Mao de Vaca

Those who really know me might know that I’m a tight wad.  On the exterior, yes, I seem like a pretty cool cat when it comes to money, but deep down nothing makes me more gleefully giggle with joy than money miser’d away in the bank.  In Brazil, I’m known as a “mao de vaca.” Literally translated, that’s “hand of a cow”.  Just let that imagery work for you…


Yesterday, with the holiday season rolling in and end-of-year bills piling up, my money-anxiety meter was going a little out of control, so after getting back in control, I decided that I needed to set some ground rules on when I would allow myself to freak out about money:

1. No freaking out about money if you actually have money.

If your net worth and/or savings is stable and/or growing month over month (even if only through retirement contributions), then you have no reason to be anxious about money.  No freaking out if you are spending less than what you are making.  Feel free to freak out if you are consistently spending more than what you make.

2. No freaking out about giving gifts.

It is OK to temper the amount of money you are spending on gifts, but it is not OK to feel upset that gifts are being given, as if the recipient doesn’t deserve to be the beneficiary of your hard-earned spoils.  Work on your selflessness here a bit.  It’s not yours in the first place, ya dope.

3. No freaking out about emergencies or unexpected expenses.

It does no good to cuss and moan about the car that needs emergency repairs or the appliance that needs emergency replacement.  This is why you have an emergency fund, and it will do you no good to freak out about it.  Just rip off the band-aid quickly, get it over with, and put together a plan to regroup your emergency fund ASAP.  Usually emotions run high in emergencies, and adding anxiety about money into the  mix is like throwing gas on an already burning fire.

4. No freaking out about betraying your goals for special circumstances.

So you have to dip into the vacation fund to cover your Christmas expenses?  So you have to change your savings goals for one month, or stretch the budget a bit?  Big deal.  Get over it.  The whole world won’t come crashing down.  Just get back on your goal next month.

5. If you ever start feeling down on yourself for being tight, watch this video:

2 thoughts on “Mao de Vaca”

  1. Umm, WE, when you start saving your moles in your freezer, I’m going to start worrying. And it’s a very good thing that Mrs. WE won’t ever let you two move into a van. 🙂

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