The other day my best friend/biz partner/work husband (as my wife calls him ;)) asked me if I thought he’d do a better job at his company if he were more of a consumer like the rest of the people in the world. It was an interesting question, and perfectly inline with the smarts this guy has, but I told him that even if he *wanted* to be more like everyone else he couldn’t. It’s just not in his DNA!
I think I’ve seen him buy something outside of survival needs a total of two times in the three years I’ve known him. And either time it was a splurge under $10.00 :) Granted, he was also working himself out of a dark area in life trying to get off of food stamps (spoiler alert: he did!), but he’s never one to buy things just for the sake of it anyways. We like to joke that he’s an accidental minimalist.
Anywho, I told him he’s perfectly fine the way he is, and to concentrate on the stuff he’s brilliant at over the stuff he can’t control. It’s like trying to change your favorite color from blue to yellow – you don’t know why you like blue so much, but you just do! And that’s normal. Unlike what I told him afterwards in that I collect tons of books in my blogger library just because it makes me feel warm and cozy inside, haha… I have no plans of reading 99% of them, but every time I sit at my computer to blog to you fine people I feel more and more distinguished. Perhaps I hope for a little osmosis to take effect? :)
This all relates to managing and making decisions with your money too. It’s why there are tons of experts telling you a billion and one ways how to save more money or pay off your debt, etc. Think about how many people and tastes there are in this world! You’ll never find one solution that works for everyone, so we NEED all those different ideas out there so we can hold onto the ones that make the most sense to US (same with careers and homes too – we all have our own preferences!). It doesn’t mean you can’t tweak or change your mind later as circumstances and lifestyles change, but it’s important to keep your *own* feelings/tastes in mind when you’re choosing new routes to go down.
Remember when I talked about feeling that all money is not the same? It’s like that. The gurus tell me that I’m incorrect and that all money IS the same – factually speaking – but I could care less about those types of truths as it’s not how I look at things. I have my own truths like “feeling more comfortable” and “wanting to be excited when I get unexpected money”, etc. The more I conform and try and be/do what the experts say is right, the more chances I’ll burn out and quit if I don’t see eye-to-eye with them. It’s not a pretty way to live.
So today’s point? Accept how you operate in life and always keep your preferences/tastes in mind whenever making financial decisions. Or even life decisions for that matter (friends hate your new hair cut or beloved dog? Who cares! You’re the one getting joy out of ’em!). The only one who’s got your back 24/7 and has to live with yourself is YOU. Do what feels right and reach your goals faster!
Am I right? Wrong? Want to battle? ;)
PS: That picture up there is one of my shelves next to my desk… Picked up that “how to get strong” classic for $2 at a flea market! Haven’t read it, of course, but it sure looks cool!
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I definitely think you’re right, but only to a point. If you’re normal attitude is charge up those credit cards and don’t pay them off then you’ll have troubles forever. IF you’re doing decent then you can adopt some of your own methods, but if you’re struggling something needs to change whether it makes you comfortable or not.
True true… always exceptions to the rule.
I agree with Lance. Along with doing a money makeover, we really need to check our “preferences” and “tastes”. Those things are products of our environment. You have disposable income to buy yourself a blogger library. For the folks who are struggling or barely getting by but must have a library, well, they need to suck it up and realize their tastes and preferences are bringing them down.
I mean preferences and tastes more about the *method* you use to get your finances in order, not necessarily what you’re buying. For example how I’m paying down my 2nd mortgage at 2.5% or whatever vs my 1st mortgage at 5.5% cuz it’s smaller and keeps me motivated more. The experts say I’m an idiot for doing it, but I say better to do what gets you to take action than not.
I agree! We are all different and should not operate the same way the guy down the street does! Doing that usually gets us in to more trouble than anything! The only two things I say that everyone must do is live on less than they make and have an emergency fund. Not doing those will make you go broke, but you can do them in your own way. For example there are different ways to budget, different amounts to have in an emergency fund and different places to keep your funds. Live by the basics and then make the rest your perfect version of you!
