You cannot turn on the television without hearing about another business that has failed, the state of unemployment, or any other of the awful information that indicates just how financially bad the world is. Suicide and depression are up. More and more people are losing their houses than ever before and the sad thing is, there seems to be no end in sight. Today’s average person cannot just go out and purchase a home, or buy all the groceries that they need to feed their family for two weeks without making some sort of sacrifice financially. And this from Peter to pay Paul lifestyle has a lot of people allowing money to control their life. There are numerous ways to look at this and depending upon whom you ask, your solution will be different. But like most things in life, finding balance is best. In this case, balance is keeping your debts manageable, having a good time, and living within your means as well. The easiest way to understand this from a happiness point of view is to take it in steps.
Step One: Keeping Debts Manageable
You want this, your kids want that. The truth is that YOU will always want things. Wanting things is an important part of desiring more. When you desire more, you normally get more. However, your desire for more should not overshadow your common sense and you have to be patient with your wants. If you have to wait for the new car, the new house or even the new pair of jeans – that is okay. The biggest mistake that people make is wanting so much, so fast and using their credit to fill the gaps. There is nothing wrong with debt. Financial analysts will tell you that. In fact, they prefer for people to finance things, even big things, rather than cash in on stocks or 401K’s. However, it is up to you to use common sense. Is it worth piling up debt for insubstantial things in your life or saving your debt for the things that really matter to you? One of the best ways to implement this is to begin making lists of your wants and then waiting 14 days before making any decisions about purchases. There is a good chance that after 2 weeks pass, you won’t want the same things. Just think of the money that you will save.
Step Two: Living Within Your Means
This is similar to keeping debts manageable, but not the same. One thing that people get into when they allow money to control their life is that they forget what their means are. Living within your means entails finding a comfortable lifestyle, making sure you buy first and foremost, the things you NEED in life and being very clear with yourself about what extras are important. It also means giving up completely on the notion that you should have the same things your neighbor does! The Jones’s don’t exist and even if they did – they wouldn’t understand what your means are. Instead, living within your means is about finding a solution to what you feel are money problems. And there ALWAYS is one. If you love to play gold, but cannot afford to play every weekend – then play once or twice a month instead. If you love to have your nails done every week, but it puts a strain on you – do it less or learn how to do it yourself. Even better, find ways to trade services with people you know.
If you have a family, living within your means is about saying no. Do you really need to have a Halloween party that will cost $500 for a bunch of middle school kids? Do your children really need to wear brand name Nike shoes for $95? The truth is you could invite just a few kids over for a get together and buy your kids Nike’s from a TJ Maxx sort of store (where they cost $35) instead, all the while living within your means. And then, money isn’t controlling your life because you are able to do what you want to do, within your means to do it.
Step Three: Having a Good Time
Far too many forget how amazing gratitude can be in their life. Look, you shouldn’t have to feel thankful for every crust of bread on your table. You also don’t have to preach to your kids about all the poor kids in Africa who don’t get to eat as much as your kids do. However, gratitude gives you the moment to truly feel blessed. To look around at what you DO HAVE in your life and restore your faith that things ARE IN FACT working out for you. How can you look around your home, drive your car – or experience anything in your life without feeling grateful. Many people are so busy feeling controlled by money, and the lack thereof, that they never enjoy what they have. If you really want to have a good time, you should live in the moment you are in. You should see the fruits of your labor paying off. You should imagine things going your way instead of constantly being pessimistic about money. If you can read this article, then you have a lot to be grateful for. Unfortunately, if you are caught up in letting money control your life, you will be blinded by lack and never get to enjoy your life or your abundance. It isn’t just about being optimistic, or trying to convince the laws of attraction to work for you. It is to live ad believe that your life, right now, although not perfect is one you should be enjoying and participating in.
Money is no doubt important. But it isn’t the most important thing in your life. The ugly truth is when you have it – you probably feel greater than ever. Then when you don’t, you feel the down side with a pain that stings your entire existence. However, balancing out the importance of it and making wise decisions along the way is the best way to break free from the jail that holds you prisoner for money. Accept the ebb and flow and learn to balance your money and your emotions about money, so that it remains a factor in your life – but not the only factor.