If there’s a sure shot way of messing up your life, it’s not recognizing which tasks are important to your goals. ‘Priority’ is the single fundamental trait that separates a successful person from a wannabe. But I think even with our priorities set straight, we focus on the wrong numbers. We fail to realize that money is a relative commodity. It’s relative to time, people and scenarios. We have a narrow view of money. Something is either expensive or not. Regardless of its impact on our lives. Isn’t it better to spend more on things that matter and what makes us happy even if it’s deemed “expensive”? Spend on the things that impact us? And cut out the rest?
Everyone wants to save up and spend less to reach their financial goals. We think that specific actions or cutting down on certain activities will help us achieve our goals. While forgetting its impact on performance or state of mind. What we are taught to do is not solve the problem. Instead, We believe that cutting down on anything that makes us guilty of the problem is the solution. It’s not our fault. We have been given shitty advice from childhood. If you want a new toy, save up and don’t spend on ice cream. I’m yet to hear a parent who says figure out a way to earn more so you can have the ice cream and the toy. Most parents teach their children to only think linearly. In their defense, its what they were taught as well.So we grow up with a notion of sacrificing to save up. Here’s where I think we get the numbers wrong. We shouldn’t cut out something that has an impact. Recognizing what’s not important and cutting it out completely is much better than spending a bit less and having a miserable experience on things that are important to us.
Want to save up?Cut down on your 4$ morning Coffee from Starbucks. This is common advice thrown at everyone. Cut down on the little things, cos it’ll add up. In my opinion, it’s shitty advice. Because the little things are what makes your day great. 4$ coffee is worth it if it puts you in a great mood and ready to work your ass off. Ok, you might save 1000$ over a period of a year, but what if it reduces your ability to perform. Is it really worth being miserable day in and day out? Or would you want to have a great start to your day? Instead of Focussing on eliminating the small number, 4$, I believe we should look at reducing a big number that can make room for 250 4$.
This small thinking is the fault of our adults. I remember the men in my family boasting about how much money they saved doing a physical job. Sweating from head to toe, I heard them time and again brag about having spent the whole weekend cleaning the garage, or the attic or mowing the lawn or some other mundane nonproductive activity. Gleaming and visibly proud of themselves for saving 20 bucks which they could have paid a neighbor’s kid to take care of it instead of wasting their time. The same 20 bucks they would spend the same weekend tipping the bartender in their country club.
Traveling is another area where fucked up priorities meets small thinking to ruin lives. I’m guilty of sometimes taking the cheapest option. Ridiculously long flights and layovers to save some money, knowing full well the journey will be absolutely miserable. Cutting corners on hotel rooms to save a few bucks. Or worse thinking it’s a good idea to just stay at the airport. In the end, the misery is not worth the few pennies which eventually I know I’ll end up spending on trivial things. If you think of all the useless stuff you have bought over the year, giving up one of those items and utilizing that amount to enhance your next trip can be the best thing you’ll ever do. I promise you you’ll never miss that stuff, but you’ll always remember that awesome, perfect vacation.
Prioritizing money over convenience is the stupidest way of making ourselves miserable.
I love this tweet sums up fucked up priorities perfectly.
“Louis Vuitton in Economy class. No matter how you look at it, your priorities are screwed up ” -@gselevator
Now, I have to decide on my gym membership. Due to a recent hike in prices, my awesome gym is no longer affordable. I’m afraid it’s time to move. Or is it? Is it worth the trouble of finding a new gym and all the changes it entails? Not to mention the differences in travel timings and routine. I think not. So I have to prioritize. Reducing another monthly outing and using that money instead to be able to go to the gym of my liking and getting my workout in which I value more than a few beers is totally worth it.
The next time if you find yourself wondering if you should buy the cheapest plane ticket or pay 100$ more and save 24Hr, think of what you can give up to make that happen. It’s ok to spend more on something if it makes that activity more enjoyable, more convenient, more memorable. I’m sure you can always think of a bunch of useless things to scratch off the shopping list to make room for things that are more important.
Stop spending less and start spending more. On things that matter.