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.
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?
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:
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.
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