money at all.
Arrogance diminishes wisdom
When I was in high school, I got lucky. My business was booming, and I was making six figures. That may not seem like a lot of money to you, but at the time, it was a ton of money for me.
At one point I thought I was so smart and cool that I started becoming arrogant. When my mom noticed my attitude, she told me that I acted like I was “high in the sky.” She was right.
I became so arrogant that I stopped listening to other people, and when you stop listening to people, you tend to stop learning.
No matter how well you are doing, never become arrogant. If you stop learning, you may stop earning.
As a Patel, I have learned a lot. Many of the things I learned helped me in my business. I hope what I have shared will help you too.
I am not trying to say Patels are great and that people with different surnames aren’t successful. That’s why I am inviting you to share some of the things you learned as a kid that helped you as you got older.
Every surname has its own story, and it would be great if you shared yours.