With my mind on my money and my money on my mind
With another holiday season upon us, I find myself looking at my bank account remembering last year’s gifts purchased, charities donated to, and the parties and events attended that added up to a healthy credit card bill. In recent years, the pressure has built to spend for the sake of spending (not for gifting) and I’ve found myself frustrated by those who expect my spending priorities to be the same as theirs. ‘Tis the season for giving, but shouldn’t it be my decision as to how and when I spend my money?
I remember reading Lisa Larter’s book Money, Mindset & Marketing, where she dedicates a whole chapter to your “money mindset”. For the first time, I felt like I had found someone who understood where I was coming from. She called out that not only is it okay but that it is important to value yourself and your skills and to expect to be paid well for them. I work hard for my money, just like you do. I go to work on the days I’d rather stay at home with a cup of tea (glass of wine), spend every waking hour responding to emails and dedicate myself to being of service to my customers in every business interaction. Not only do I work hard, but I earn every dollar that I work for and as a result, I should be the sole person dictating when and how I spend that money without judgement from others.
Have you felt this before? The pressure to go out to dinner at a restaurant that doesn’t suit your taste, a vacation with friends to a destination of little interest or donating to a cause that you don’t have an emotional connection to. Money is a touchy subject to say the least; one that we often avoid discussing. Everyone values it differently and as a result it can cause a lot of conflict, confusion and sometimes hurt feelings. But I think a healthy relationship with money leads to a healthy financial state. By being proud of what you earn you can’t help but be protective about how you dispose of your income. This includes being able to know when you to say yes and when to say no to the aforementioned scenarios.
I take great pride in being smart with money. I graduated university with no debt, bought a home and my first car before I turned 30 and continue to invest in savings and retirement. I value every dollar I make and in return value every dollar I spend. I focus on the small things like taking lunch to work, turning down the heat when I’m away and putting money from every paycheck into a savings account. We all know that spending more than you make is an easy way to get into financial trouble and a sure way to see money as stressful. By taking control of how you spend you can see money differently: an opportunity to better your lifestyle and solve problems.
Sure, money isn’t everything but I learned at a young age that it can buy you important intangible things: freedom, options, flexibility. It allows me to have control of my future, my decisions, my life while enjoying a lifestyle where I can take advantage of opportunities to see, to eat and to experience the world around me. Going into this New Year, I plan to continue to work my ass off and being the number one decision maker in how I spend that money because like I said a long time ago (at approximately the age of 5): I am the boss of myself.