“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” ~ Will Rogers
On October 1st, we introduced Pillar #10 of “The Year of the Best You” – Minimize Your Expenses. Today, we will recap how the month went in terms of managing our money. Our October worksheet allowed us to practice the LAWS of minimizing our expenses:
Live within your means – keep a budget
Awareness – face your cumulative expenses
Wants versus needs – pause before purchasing
Spend consciously – support locally
We have been trying to adopt these concepts in our household over time, but I was still surprised by the awareness exercise. I mentioned how startling the monthly cell phone plan can be and it is certainly is! We have 4 cell phones with data in our household, as I am sure many others do. We have started to look at true usage to see if we can modify the plans so that we aren’t over or under using.
It has been a useful awareness exercise for our kids too. Not to go on about cell phones, because quite honestly, I would be a bit lost without mine, but it is amazing to think that these devices have become a need, not a want. Growing up, I would never have imagined that our family would spend $3000.00 per year on cell phone plans (not including the phones) as we do today.
‘Time is Money’
This well known phrase refers to the idea that we must not waste time, and do things quickly, given time is a valuable resource. No question that time is our most valuable and limited resource, and what we need to be focusing on is more about the connection between money and time. How we spend our time is closely associated with how we spend our money. Our culture is of the mindset, either consciously or unconsciously, that we make money to spend money. But we have to really look at the time spent making money and question if it is really worth it?
As I mentioned in the introductory post on October 1st, I was going to order Pedram Shojai’s book The Art of Stopping Time and I did. He divides his book into 100 sections to represent 100 days in order to regain a healthy connection with time. On days 40 and 43, he talks about time and money and purchase decisions respectively, that he referred to in his podcast interview on The Ultimate Health Podcast.
Again, he encourages us to not trade time for money and to cultivate mindfulness around our purchases. Putting the two concepts together, what if we based our earning on more mindful spending? Couldn’t we then spend more time living life the way we want to?
Open Up the Conversation
I will mention Jean Chatzky’s Her Money podcast again. She is not only a very articulate speaker and interviewer on a variety of interesting topics, but she is also encouraging an open conversation around money and finances in an authentic way.
Let’s face it, most of us are hesitant to discuss money with other people outside of our home. The problem is that it is difficult to put things into perspective, especially when spending beyond our means is a societal norm. When we compare ourselves to others, the next thing you know, we are purchasing a new big ticket item or booking a vacation that may not be within our means. If it is on a credit card, it likely isn’t within our means. Harsh, but true for us all.
The other day I heard on the local news that the average house costs $700,000.00 in Victoria, British Columbia, very high, so you would assume the average household income reflects this. Unfortunately not – they quoted that that amount was 8 times the average household income!
In certain parts of Canada, and likely other countries, these extreme costs of living are only going to get worse, so for the sake of my kid’s generation, the more open we are, hopefully the more we don’t have to trade our money for time and still fall into debt.
Stay tuned next Sunday as we introduce Pillar #11 of the “Year of the Best You” – Augment Resilience
Shojai, P. (2017). The Art of Stopping Time. Rodale: USA.