YAY!!! Perfect versions of us – I like that :)
I could not agree more J! You’ve got to live life for yourself and your family, assuming you have one. As my Dad always says, if someone does not like what you look like or what you like then they can just turn their head. I know it might not be the most popular, but you have to be happy and if you spend your time trying to make others happy it’ll never happen.
You know it… And having a dad in the military while rocking my neon blue hair, I can tell you it’s def. not doable to live a happy life while caring what people think at the same time! Haha… and if he could put up with my shenanigans, I knew I didn’t have to worry about the others ;) Gotta live your own life the best way you can!
I died a little on the inside thinking of all of those books that will never be read.
I don’t know if it’s true that “Do what feels right and reach your goals faster!”
Do what feels right, and you’ll feel happy and take it easy. Reaching your goals fast almost always takes work, sacrifice, and elbow grease!
Most def., but doesn’t work, sacrifice and elbow grease “feel right?” If not, why even do it then? Haha…
Yeap, do what you’re best at. If you are good at making money, then concentrate on that. I’m good at being frugal (cheap) and that’s the way I’m going. Making more money is nice though.
The readers have a good point though. If you’re good at spending money, then you’ll need to get better at something else. :D
I gambled (for the first time in my life ha!) on myself. I cleaned out my savings, went on a no-spending challenge, and paid every penny (even change I found in my purses) to debt with a goal of April 2013. I whipped that goals ass and paid off debt last night! Just a fun spoiler alert. ;)
Sometimes you have to follow a that feeling inside that says this is right (or wrong) and do it differently. I never ever gamble, especially not on myself, but this time it felt right and I won. Now to only figure out what to do after I save back up for my emergency fund and school…. hmmmm
WOOHOO! CONGRATS!!! That’s killer yo!
I say you are right! Couple of days ago a former student of mine put a very sould touching post on FB about contemporary academia and how even there one ought to follow the elite. My response to that? ‘It is easier, of course, to follow the elite (or in many cases the crowd) but it is so much more fun not to do it.’ Going your way can take longer to get places but it is so much worth it when you arrive.
Budgeting and being out of debt are important for sure.. But so is feeding your soul. An occasional $2 flea market purchase of a book that makes you feel that good isn’t exactly a splurge. Your books are beautiful!
I like the part about having our own truths, life is so unique and crazy like that. We all have our own truths, which is what makes life a melting pot of many flavors.
I will say, like others, you have to check in with yourself to see if what your doing is really your “truth” or just rehashing of unresolved childhood issues. I personally was once really cheap, and rarely bought myself anything. It sounds great, but the truth was I did it because I felt I didn’t deserve things, false beliefs, etc.
If you have good self awareness this shouldn’t be a problem. If you feel peaceful doing what your doing, most likely your on the right path.
Good article J.
Great response, M :)
I have to agree that the spending has to be in line with your values. Otherwise there is no motivation to maximize each dollar if each dollar is spent on frivolous things that truly bring no joy. For example: $12 on dinner with friends, probably a good buy, $12 on lunch to be eaten by yourself at your desk…not so much. But the key is that money gives you options and freedom once you are living within your means. That is often overlooked I feel.
Maybe all of those nice tomes in your library help set the ambiance so that you can write your posts! If that’s the case, it’s definitely not a splurge, it’s an investment in your blog! (I can justify almost anything).
In that case I get to write them off too! Woo!
Doing what feels right works some of the time (as Lance pointed out in the first comment). But… doing what feels right can also be the biggest pitfall of all.
Think back to 2006, when money was coming out the banks’ ears and they were on all of us to buy a house. Easy credit, they said, just apply. Buying a house back then sure felt good. Especially to those who did it for flipping.
But… every bubble is followed by a crash. Suddenly, those feelings changed. It’s not a nice feeling to know your mortgage is under water. But when that happened, it was too late to do anything about it. That’s the problem sometimes: feelings change, and when they do you can’t always make the change you want.
So, the key to success is sometimes to go AGAINST your feelings, because your feelings can trip you up. Warren Buffett is the master at this. You’ve heard the saying: get greedy when other are fearful.
