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.
Richard Hurt says
I think I’ll add The Soul Of Money to my reading list. It sounds great. Good thoughts on the wise use of our money. I’ve always been a big fan of using debit and staying away from credit! Thanks,
A smaller wedding??
What a shocking concept!! LOL
Wish that one had crossed my mind before we did ours–and mine only cost me about $3K.
What a waste of money–all the pomp and circumstance, that is.
Christina ( @CashCampfire ) says
“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.” – Haha, love the opening!
I’ll check into the book The Soul of Money. I’m always eager to find new books to fill my library.
I agree with you though (and the quote). Some people overspend, and so they tend to barely get by year after year. Others get so obsessed with money, that they forget about what really matters (family, friends, their own lifestyle). This is definitely something to think about.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil”. 1 Timothy 6:10.
I too am a fan of not splurging on things that others may deem a “most have” for certain occasions. I’m perfectly fine with spending a lot less on something others think require much more – but saving that money for something I really want down the road… Like a home.
PerkStreet Jen says
Thanks, everyone! Even working at a place that rewards for smart spending and considering myself a smart spender doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes fall into the traps of spending on dumb things. Writing this post really helped me get my head back on straight, and I’ll keep coming back to it when I need reminding.
@David – seriously, $3K? Wow, that’s awesome! I definitely am spending more than that, although we’re still coming in at less than half the “average” wedding cost. I find it’s easier to be happy with what we have and to keep a level head when I don’t spend much time reading bridal magazines and websites. All I need is 5 minutes with Martha Stewart and suddenly I want to hand-string crabapples and have a sixteen tier cake.
Freddie @ Real Estate Investing says
Debit and I have really gotten to know each other lately, but that is because of the financial situation I am in lately. It’s all good cause I have been in debt before and gotten out of it and will do it again. Only this time, I am not going back. That is all I know.
I spend some good quality time with family and friends, so that is always awesome for me!
And the third one on your list is where I think most people get into trouble and that is trying to keep up with the Joneses. It can be tough to mind your own business, but it is something that we must do if we want to keep our sanity. There are always people making more than you….but I don’t think we realize how we are the Joneses to many other people…even when we are struggling!
PerkStreet Jen says
Good for you @Freddie! No one’s perfect, and getting out of debt is NOT easy. You’re staying so positive and always looking forward, which is definitely going to help on your journey!
I love the idea that you can be a “Jones” to someone else. There will always be people who have more, and people who have less, but there will never be another you. Learning to be happy with that is the key to an awful lot!