What is Money?

We all know that money is the currency in which we purchase goods and services.  But, beyond that, what is money, really?

Money represents your time, talents, energy…it is a direct representation of you, isn’t it?

Given that fact, it makes me a little more cautious, okay a lot more cautious, when giving it away.  Each of us only has a limited amount of time each day, each pay cycle, each year.

I think, too often, we have this view of endless, disposable money.  And, it’s true money does sift through the fingers of life faster than you can say the phrase, “Long term investment”.  We buy lattes.  It’s gone.  We spend $10 on lunch.  Gone.  We blow $50 at the movie theater.  Poof!  We tend to think that money will remain in steady supply; therefore, we run the risk of devaluing it rather than appreciating its true worth and directing it in areas that are most important to us.

We are a one income family, which means our spending habits must exercise great restraint, focus on long term financial goals and make purchases wisely.  We also live in a high cost of living area, which requires even greater creativity at times.

When I pause to consider that in order to buy an expensive handbag, I am essentially trading perhaps 2-3 hours of my dear husband’s hard work and energy, it puts things in greater perspective.  I used a handbag as an illustration, but you can fill it in with whatever spending temptation you may have.  I have this affinity for Dooney & Bourke handbags.  They are lovely and well made … and, do I need them?  No.  Are they pure eye candy and therefore frivolous?  Yes.

I recently had this inner “tug-of-war” with myself over purchasing these silly, little travel packing cubes.  I researched several varieties, rationalized spending $50 on two sets of these (because my husband & I would each need a set…color coordinated and all); but, in the end, better sense won out!  Yay for self restraint!  🙂  Could I buy these?  Yes.  Should I buy these?  No.

I decided I could sew some snazzy, lined garment bags with zippers to use inside our suitcase when we travel.  Creativity strikes again!  😉  That doesn’t mean I may not purchase the travel packing cubes ever.  It means that right now, it isn’t a priority for us and can be delayed.  Another cost saving mechanism…delaying a purchase.

When better financial sense prevails, I am so proud of my budget conscious self-control because we are then able to accomplish our financial goals in a more timely manner.  Time is a commodity in and of itself, one that is actually of greater value than money.  Why?  We can make more money.  However, no matter how hard we try, we cannot create more time.  Therefore, we must guard and place immense value on it as it’s factored into financial decisions.

Do you have a scenario where you were tempted to make a purchase, but held back and put it on “hold”?

At the end of the day, money represents your true self, your heart.  That’s why the Bible says:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  ~  Matthew 6:21

One glance at our budget and it is apparent where our hearts are.  Just as it is for you.  Our money is like a mirror.  It speaks of who we really are and what is important to us.

I love what Dave Ramsey says about establishing a budget:

“It’s telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

Some helpful questions when considering a future purchase may be:

  • Is this helping me to achieve my overall financial goals?
  • How many hours of my life/spouse’s life do I have to exchange for this?
  • Is it worth it?
  • Is there a cheaper alternative?
  • Can this wait?
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4 Comments

Filed under Finances, frugal living

4 responses to “What is Money?

  1. Great Post! I love how you consider the number of hours your husband would have to work to pay for a specific item. Big Dave Ramsey fan here!!! 🙂

  2. Very well put. Time is a precious commodity and a lot of the purchases we all make are frivolous and not worth the time it takes to earn them. Having and sticking to a budge it imperative if we want to keep spending under control. My wife and I use the Budget spreadsheet available here: http://lessonsinpersonalfinance.com/spreadsheets/. We also use Mint.com to track where our money is going. But there’s no finance tool available that will do more good than self-restraint.
    One thing my wife and I have found useful is a weekly allowance of a few dollars apiece. We can spend this money on whatever we want and save it for a quixotic purchase without feeling bad about tapping the budget.
    Thanks for sharing your great post!

    • Thanks so much, Johnathan! Excel is another great budget tool…the key is using what works well for you, isn’t it? An “allowance” is part of our budget also & helps to avoid feeling deprived. You might also enjoy reading my blog on “Frugal Ideas” where I list 60 ideas on saving money. Thanks for stopping by! God bless!

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