Just a thought…
True true, due diligence always serves you well. I’m the perfect example of our house situation (bought at peak and then lost value for next 5 years) cuz money was easy to get. I’d take it back if it hadn’t changed my life with starting this blog :)
Oh, by the way, forgot to add: I’m with you on the books! :)
Agreed! Good post, with a title that I think most will agree with!
I agree with you J. People who embrace their strengths and don’t spend time worrying about what they can’t control tend to be more successful….and happier. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Great post! :) I like spending money on food :)
Food is good!!
Books make me feel warm and cozy too! I still go the library and borrow books. I think I may one of the few people still out there who refuse to get an e-reader regardless of how convenient and sleek looking they are. I like the feel and smell of a book. I like the way they look on a book shelf. I even had a shirt of a picture of a girl with glasses that said “Reading IS Sexy”. Well, it is!
Hey! There used to be a site called Reading Is Sexy too – love that :) And also that you avoid e-readers, I’m the same way. If I’m going to read something when I’m not at the computer I don’t want it to be another computer. Which sucks cuz magazines and books are slowly declining :(
I want my book in my hand, feeling the weight of it. I want to read the words, flip the pages, re-read a passage, admire the cover (by the way-YES! I love the collection in your photo), even smell a brand new book. I really hope you do read when you have the time, or feel the need.
This is one of the best blogs you’ve ever written J! Celebrate my own strengths and weave those into my life. Finding out that what I thought was a strength really isn’t, and working that into my life too. I really really like your message today. Thank you.
Aww, well good!!! So nice to hear – I know it wasn’t everyone’s favorite but if it connected w/ a few it makes me happy :) I enjoyed writing it up.
I love the photo of your shelf. Lovely.Thanks for reminding people that they have to do what feels right for their personal situation. Really enjoyed this post.
I took at peek at your shelf, it’s very nice. A little envious that you got a nice place for your books. I should definitely make room for mine. Anywho, Just the other day, my sister criticized a shoe that I bought saying it’s ugly. I was offended of course but I really liked it. I wouldn’t buy it if I don’t like it, right? I spend my time saving money just to buy it and you know what, I think it was worth it.
Yup! You gotta go with what makes YOU happy over the others, it’s your life :) It also makes us all unique.
What coins are next to the mini pistols? I want those instead!
Haha… good eye ;) They’re a few older pennies, a half dollar w/ a whole in the ear (so weird?), and then a handful of quarters from 1983. I read somewhere that they go for a hefty premium over other dates for some reason (up to $10+ each depending on quality!) so to separate them out from your change/collection and then sell in batches on eBay :) I’m not sure I want to spend the time doing all that, but I’m at least putting them aside for now in case I change my mind… Just don’t get why they’re worth so much more?? It’s not like they’re rare.
Up to the point where “what feels right” is actually a means of mooching off others for your entire life – yes. But I always did like to experience extremes in my life. ;)
Lol I had to comment when I saw something about a haircut. I haven’t cut my hair in 6 months. I’m growing it very long. This is polarizing because I’ve never had long hair in my life.
The way I see it is simple. Hate it or love it, they have to learn to live with it. My hair is gonna get long!
Wow, I wonder how that’ll look on you! Send me a pic sometime? I always dreamed of growing it out as a kid (I wanted that surfer type hair!) but my mom never let me… Then as I got older I couldn’t get past the mid-way point and just gave up, haha… so I’ll have to do w/ the ‘hawk :)
Good post. I think we should be able to find a balance to see what works with our tastes and preferences. I think sometimes the habits/behaviors that gets us in trouble needs to change in order to see a positive impact. Sometimes what feels right is not necessarily the wisest choice.
I don’t read books that much lately but would enjoy reading a nice decent book.
I read long out of print books on Google books. Currently, I’m reading Dante’s Inferno but it’s on a screen. The rest goes to savings and paying down debt :)
I should mention, I read books that are considered public domain on Google books and thus they are free to read.
that’s a nice way to do it :) might be a while until 50 Shades of Grey comes on there though, haha…