Do you know what your money priorites are?
In an earlier post I wrote about making sacrifices to get what you want.
Over the last couple of months, my sacrifices have been primarily financial. A strict budget has led me to pay close attention to how I spend money. Not just where the money is being spent but why? What motivates me to spend money on one thing over another?
The last several months has highlighted for me, the fact that individuals have different money priorities. Watching other people and pondering on their spending motivation is fascinating stuff.
As I mentioned in my earlier post one of my financial priorities has been travelling.
I love to travel, to explore. Of all the sacrifices I have made in the last couple of months, not travelling has been the hardest. Thankfully one of my dear friends predicted this in advance and generously bought me a cheap flight to Sydney for my birthday back in May. Knowing I had a trip to Sydney to look forward to really helped me stay on track financially.
I can however appreciate, if you were not a traveller, you may think spending a lot of money on an overseas holiday is a huge waste of money.
For some people its fashion. They spend a lot of money on high priced clothes and shoes. I’ve seen people dress themselves in designer clothes yet come close to not being able to pay their mortgages. The interesting question is why? Does dressing well make them feel good? Improve their self esteem? Does it garner them attention?
For some people its gadgets. Big screen televisions (I could go on an overseas holiday for the price people are paying for some televisions) or the endless assortment of other hi tech gadgets. Do they simply love technology? I suspect this may be the case for many. Or do they want to show off being the first person with the latest gadget?
The motivations behind why we spend money are endless.
Spending can also be habitual. I know I have gone through stages of this type of spending behaviour. Buying magazines would be an example. I had a bit of an addiction going on there for a while. Habitual spending could also result in having to replace something when its broken, regardless of how often the object was actually used. Replacing a coffee maker that you only use twice a year does not seem practical (at least to me anyway!).
Somewhere along the way the meaning of a want and a need seems to have gotten fuzzy.
I want a new dishwasher to replace the one that broke ages ago. Do I need it? Honestly no. With the price of electricity and water both about to increase, I can wash my own dishes. With the money the dishwasher will cost to buy and run for a year, I could go spend a couple of weeks visiting my friend in Bali.
When I first started my leave, buying a dishwasher was at the top of my shopping list. Since re-examining my priorities and realising that I am quite comfortable living a more frugal life in some areas so that I can have a better LIFE in others, buying the dishwasher has dropped off my list completely. Granted, if I lived in a house with six other people that want may be a lot stronger.
Take a close look and do some soul searching as to why you have spent money?
Do you have some spending habits that you need to change? Perhaps there are ways you could refine your budget to give you more of what really makes you happy and less of what you think does. Be prepared – you may need to make some compromises.
It’s important to know your money priorities. It’s important to know how spending your money will make you feel satisfied and happy.
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Over the last 10 years I have spent to please or help others. Mostly members of my own family. Unfortunately that created a burden of debt which quickly began to strangle me. No available money means you cannot enjoy many of the basic pleasures others not so constrained are able to. Dining out, for example. About two years ago I decided to wrestle the debt instead of letting it strangle me any longer. Focussed on saving some from each pay, and attacking one debt harder than the others. It has been a long struggle, but now I’m starting to see the end of the tunnel (and astonishingly, it’s daylight!). Since becoming a money priority for me, I’m more aware of where and how I use my money. As you described in your article, the ‘I want’ is being challenged with ‘Do I need?’ Household repairs take a little more time and thought, but most are now done ‘in-house’ instead of calling a third-party. Most surprising is that I am more capable than I ever believed! Now that I’ve gained some self-confidence, it’s time to reach out for other goals that will make me happy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with others like myself, as we all can benefit from the experiences of others.
“Iron is polished on iron, and a man polishes his friend’s behaviour” – Proverbs 27:17, The Bible in Living English
Thank you for your detailed comment. I am so pleased to hear that you are getting on top of your money issues. Good on you!!! You have done a great job. You should really be proud of yourself. That is great that you got stuck into your own household repairs and in return gained a lot of self-confidence. That is really wonderful.
I think it is great that you are now reaching out for other goals. It sounds like with your determination and strength you will blitz it.
Again congratulations for having the courage to turn a difficult situation around.
Thanks for sharing your story, I really appreciate it and look forward to seeing you here again soon.