I think financial health is most certainly a learned behavior. My father taught me very early in life to value my money. I don’t mean value it over family and spirituality, but rather value it for what it does for you. Dad taught me that spending small amounts on seemingly small purchases adds up over time. For example, if you routinely purchase your morning Starbucks for $3 or $4, big deal right? That won’t break the bank but over time that’s $1,000 per year or $40,000 over 40 years. Every penny counts, every dollar adds up.
I have friends that shop because they feel that they deserve a treat. They work hard so they deserve a treat for the weekend. A trip to TJ Max as a reward and they end up buying stuff they don’t need because it fills a void. It isn’t a good deal if they don’t need it unless it happens to be free. I don’t mean to suggest that we never reward ourselves because that is something I will never say. One of my best purchases ever was after a bad breakup. I still love this ring and get so many compliments on it. The thing I don’t recommend is rewarding yourself for the little things that are just expected of all of us. If I don’t buy this Starbucks, perhaps I can put a bigger down payment on my house thus reducing my monthly mortgage. Every single decision we make has consequences…we trade one thing for another. It just depends on what you want the most. Do you want to make your Starbucks at home so you have a lower monthly mortgage amount or had you rather have the convenience of somebody else making your coffee? Nobody can really decide that but you.
People often feel overwhelmed if they owe lots of money. Every choice either reduces this debt or increases it. It is simple math. Some people think that they will never pay off their debt so they might as well treat themselves to the latte. This is flawed thinking that causes so many people to stay in debt. There has to be short term pain for the long term gain. That is really the bottom line. We cannot indulge over every desire and be debt free. Lest you think, easy for her to say, I have sacrificed my entire life. I have never gone without my basic needs nor have I ever said that I can’t afford designer purses and shores, I am a fan for sure. I may clip grocery coupons in order to buy my new shoes. It is a small sacrifice that I am most certainly willing to make. I constantly make sacrifices in order to further my financial well being. Every penny adds up and can help me reach my goals.
It is important to set financial goals just like health or career goals. I do not suffer for my cause because I can see how my sacrifice had helped me. Having money in the bank will not make you happy but it does give you a sense of peace. If you hate your job you can quit because you have a safety net . Money gives you the freedom to not fear the inevitable curve balls that life throws all of us. Save your pennies.