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Don’t Curse Your Five Loaves

By: Steve Johnson

6/25/2008 - 13 Comments

When I was in college, I drove a Dodge Neon which is a small cheap car.

I bought the car when it was 4 years old for $4000 and drove it for 6 years, when I sold it for $1200 with 120,000 miles on it. The yearly cost of owning that car was ($4000 - $1200/6 years) $466 dollars.  That car was very good to me and a big help in keeping my expenses low. The reason I was able to drive that car for 6 years and then resell it was because I took very good care of it.

A few years later I met a woman that had bought a brand new Dodge Neon. I asked her how she liked the car. She said she didn’t like it because it was just a cheap car – even though she had bought it brand new only two years ago.  I looked inside the car and the seats were full of stains and garbage.  It was then that I realized that she was not taking good care of her car because she didn’t think much of it.

She thought it just wasn’t worth taking care of a cheap car.  That car probably cost her $16,000 to buy new and if she sold it for $3000 four years later, her yearly cost of owning the car was ($16000 - $3000/4 years) $3250 dollars. To her, the car wasn't worth much, but over her lifetime she is going to spend ($3250-$466 x 30 years) $83,520 more then me on transportation (not counting interest). That is if I don't buy that black BMW that keeps calling my name.

There is an interesting story in the bible in Matthew 14:13-21 where Jesus performed a miracle to feed 5000+ people. Jesus asked his disciples ‘what do you have and they said, just five loaves of bread and two fish’ – which was a boys lunch.  The interesting verse is verse 19, where Jesus blessed the five loaves.  The disciples thought little of what they had, but Jesus didn’t – He blessed what He had and use it to feed 5000 people. 

I think this is an important financial principle in life if you want to get ahead or just keep what you have. Don’t curse your five loaves.

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