Superman and I bought a new printer today. Not because we needed a new printer . . . we already had two perfectly good printers. But we needed new ink. And it was the same price to buy a new printer, with ink included in the box, as it was to buy ink.
Houston, we have a problem.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: Forty bucks for ink? We can buy a new printer for that.
Him: No we can’t . . . can we?
Me: (Leading him a few steps down the aisle to the printers.) Look. They’re the same price as the ink cartridges. And they come with ink.
Walmart Clerk (who overheard our conversation): It’s price gouging, by the printer companies. They know you’ll eventually have to refill.
So we went back and forth, back and forth, looking at all the ink options vs. all the printers that came with ink, comparing prices. Finally, we realized one particular brand of ink was significantly cheaper than all the other brands. The printer for that brand was a little higher than the others.
It came down to these choices:
- We could buy a $70 printer (that came with ink in the box) knowing we could refill it with $12 – $15 ink cartridges later.
- We could buy a $40 printer (with ink cartridges) knowing we could refill it with $40 ink cartridges later (or buy another printer).
- We could buy the $40 ink cartridges and refill our current printer.
We decided on the $70 printer. Despite the fact that we’d spend $30 more now, we realized we’d make up the difference in a couple of refills. After that, we’re golden. (Or at least yellow, blue and red.)
Now, I’m not going to waste my time lamenting about the evils of price gouging. That goes without saying, and we’re all well aware of how the game is played.
But it is important to be wise. To think ahead. To look down the road, at the potential payoff.
It would have been easier, for now, to spend $40 on ink. Ridiculous, yes. But easier, because we could have then used that extra $30 to go on a date to the Chinese buffet. But in a couple of months, we would have had to spend another $40, and another and another.
By spending the extra money now, we’re going to save money in the long run. We’ll probably save $75-$100 in a year. In a dozen years or so, I can buy a new sofa. Or maybe a new Macbook, if it’s on clearance.
For most things in life, we have to sacrifice up front if we want the benefits down the road. We put in the sweat equity now, we fit into the dress later. We work hard now, we get the cushy office job later. We invest now, we draw a comfortable retirement later.
We use self-discipline in our speech, and speak kind, encouraging words now . . . we have strong, positive relationships with the people we care about later.
God asks us to do that, ya know? He wants us to sacrifice now, for a greater payoff later. But sacrifice isn’t fun, and it’s never easy.
I recently heard a story about the owners of Blockbuster video. In 2004, they were one of the most successful companies around. A young businessman approached Blockbuster’s owner and asked him to purchase his company for $50 million. The young man wanted to stay on with Blockbuster, and run this new internet-driven branch of the business.
Blockbuster said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Three years later, in 2007, Blockbuster closed stores right and left, while the new company Netflix took the world by storm. Today, Blockbuster is no more, and Netflix is worth over $30 billion.
Fifty million seems like a lot of money, but it was within Blockbuster’s scope of possibility. But they didn’t want to make the sacrifice. And because of it, they missed an enormous payoff, down the road.
Too often, I only look at what’s right here, right now. Forty bucks for ink, and Chinese food, baby.
Then I’m frustrated when my life doesn’t go the way I want it to. When I realize it’s time for my class reunion and I can’t fit into my dress. When I discover I’m nearly 50 years old and I don’t have enough saved for retirement. When I figure out that because of my poor, in-the-moment choices, I don’t have the relationships I want, and I’m not any closer to being the person I really want to be.
But when I look back at the sacrifices I did make, I don’t regret them. They’ve been worth it. And I know, as I continue to make choices for the long-term rather than the here-and-now, I can feel good about those decisions. No regrets.
Payday is coming.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” 2 Corinthians 4:17.
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God bless, and have a beautiful day.
~Renae from Armonia
Oh my goodness, I know the excruciating pain of printers and their ink. We are in the midst of one of these trying times at this moment. Great post!
Thanks, Susan. Best of luck, finding a solution! 🙂