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Bean Counting…Another Garden Metaphor

By Elisabeth Donati

So there we are, Jan and I this morning, picking bean in my garden. I planted three types: green, yellow and purple. Before you get all excited about the purple ones you need to know they turn green when you cook them. Imagine my disappointment because I love purple.

I had grabbed a metal bowl to put them in and we started picking. And we picked and we picked and we picked. Now mind you, the patch isn’t very big…it’s only about five feet of beans.

Where are all of YOUR beans? Nonetheless, the longer we picked and the closer we looked, the more beans we saw, and got to pick. (Note: cooked beans are my favorite vegetable.) We just kept commenting on how many there were as compared to how many we thought were there before we starting harvesting them.

We got to thinking how this is a lot like life. The longer, and deeper, we look, listen, feel and experience anything, the more we see, hear, feel or experience that thing.

Of course, the next step is to tie the metaphor into our financial situations…mine, Jan’s, yours. What can we say…it applies, of course.

Counting Your Own Beans

We’ve all heard the nickname bean counters for accountants, bookkeepers, CPA’s. Feel free to tootle over to Word Detective to check out the brief history of the phrase.

But getting back to your own beans, I have found in my many years of working with people and their money, that they often just need a nudge to stop and look at their situations a little deeper.

How much does it ACTUALLY cost for you to live the lifestyle you’re living?

How much does it ACTUALLY cost to feed your family of four each month?

How much are you ACTUALLY spending on coffee each month?

How much COULD YOU save and invest if you just stopped long enough to get a seriously accurate picture of what you’re making, what you’re spending, what you could save and invest, etc.

Counting Opportunities

The other area I’ve noticed people trip themselves up in is the idea that their opportunities are limited…especially in this economy. Our culture is so stuck on the ‘job’ thing that they often can’t see the 1000’s of opportunities in front of them to start profitable businesses. And no, not knowing how to start a business is not a good enough excuse to keep yourself in the job mentality.


So if you’re struggling financially, even in the slightest, start looking around at all the opportunities there really are for you to make money (not earn it, i.e., trading your time and energy for someone else’s money) on your own.


OK, you’ve got some picking to do. Stop, look, look deeper and then be honest with yourself about what you need to do to make some changes in the way you do money if indeed you really want something better for yourself, like eventually being financially free!


Just something else to think about…

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Creative Cash for Kids is a simple, yet powerful way to teach your kids about money, investing and being the CEO of their own lives at home.

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