How to Stop Money From Consuming You
In their song “Awake My Soul,” folk band Mumford and Sons sang the memorable lyrics, “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” That’s a powerful statement that reminds us about being cognizant of our priorities in life. Unfortunately, many of us find we have a love of money, without even realizing it.
That’s not always a bad thing. Although money can’t buy happiness, having money does tend to make it a lot easier to have a fulfilling lifestyle, which could, in turn, cause more contentment.
On the other hand, many people get so caught up in the desire to earn as much money as possible they spend their waking hours working as hard as possible, often to the point of burnout. Money isn’t everything, and you can put the tips below into practice if it seems money has too much importance in your life.
Understand How Much Money You Truly Need
From housing costs to groceries, there are dozens of things people buy every day that comprise the basic necessities of a stable life. Surprisingly, some individuals don’t know how much they truly spend on such expenses every day, week or month. You can become more knowledgeable about that in your own life by using a spending tracker. Many are free and are compatible with common gadgets, like iPhones.
If you’d prefer a low-tech way to track your spending, consider options such as:
- A notebook that includes pockets for receipts
- A journal
- A calculator with memory functions
- A notepad with one page devoted to each day you spend money
Once you’re aware of the total cost of your usual expenses, you may find you’re actually earning much more money than necessary. Although it’s smart to put money into savings, you don’t want to work so hard you’re too tired to fully enjoy the money you earn.
Focus on Things That Bring You Joy
Besides being aware of how much money you need to live, it’s also important to monitor your spending and make sure it’s maximally effective. For example, if you’re spending $20 per month on premium cable channels you never watch, you’re putting money toward something that doesn’t add joy to your life.
Consider canceling your subscription to those premium channels and using the cash for a dinner out with a close friend, instead. In that situation, you’re spending the same amount of money, but you’re using your financial resources toward something truly meaningful. This is just one way to fix uncontrolled spending — a common thing that makes people stress about money.
Have a Healthy Perspective About Money
Sometimes, money has such a hold on us that we’ll sacrifice other good things in life just because we want more cash so badly. Dave Allen, an Irish comedian, humorously illustrated that concept in a sketch where a person became fixated on money caught under a car’s tire. Even though it wasn’t an extraordinarily valuable monetary note, the man allowed the money to dominate his thoughts, especially when he went in a café to get tea.
While sipping his beverage, he kept obsessively glancing out the window at the car, intending to immediately dash outside to retrieve the money once the vehicle moved. As it turns out, almost everyone in the establishment had the same idea. The character in the sketch was obsessive about getting to the money, and he stopped caring about anything else while waiting for the car to move.
People frequently fall into the same thought pattern, especially when they believe money is the only thing that constitutes wealth. Work hard to change your perspective by realizing there are other types of wealth in life, and they don’t all involve earning a lot of money. Consider the following scenarios:
- Having a job that doesn’t offer a high salary, but allows you to make a positive impact in the world
- Maintaining a healthy balance between work and home life so you rarely feel too stressed
- Getting an opportunity to broaden your perspective through volunteerism
- Being in the company of people who truly care about you and do what they can to make you feel uplifted and supported
Those are several examples of ways you can be wealthy without having much money in your bank account. If you consistently feel consumed by cash, reshape your perspective and remember you’re probably wealthier than most people in numerous ways.
Get Educated About Personal Finance Matters
Some people have unrealistic perceptions of how money works in today’s society, and they feel their only option is to work as hard as they can until the end of their lives. If that sounds familiar, see if your community offers personal finance classes or counseling you could take advantage of and get more informed. While there, you’ll learn about setting up savings accounts, investing and doing other long-term things that help you reach your goal of a stable income.
Far too often, people merely conform to societal expectations because they don’t know any better. If you’re around people who typically work over 40 hours per week, you’ll see that behavior as normal. However, after learning about good financial practices, you’ll likely find there’s no need to run yourself ragged trying to earn a living, and you can actually cut back on work without making great sacrifices.
Remember, everyone has the same amount of hours in the day at their disposal. The difference is how each person spends them. Although it may seem tempting to spend most of yours motivated by money, it’s important to act based on the insight above and realize there are much more worthwhile ways to fill your days.