A number of years ago I was in the early stages of my education into personal finance.
I was in the middle of going through the curriculum to earn the Certified Financial Planner designation, and I was eager to learn more and more about a field that truly intrigued me.
I knew that in order for me to help others it was necessary for me to learn as much as possible, but I also knew that everything I was learning was changing my life, in a big way.
Then, one night, as I perused Facebook, I saw a video that fundamentally changed my view of money.
WHY SPENDING MONEY IS REALLY SPENDING MOMENTS OF YOUR LIFE
In the video, there was a man by the name of Jose Mujica who is discussing the true meaning of money and what it means to be purchasing things that don’t truly matter. Mr. Mujica is a Uruguayan politician and served as the 40th president of Uruguay from 2010 – 2015.
In his own words:
“It’s our lives we are squandering. When I buy something, or when you buy it, we’re not paying with money, we’re paying with the time from our lives we had to spend to earn that money. The difference is that you can’t buy life. Life just goes by. And it’s terrible to waste your life losing your freedom.”
This wasn’t the first time that I had heard someone speak of the need to be careful with how you spend money, but it was definitely the first time I had heard it articulated this way.
We regularly hear that it is much better to spend your money on the things that bring you joy, and that we should avoid materialistic things.
We’re also told that if we save up our money and invest, one day we’ll be able to grow our wealth to a point that we’ll no longer have to work.
But the idea that spending your money is the same as spending moments of your life was groundbreaking to me. And the idea that so many of us are spending those moments of our lives on things that are meaningless and don’t add anything positive to our lives is a saddening thought.
HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR SPENDING WITH THE RIGHT MINDSET
I’m not going to tell you that ever since I watched that video I have never spent a single dollar frivolously, or that I’ve cut out every single thing in my life that I don’t need. That’s just not a reasonable thing to expect.
What I can tell you is that this mindset has allowed me to feel a lot better about cutting certain things out of my life.
When I take time to look over my budget and evaluate where I’m allocating my money, it’s a lot easier to make the necessary changes when you are thinking about the bigger picture.
And that is exactly what I’d recommend you do.
Personal finance is tough. Not just because it can be hard to understand some of the complicated jargon and strategies that are out there, but because it is psychologically difficult for us to change our habits around our activities, especially our spending.
But one way to really get you to change is to contemplate Jose’s words whenever you are evaluating a purchase.
Because every time you are sitting in your cubicle thinking about all of the things you’d rather be doing, you’ll know you are the one to blame for forcing yourself to be stuck in that cubicle, just because you couldn’t stop the unnecessary spending.
After all, if you didn’t have a need to earn the money from your job, you wouldn’t need to be there, and you could be out doing whatever it is you are daydreaming about.
So, stop spending away moments of your life, and start living them!