Managing your finances is an important skill to develop while you're young. Money does not create emotional fulfillment, but it does ensure survival at a very fundamental level, which is imperative. Yet, we seem to have a few extremely pervasive (and totally debilitating) beliefs when it comes to just what money can do for us. Namely: when we think that money can buy us happiness, it becomes second nature to want to spend everything we make. When we spend everything we make, we live as rats on a wheel, rather than people who can earn money, only use what we need, and save the rest. This is what makes for calmer days, longer vacations, and at the end of the day, better work: when you're stressed and feeling like your performance on any given day is standing between you and eating next month, you're going to become more paralyzed than motivated.
Breaking the habit of having to spend everything in your bank account is very hard. We're literally trained to believe that happiness is in a new pair of shoes or another vacation or a better looking home. All of those things are nice, but they are not what make for happiness. If that were the case, every celebrity would be fulfilled, and every millionaire would retire. Rather: you see the people who have everything working overtime to keep making more because they are still influenced by this idea. They thought their success would earn them happiness, and when it didn't, they thought: "Well, I guess I just have to work harder."
The benefits of learning to not spend everything you earn are endless and mostly obvious. Initially, it may seem strange to imagine money just floating in your account until you place it somewhere (savings, of course). And it may seem even stranger to have to find things to do that don't require monetary funding. Regardless, it's a crucial part of a well-lived life. Here's why.
Spending Everything You Earn Is Likely Why You're So Stressed At Work
It is almost impossible to feel completely relaxed at work or be able to shut the laptop and not worry if you assume that your job is the only thing that facilitates your ability to enjoy your life. When you're in the habit of spending everything you earn, you're always waiting for that next check, and so working becomes an imperative. Worse, when we think that it's the only way to buy ourselves into joy, we attach existential meaning to it and make it that much harder for ourselves.
Your Physical Needs Are Extremely Minimal
We do not need even a fraction of the things that we own or assume we do. While luxuries and creature comforts can be nice to have, they are not essential, and so much of our collective overspending is born of the confusion between "necessary" and "recreationally optional."
The Idea That You Should Have A Life That Represents Your Fiscal Position Is Imposed On You By Society And Fueled By Consumerism
The anxiety that accompanies the impulse to spend as much as you earn is the idea that you are only as successful as you appear to be, and this is because if you have it, you are supposed to spend it.
If You're Enamored By What Success Looks Like, Not What It Actually Consists Of, You'll Never Get Anywhere
When we claim we want to be successful, we're usually just chasing idea of being wealthy, respectable, beautiful, or "good people." Genuinely successful people are so focused on what they're doing, they don't think in those terms. Regardless though, when our idea of success is an image one projects, there will never be enough finances in the world.
The Compulsion To Spend Everything You Earn Is The Result Believing That Experiences (And Happiness) Are Something You Can Purchase
... Which is the sister idea to believing that you are only as rich as you look.
Happy People Don't Do The Most — They Do The Least, And Enjoy It The Most
Happy people are never the ones jet-setting, going on $5,000 shopping sprees, eating expensive meals and exchanging the majority of their lives to work to pay for it all. Happy people are the ones who take walks outside, read books, spend long dinners with family and loved ones, and enjoy those moments to the absolute fullest. Happy people don't wear luxury clothes, they wear their favorite pieces, they cook their favorite meals, they find joy in the only place it really exists: the simplicity of everyday life.
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