Sometimes, in order to get the most out of your money, you have to keep your hands off of it. Luckily, saving money comes easily to me. Quite honestly, I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. While my brother bought the first thing that came to mind, I would save up all of my allowance money until I could afford something I really loved. As a result, he ended up with a whole lot more toys than I did, but I’m not sure he treasured his toys as much as I treasured mine.
In my adult life, my view of money has served me well. My primary house is over fifty years old and could use a significant amount of remodeling. From the moment I bought that place I’ve considered replacing the windows and remodeling the bathrooms.
My husband and I save money each month and every time we build up a significant reserve I consider pulling the plug and calling in contractors. Yet, year after year I fail to make the call and as the year closes we find ourselves with that same list of repairs.
The fact is that although these things are important to us, they aren’t the most important things. Our long term plans often outweigh the short term ones and in this case we eventually we used the money we saved to buy our beach home. At the end of the day, delaying immediate gratification enabled us to save for something much more valuable.
Time and time again I watch people make choices with their money that I don’t understand. They say they want to travel the world, but then they buy a brand new, luxury car. They say they want to own a vacation home, but then they buy the most expensive primary home they can afford.
If you spend all of your money on one thing than you won’t be able to afford the other. Unless you have infinite amounts of cash at your fingertips you have to make choices on what you want to buy.
You may think you’ve found your dream home, the perfect new car or some new flashy toy, but before you write a check or pull out your wallet think long and hard about not the only decision you’re making now, but also the future decisions that will be impacted by your actions.
Over and over again I find that I can make do with things that I don’t particularly love. I can accept that my windows might let the stink bugs in or that my bathrooms aren’t up-to-date. I can live with IKEA furniture that has been clawed by my cat. I can live without designer clothes and drive ten year old, used cars, because those choices allow me to save my money for bigger and better things.
It’s really quite simple. If you want to move to a bigger house, (and that’s important to you), then don’t buy a brand new car. If you want to travel the world then don’t buy a wardrobe full of designer clothes. To live the life you really want you have to learn to think long term. If you continue to think only in the moment it will take you forever to achieve your true life’s goals.