What is Money?
I’m sure everyone knows that money is the currency of a country. Whatever form, digital, physical or even gold and silver. Money seems to have this way with our society to where its glorified. But in school, you’re never really taught how you should spend and use your money to better your life. That to me is a tragedy. There are tons of different theories on how you should treat money. Because I am not a financial adviser and this is only my opinion on money. You should always do your own research, find what works best for you and consult a professional.
How you should treat money
Money should be treated as a tool. A way for you to invest in your future and make a stand for your financial longevity. This means no splurging. No unnecessary expenses, except for the occasional one that is. You can and you should treat yourself. But that does not mean you should treat yourself very often. You also need to pay your bills on time. Investing and saving money is smart, and you should absolutely do that. If you don’t put your bills first then you’re only hurting yourself. Pay your essentials, including food and then set aside a percentage of the total you have left. I try and set aside 15-20% of my paycheck, however, there are months where that is entirely unreasonable and I can’t afford to do that. With that being said you should follow this type of structure when you get your checks each month,
- Pay Essentials (Rent, Water, Electric, Groceries, etc)
- Set aside a percentage of the rest of your check for investing/savings
- Whatever is left can go to paying your subscriptions, shopping, takeout food/bar tab.
It’s hard to get to a point where you can accurately follow this structure. There are some months that your expenses can be more expensive, cutting into your other budgets and vice versa. Just be mindful of where your money is actually going.
How we actually treat money
These days more than ever Money is not used as a tool, but as an ego boost. It’s almost a right of passage to be able to drag about your income these days. Because of that, our society has terrible money habits. We spend when we should save and we save when we should invest. But since there is no real way for people to understand how money works and how investing works, since it’s not taught in school. There is no true introduction at a young age.
When you start off with bad money habits it only goes downhill from there. It becomes a habit to spend money, shopping is addicting. Scientists have done studies, every time you see something you like, say on amazon, your brain activates the Dopamine and releases other endorphins. Causing you to feel happy. This is why shopping is so addicting. Not only is shopping addicting, but it is also dangerous. You can rack up some serious credit card debt pretty easily. That’s why most Americans are in credit card debt. There are 189 million Americans in some form of credit card debt. That the majority of the country when you factor out the children that are too young for credit cards. Consumer debt is at $13.86 Trillion dollars that’s an insane amount of consumer debt!
How to change your habits
It’s okay if your one of the 189 million people in credit card debt. Let’s be real, I’m even in some credit card debt. But that’s because we are never taught about marketing strategies and how to not get caught up in the physiology of them. We were never taught how to say no to an impulse buy. But most important we were never taught about finances. That’s over governments fault. But it’s our problem to fix. So you can start by making a budget.
Budgets are extremely important and they can help keep you on track with your finances. Let start by using a free app on your phone that will give you weekly reports of your spending and help you create a modify a budget. An app like Mint, that will connect to your bank account, send you alerts and even help you create a budget to keep track of where your money is going. All on your phone. After that let’s get rid of those shopping apps.
Remove Amazon from your phone, and any department store apps you may have as well. They have these “flash” sales and sales and send you notifications, this is only a marketing ploy! Don’t fall for it! If you really need to buy something, say you need to order pet food. Then go to the actual website. Having the app is asking for trouble. Finally no window shopping! I know this seems so harmless – But window shopping tends to lead to impulse purchases or incurring unexpected expenses. AVOID THIS!
Money and finances is a hard thing to deal with. Let’s use this as an opportunity to start the journey to true financial freedom, Financial Independence and ultimately Financial growth.