What is it about money?
Money is a means of exchange for goods and services, and in and of itself is sort of innocuous. Yet it is often anything but. It’s hard to talk about, drives wedges in relationships, ends friendships, destroys businesses, and can quickly become so contentious that it rips families apart.
A few weeks ago, at the end of a wonderful lunch with friends, our server brought the check. We hadn’t really talked through how we would spilt the check, and so there was that familiar moment of awkward silence, until one friend said it like it was. Why is money so hard? That broke the silence as we all laughed and acknowledged what she’d said. We figured it out, paid the bill, and all was well.
Today, after a fantastic family gathering last weekend, where everyone pitched in to share in the cost of food, it was time to settle up. A couple of us had done the shopping and everyone else slipped me their cash contribution throughout the course of the weekend. I put it all in the white vase in my closet to be counted up later, or at least I thought I did. Adding it up, I was $50 short. I checked every pocket I could think of, looked inside the book I’m reading, my lingerie drawer, and under the cushion of the chair in my closet where I throw my clothes when I’m in a hurry (or tired, or lazy for that matter). Still short fifty bucks, since I was the one who’d lost it, I’d be the one to eat it.
Such is life with money sometimes.
And then…I remembered to check the washing machine, and sure enough, Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Jackson have never been so clean.
How we manage money with others can damage relationships if we aren’t careful. Doing it right and keeping things clean when it comes to money and other people isn’t always easy, but it’s actually pretty simple. Talk about it up front, seek mutual understanding, come to agreement, follow through on your commitments, and circle back if something doesn’t seem right.
Money is a big deal, but not the real deal, and while it may not grow on trees, it never hurts to check the washing machine.