I was watching The Real Housewives of Orange County yesterday and I was shocked to hear that 4 out of the 6 housewives are broke. I couldn’t find their salaries, but if The Real Housewives of NYC are getting paid $30,000 an episode, the Orange County ones must be making more.
Even if you account for the recession, there is no reason why they should be having financial troubles. The only conclusion I could come to is that they are spending all of their income, similar to how 78% of athletes go broke.
Now I don’t want to be judgmental because it is their life and they can live it how they want to. But the first thing that came to mind when I saw this was that if they were a “Patel”, they would have never ran into these situations.
There are a lot of reasons why many Patels do well, but the main reason is that we are cheap.
The main reason I think I am somewhat successful is because of what my parents taught me at a young age. They didn’t groom me into being a businessman, but instead they just taught me what their parents taught them.
Here are some things I learned as a kid that helped me down the road:
Get more for your money
Every time I used to go to Subway to get my Mom a sandwich I would ask her what she wanted on it. The reason I asked her this is because I knew that she didn’t like everything that they put on a sandwich, such as mustard. But she always told me to get every condiment that they had, as long as it didn’t cost extra. It didn’t matter if she liked the items on the sandwich, she made sure she got her moneys worth.
Now you could say my mom’s logic is a bit flawed and I would agree with you. None-the-less this experience taught me that you should always try and get more for your money.
You don’t always need to upgrade
There was one time when I convinced my parents to let me go rent a movie. But when I got to the movie store I saw some Bubblicious Bubble Gum and bought some.
When I got home my parents noticed that I not only had the movie, but I had bought some gum. Oh did they bitch me out for wasting money. I tried to explain that it didn’t even cost me a dollar for the gum, but they didn’t care. They 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 gum.
The point that my parents were trying to make is that gum is gum and most of them have the same after effects. They usually taste good, they are sweet, you can blow bubbles with it, and it usually makes your breath smells good.
So the next time you are thinking about getting something new, such as a faster computer, think about if you really need it. If your old one works, does roughly the same thing, and is fast enough, then why would you spend money on a new computer?
Sometimes you have to lose money to teach someone a lesson
What’s a dollar here or there, right? Well when my parents sent me to the grocery store, one time I accidentally bought the wrong milk. I bought a gallon of Alta Dena brand milk and I ended up spending a dollar or so more. My parents got so mad that they drove back to the store, returned it, and then bought the cheaper milk.
If you included the 30 minutes it took them to exchange the milk and the money they wasted to drive the car to the store, they probably didn’t even save money. I would even say that they lost money. But if they never did that, I may have not learned that 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 that they don’t make the same mistakes over again, but it maybe wiser to teach them a lesson. Even if it costs you more money to teach them that lesson, the chances are, they won’t make that mistake again.
Don’t forget about the holding cost
Just the other day I bought $163 worth of groceries on Amazon Fresh. I know, as a single guy how could I spend $163 on groceries, right? Well on Amazon if you buy things like soup, cereal, and chicken nuggets in bulk, you can get 50% off sometimes.
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 that I normally need for the week.
I was so happy that I got a box of cereal for $2.50 that I called my mom to tell her. Instead of her being happy she yelled at me because she said that it wasn’t a good deal. She is able to buy the same box of cereal for around the same price if not less.
But what she got mad at me for was not how much I paid for the box of cereal; it was that I ordered 12 instead of 1. She explained that by ordering too much food, I was tying up my money in things that I wouldn’t be using anytime soon (holding cost). And that I could of used that money to potentially make more by investing it in other business ventures or the stock market.
Buyer’s remorse can be costly
During my first year of high school I was used to my parents being so cheap that I started to become cheap. For example, during my birthday my parents asked me what I wanted and I ended up buying a $100 pair of sneakers.
Luckily enough my parents could afford them and without saying anything, they gracefully bought me them. After buying them, I ended up having buyer’s remorse and within a few days I had my parents return them and instead I bought a $60 pair of shoes.
When I returned the shoes, instead of my parents patting me on the back, they explained me to that buyer’s remorse can be costly. Although I was able to return the pair of shoes to Foot Locker, not all stores/companies would have allowed that.
So before you buy something for yourself or your business, make sure you need it. There have been too many times in which companies make bad business decisions, waste millions of dollars, and sadly they aren’t able to turn back the clock.
You can’t be too greedy
During the .com boom, I had the luxury to see my parents make a killing in the stock market. At the peak, my parents were pulling in around $10,000 a day in profit.
These good times ended up lasting for a while and my parents were slowly pulling money out of the market.
The sad part is that they didn’t pull much money out of the market before the market crashed. And the really sad part is that my parents lost all of their winnings and even put more money into the market.
The lesson I learned here is that what goes up must come down. There will be times in your life that your business is going to 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.
Arrogance diminishes wisdom
When I was in high school I got lucky. So lucky that business was booming and I was making six figures. And although that may not seem like a lot of money to you, it was a ton of money for me as a kid.
At one point, I thought I was so smart and cool I started becoming arrogant. At this point my mom told me that I acted like I was “high in the sky”. And I was so high that I stopped listening to what others were telling me.
In other words, I became so arrogant that I stopped listening to other people. And when you stop listening to other people, you tend to stop learning. So no matter how well you are doing, never become arrogant because if you stop learning you may stop earning the big bucks.
As a Patel I have learned a lot. Many of the things that I learned helped me in my business career and hopefully they will help you.
Now by no means am I trying to say Patel’s are great and that there are no other people with different surnames that are successful.
So what I ask from you is for you to share some of the things you learned as a kid that helped you out as you got older. Every surname has its own stories and it would be great if you would share yours.