Yesterday afternoon, I walked my three year old son to the bathroom at a park. He held my hand the entire way, skipping and dancing and laughing.
A few days ago, my daughter hurt herself on a trampoline. I went to her, pulled her close, and wiped the tears away. She grabbed ahold of my hand and held our intertwined hands against her chest for a little while until the fear and the initial pain faded away.
Shortly after that, my oldest child grabbed ahold of both of my hands. He held on tight as I lifted him high, his shouts of joy filling the air.
Last night, just before we fell asleep, I put my arm around my wife and held her hand for a while. She squeezed my hand tightly for a bit, then just held onto it as she drifted off to dreamland.
These were among the best moments I had over the past few days.
They didn’t involve buying things. They didn’t involve spending money. Instead, they each involved contact with people I love.
When I think back to the moments that will stick with me from the last few days, I won’t remember what kind of dishwasher detergent I bought at the store or whether I bought a mocha at the coffee shop. Those memories will disappear – most of them have already.
What I will remember is the feeling of holding the hand of each member of my family. I’ll remember the smiles, the laughs, the warmth, the sense of knowing that I’m helping to bring calm in a scary situation.
That’s what will stick with me.
If those are the moments that actually matter, then I owe it to myself to make sure those moments last. Will I always be able to see the smiles of my children, knowing that they had a wonderful and carefree childhood? Will I always be able to feel the warmth of my wife, knowing that we have a secure and safe marriage and future together?
I can buy generic items at the store and it won’t matter a bit over the long run. I can skip that stop at the coffee shop. I can pass up on buying a book or another item that tempts me.
I’ll forget about all of those things in the blink of an eye. What I won’t forget is these moments, and those are the moments I need to protect with my financial choices.
The real reason for frugality can be found in the palm of your hand.