I live and work in a metropolitan area, which means I spend a lot of time on buses and trains with my nose in a book attempting to avoid my fellow riders in the friendliest way possible.
One of my co-workers suggested I add The Soul of Money to my Express Bus Reading List – he said it was just the sort of thing that would be right up my alley. Wow, was he right.
There’s a lot in this book that made me stop and think, which probably isn’t a surprise with a title like The Soul of Money, but there was one quote in particular that stood out to me as a statement around which my personal and professional lives revolve:
Money itself isn’t the problem. Money itself isn’t bad or good. Money itself doesn’t have power or not have power. It is our interpretation of money, our interaction with it, where the real mischief is and where we find the real opportunity for self-discovery and personal transformation.
I think we all know that money really doesn’t buy happiness. But the right balance of saving and spending can ease the stress and unhappiness of money, which is pretty darn close.
- Spend with debit. Debit doesn’t mean you can’t have things. It means you have to choose out-of-budget splurges carefully. It also means that when you buy something, you’re done paying for it. As someone who’s buying a wedding entirely on debit, I can tell you it’s a no-brainer to have a smaller cake and not get hit with a whopping bill when I return from my honeymoon.
- Spend time with people who make you happy. Think about the last great time you had with your friends and family. What made it great? Was it that you got reservations at that hot new restaurant in town? Was it your fabulous new jeans? Was it because everyone was dripping with diamonds? Or was it the company? Your jeans will not love you back; spend time with people who do and spend less time racking up debt.
- Save your judgments for reality TV. Comparing yourself to the Joneses is a certain way to end up poorer than the Joneses. Focus on what’s important to you, and don’t let what others value influence your spending habits. Alternately, don’t discount what others are saving for or spending on. But judge the crazy kids doing gross things in a hot tub on national TV? Well, sure.
Don’t hate money. Money is a tool – use it well.
Jennifer Scott is the Digital Communications Manager at PerkStreet Financial. In her spare time she enjoys finding ways to live a fabulous life without going into debt. She doesn’t own a lot of cashmere sweaters, but she certainly is happy.