Money can buy you plenty of things – comfort, security, opportunity, experiences. There’s nothing wrong with appreciating what money can buy you, or enjoying life’s luxuries, big and small. But it’s also important to know that money has its limits.
The way you spend your money is very revealing. It shows where your priorities lie and what drives you. Ultimately, money can buy you a lot – but it can’t buy happiness.
Do you know someone who maxes out their credit cards whenever work gets stressful? Are you that person? It’s understandable, professionals in the business and medical industries lead insanely hectic lives, and the demand to succeed can be enough to drive anyone to some late-night online shopping. But a new sweater or pair of shoes is a temporary fix. After awhile, these things lose their “newness,” and you’re left with that stress-void again.
If you find yourself doing a lot of emotional spending here are some tips to remember before you buy:
Stuff can stress you out.
Shopping, for the sake of spending money, leads to stuff. And stuff leads to stress. Not only are you adding more clothes to your closet or clutter to your house, but you may be getting deeper and deeper in debt. Avoid impulse buying and try to stick to purchases you need.
Consider your goals.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” $30 here and there can chip away at your big goals, which are much more satisfying than smaller, insignificant purchases. Emotional spending can undermine what you really want to achieve, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping.
There will always be something else.
Do you know someone who always needs the newest laptop, iPhone model or car? Each new product has its own features they want to try out, so they’ll never be satisfied with what they have. Are these people happier than people with more outdated versions? Can they buy happiness with the newest features? Most likely not, but consistently looking for the latest and greatest means they will always be disappointed with something.
Work with your budget.
If you’re more spender than saver, you might have a love-hate relationship with budgets. You know you should follow one, you know it’ll help you save, but it doesn’t feel practical in the moment. But a budget can grant you the satisfaction of hitting money goals while still granting you the freedom of a little spending money, so don’t give up on it.
Stay in your own lane.
Comparison is a losing game, so buying things to keep up with others won’t make you happy. It’s the “Keeping Up with the Joneses” habit, and it doesn’t end well for anyone. You don’t need a certain car, house or wardrobe because someone else has it. It’ll probably land you in debt, and it will most likely leave you dissatisfied. Spend your money on what is right for you, your family and your money goals.
If you find yourself buying things to make yourself happy, take a look at what’s going on beneath the surface. Look honestly at your finances, determine your goals and take a breath before you buy on impulse.
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP®, believes you too should have access to financial resources and coaching. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.