Day 23,690:  When It’s Time To Pony Up

In olden, analog days the saying was: “You get what you pay for.”  In this new digital society, it’s more important to pay for what you get.  There’s much that is free out there from podcasts to games, pictures, and in-depth articles. It’s OK to surf for free, test desirability of services for free, and even freeload more than you might otherwise, but at some point I decided to pony up.

It’s tempting when on a tight budget to be a digital freeloader,  but, that doesn’t make it right. Much of my old industry – newspapers – was disrupted by internet interlopers – people who would prefer free journalism over paid just because free is free. But, journalists deserve to be paid.

In fact, everyone deserves to get paid. That’s the basis of Capitalism. And, perhaps no surprise, pony up is a mostly American phrase.  Someone offers a service or product and gets goods, services, or money in return. Unfortunately, theory doesn’t always match reality. In truth it’s getting harder and harder for artists, photographers, musicians, writers and a host of other people including towns and nonprofit organizations to earn money as patrons don’t pony up.

You don’t need to pay for services you don’t receive (the argument behind many tax resisters). That’s called philanthropy. But, by the same token, you should be willing to pay for services you do receive.

Related Reverse Post: When The Price is Right

I have three examples where I’ve embraced pulling out my wallet.

  1. July 4th Fireworks. My old town, Ridgewood, NJ, has the best fireworks for any small town in America. You get a free July 4th parade, entertainment before the fireworks, and when last I lived there, for just $5 entrance to the fireworks field where the booms were so close you could smell and sometimes feel the ashes. Many of my towns folks in this  wealthy town preferred to sit far away on the high school football field, or in the grocery store parking lot rather than fork up the five bucks. To me it was a small investment for a very big bang, and I never regretted a dollar  to encourage my town’s to annually embrace the ever expensive liabilities of having home town festivities. It was an investment in keeping the fireworks local.
  2. Online Gaming. I’m a gamer. I admit it. I’ve gotten my current gaming down to two favorites – Farm Heroes Saga (Level 1,047) and Toon Blast (Level 484). I’ve spent a Toon blast-1good 5-6 years playing various games for free. I prided myself on never spending a dime on Candy Crush Saga or Pokemon Go, but lately I’ve invested an occasional 99 cents in these two games, particularly Toon Blast. They have given me hours of pleasure, assisted to divert my attention from work during high stress days, and deserve my occasional buck to keep the programmers and game coders in business. It’s far less than I spend to see a movie for just two hours, and I’ve gotten so many more mindless hours of play from them.
  3. Blog Pictures. You can get pictures for free from Google Images, but they are not copyright free. You can pay for photo usage from various sites for good amounts of money, and we do at work. But, you can also access Creative Commons photos for free from a few sites. My go to is I ‘m registered and can download photos for free, but each time they politely ask if I’d donate the value of a cup of coffee to the photographer. I used to skip this step. I don’t anymore. I give a dollar each time I download a photo especially for this blog for Crone Karma.

They say it’s worth investing money always in two things – yourself and your business/art/ventures. Between the fireworks and games, I’m clearly willing to pay for entertainment. It’s far from self-improvement, but it’s a time/value cost. The pictures are my small investment in art and the creative process – mine, but mostly others.  My investments are relatively small – dollars here and there – but, if I’m not yet willing or able to invest in an entire horse farm, I’m at least ponying up.

Staying Focused on Common Sense Gun Sanity: Here’s a way to pony up for Marjory Stoneham Douglas. The school has a Go Fund Me page to raise $3 million for victims. They are at $2.6 million. Consider donating $17 — one buck for each victim – and maybe an extra buck for Life (Chai).