More than Paper

Paper can be anything you want it to be.

Our most important pieces of paper carry a deeper meaning and hint at a bigger picture.  A diploma represents years of effort and ability.  A marriage certificate acts as an “official, legal document of dedication” towards another person.  Deeds and titles signify ownership.

Off the top of my head I can think of a couple of types of paper that everybody interacts with at some point in their life – toilet paper and money.

Comparing money to toilet paper might be silly. But think for a second about how you feel when a roll of toilet paper runs out, or if the roll was out before you entered the bathroom and you’re too late in finding out.  It’s probably the same anxiety you feel when you see your bank account hit zero, or your card is declined at the register due to insufficient funds.  In both cases you might have to call someone you trust to bring you more paper, no questions asked.

The Value of Money

Money has value because we have confidence that other people also value it and we can exchange it for goods and services, and vice versa.  Since this system is pretty straightforward, and we humans are complex, emotional creatures, we have the ability (and the need) to figure out how all of this relates to us – how it affects our time here on this earth.

The most important thing I’ve realized is that some dollars are more powerful now than others.  Any dollars I spend above a certain point are almost worthless.  Sure, they give me buying power today, but what is buying power worth when you already have what you need?

You could use the whole roll of toilet paper in one sitting.  It’s right there, you can see how much there is.  But if you’re smart, you use what you need*, and save the rest for later.


Notes:

You can actually buy toilet paper with dollar bills printed on it!

*One final note comparing toilet paper to money – some people waste a lot, some don’t use enough, and others reject the idea all together! 

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4 Comments

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  1. I have thought about this from time to time…what would we do without toilet paper. It’s possibly one of the best household inventions of the modern era.

  2. Short but on point. And of course, we cannot compare money to the toilet paper.

  3. Of course, there are large swathes of people in many countries where toilet paper is not used. A bidet or hand-held posterior spray of water is used instead. Even today, instead of paper tissues, many use cloth handkerchiefs and they are washed along with laundry and re-used. Not surprisingly, those are the markets where Kimberly-Clark and others are active to convert them into paper users!

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matt@financeyoself.com if you wanna talk!

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