Fribble Tuesday, December7, 1999

The Fool Virus


My colleague cursed me again today: "I hate you, man. You've changed my life! I went to buy shoes last night, and I couldn't do it. Last year, I would have thought, 'Oh, I need some shoes,' and gone ahead and bought some, no matter the price, just because I had the money. But last night, I looked at the boots with the $120 price tags, and I couldn't do it."

He went on to say the he kept thinking about the stocks he could buy with $120. "I mean, that's like 10 shares of Service Corp., 30 shares of Rainforest Cafe, 3 shares of Tricon Global.... Look at these shoes I'm wearing! The average pair in my closet probably cost me at least a hundred dollars new, but I'm wearing ones I bought on sale for $40 a few months ago! And It's all because of you."

What a wonderful compliment! My colleague's good-natured rant illustrates the contagious nature of Foolishness. It also provides us Fools with a great way to keep from "throwing away" our money. Before you buy those five new compact discs that will soon be just five more jewel cases collecting dust in the rack, ask yourself if you would rather have twelve shares of your favorite five-dollar stock. Before you spend $400 upgrading your wardrobe, think of the lost opportunity to buy 20 shares of your favorite twenty-dollar stock.

Resist the urge to buy unnecessary food, clothing and luxuries, if you can. Think what they will be worth in one week. One month. One year! Will you even remember that restaurant dinner you ate that cost $30 after tax and tip? After a year it will be all but forgotten. A share of stock, however, will still be a share of stock -- probably a more expensive one, at that!