How Do You View Your Money?

One of the best things you can do for yourself, financially, is figure out how you view money. It’s important to understand your relationship with money, and acknowledge what you want your money to do for you.

When your money has a purpose, it’s much easier to create a workable spending plan, and begin to get on the right track to financial freedom.

view money

Honestly evaluate how you feel about money, and think about what you want from life. Are you going to use that money to enjoy your life more? Or do you honestly have no idea what you’re working toward?

Is Money a Means to an End?

First of all, do you view money as a means to an end? It’s all very well to say that you want more money. But before you bemoan your lack of funds, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Why do I want more money?
  2. What will I do with the money when I get it?

How you answer these questions — if you have an answer at all — can help you understand how you view money. Do you actually have a plan for that money? Do you see that money as a tool to help you improve your life? Or do you just wish that you had more money because you think it would be nice?

Before making a budget or a spending plan, and before you start trying to earn more money, think about the reasons you want more money. Do you want to live debt free? Will a better income help you accelerate your debt pay down? Do you want a secure retirement? Will more money give you a way to contribute more to your retirement account?

Maybe you just want to be able to take a family vacation this year, or buy a new book whenever you feel like it, without pinching pennies and counting costs. All of those goals are fine, and what you do with your money depends on your individual situation, and what you want out of life.

Money doesn’t have to be an end itself. Many people work and work and work, trying to get more money, without every really stopping to think about what they want that money for. Sure, you have more money. But what are you doing with it? Is it being used to shore up your future? Or to make your current life more enjoyable?

Personally, I like to think of money as a tool. I put money in an emergency fund, and I set it aside for retirement. Once all the essentials are taken care of — the bills paid and the future provided for — I’m all about using my money to enjoy my life. I like to eat out at restaurants and go on trips. I enjoy buying new books for my Kindle. I like doing things that, to me, make life worth living.

While I’m willing to earn a little more money, I’m not overly concerned about making a lot more money. I don’t really have a need for it; I’m reasonably content with the way I use my resources right now. What would I do with extra money? The time and effort involved in making the extra money (that I wouldn’t really know what to do with anyway) would take away from the things I actually enjoy doing.

I see money as an means to an end. I require it in order to live the lifestyle I want. Other than that, it’s just extra. If you don’t know what you want from life, it really doesn’t matter how much money you make, or whether you are “wasting” it. On the other hand, if you have an idea of what you want, you are more likely to manage your money in a way that helps you achieve your goals.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author

By , on Dec 14, 2012
Miranda
Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger, specializing in financial topics. She has written for a number of financial web sites, and her work has been linked to by many publications, online and off. Miranda's blog is Planting Money Seeds.

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{24 Comments}

  1. funancials says:

    There’s a sentence at the beginning that hits the nail on the head. “Give your money a purpose.” Money, itself, is useless. No intrinsic value whatsoever. So asking yourself “what is this money for” makes living life (or dying) much easier.

  2. This really is great — we always dream of more money, but if we got it, what would really be the plan? Do we really even need it?? Great questions :-)

  3. K.K. says:

    For me I earn money to buy me more freedom in the near future. So that when I’m ready to slow down my career and/or take up other pursuits that may not reward me financially, I can sleep without worry because we have the money that we need to live comfortably.

  4. eemusings says:

    Money in the bank = options, and so I guess I think of money as being freedom (or a means to).

  5. Hi Miranda,
    Yes, each one of us has different plans about money since we earned in in the first place. You are correct. Money should be viewed as a tool. It does not matter if that money is a big fortune or just enough. It is more important to think of how to save and spend your cash wisely.

  6. Pauline says:

    Money for me is mainly a mean to obtain more freedom, and not have to work. I have no magic number but once my basic needs are covered, every hour worked on top has to bring me subsistentially more money because I value my free time more.

  7. I also tend to view money as a tool. My goal is not to have money, but to have financial freedom so that I can provide for myself and my family. So that means right now means money is for paying off debt, and then it will be retirement.

  8. I also view money as a means to achieving the life I want within the time frame that I want to achieve it. If you don’t know that, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers and hitting a certain salary, which are meaningless for the most part. You’re just working for a number.

  9. Jay says:

    I have so many plans for more money, there is never enough in the retirement accounts, future children related expenses especially education, more home improvements, kill the mortgage, 2nd and 3rd homes (one in the islands, the other in the mountains), a couple of vintage cars. I could easily spend a couple of million without breaking a sweat, but I always live beneath my means so all things in good time, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to make more money.

    If you have any extra money lying around with no good plans for it, I will buy it off you for $.20 on the dollar, just kidding :)

  10. I see money as a means to an end. I see money as a way to buy time to do the things that I want.

  11. I view money as means of putting worries behind me so that I can focus on things that bring TRUE happiness in life – family and friends. The time spent with people you love is just not the same when you constantly have to worry about paying the bills or retiring comfortably.

    • Miranda says:

      That’s such a good point. Having your financial situation squared away can be a great help in other areas of your life. There’s something great about being stress free, and able to enjoy life more.

  12. Mackenzie says:

    Money is a means to an end. Paying off debt and funding returement. If you don’t have a plan for your money, you’re right in that it will just disappear. I’ve been in that position before; it’s not fun.

  13. Lately I’ve been thinking about what I’d do with more money and honestly I couldn’t come up with any great purposes. It made me realize I’m pretty lucky to have the set up I have and I don’t really need to change anything :)

  14. AverageJoe says:

    I love the line “if you don’t know what you want from life, it really doesn’t matter how much you make.” I used to meet potential clients who’d say, “What do you mean goals, I just want more!” These people never really had a great financial plan when they arrived and sadly, they never would let me help them build one, either.

    • Miranda says:

      That’s the sad thing. “How do I get more?” is more of a focus than it needs to be. First, figure out what you want. Then decide how to make that a reality. And the plan helps you do that.

  15. Breaking out the categorical imperative by kant…nice…I view money as a means to get to the the end. It gets me along my journey whether it be a bigger house…nicer car…big savings to take a nice trip to enjoy with family…whatever it may be…i see it as a means to get to the end…

  16. Great post Miranda! I think having that view, that money is a tool is a great way to form your thoughts around. I see a tool as something you use to make something else or get you somewhere. That’s exactly what money can be if you handle it wisely. I see it as a tool to accomplish the things that I want and take care of the things that need to be taken care of.

    • Miranda says:

      It’s definitely a tool. We sometimes think of money as something with its own characteristics (good or bad), but it’s really tool. It’s what we make of it.

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