I read an article a while ago where Whitney Cummings was talking about money and how she was terrible with it. When one of her parents got sick, she realized that she needed to change her ways. She ended up writing an article on Money about it, here’s a few of the juicy part (in italics):
It finally clicked for me that money is freedom.
Until that point, I didn’t know the way I managed my net worth was a reflection of my self-worth. What I spent my money on was either a positive or negative contribution to my future safety, sanity, and ability to feel free.
To change the way I thought about money, I started substituting the word “money” with the word “freedom”. This helped make previously difficult financial decisions way easier — and made the ones that used to be easy way harder. For example, if I was wondering about putting money into my 401(k), which I’m always hesitant to do because I want to see the money in my account now, I’d ask myself “Should I put some freedom into my 401(k) so I have some freedom when I get older?” All of a sudden, it was a no-brainer.
Or if I couldn’t decide if I wanted to buy something or not, I’d ask “Are these new jeans worth two hundred units of my current freedom?”
I thought this was such an interesting way to look at it and started doing it myself a little and it totally works.
My husband and I are already pretty thrifty. He is just naturally that way, also he just doesn’t care about stuff in general. I am not exactly naturally that way but I can be when I need to. Luckily a lot of the perks of my job take care of a lot of the ways I want to spend money. But otherwise I think we’ve just decided where spending is important and where it isn’t. Also it’s OK to disagree and have the things that are important to you but maybe not to your partner. Money is super personal.
Here are a few ways we don’t go overboard:
We haven’t had cable in so long, I honestly don’t remember the last time we had it. We just don’t really watch much TV. Mostly we just things on the Internet and some Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I work and read a lot instead.
We only have one car, and have ever since we moved to DC. While that can sometimes be inconvenient when we both want to do something different on the weekends or in the evenings, we just compromise. Two cars for us would be excessive since my husband takes the Metro to work every day.
We almost always eat at home. Most meals most of the time we fix at home. It’s healthier in general and is just something we’ve done for so long it’s just natural to us. That way when we do want to go out, we just do with no guilt. Also, we aren’t super fancy. I mean fancy can be fun, but I also just like good, chill food. I mean, give me a pizza and I’m happy.
We make coffee at home every day. Now, we buy really good coffee that is not cheap, but it’s still way cheaper than both of us getting coffee out every day.
In general we just try to be smart and live within our means, while still living our lives and having fun. My husband is way better at this than I am (except that he should do more for himself), but all I have to do is put things into perspective for one second and realize that I only really NEED the basic necessities in life. And while I want those things to be good, healthy, happy, and make me feel good about myself — life isn’t perfect, not everything always has to be perfect or the best. It’s shocking what you can live without. We live in such excess anyway, if you think about other people around the world, it makes it easy to make decisions about what you really need.
Are there any tactics you use when thinking about or dealing with money that have helped you?