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This is the number one money rule everyone should be following. Before you can get out of debt, save an emergency fund, or live on a budget, you need to follow this money rule first.
And that’s because money doesn’t work for you unless you have the right attitude towards it. You could earn $20,000 a year or $200,000 a year and feel exactly the same way about your financial situation.
You might be thinking, “If I made $200,000 a year I sure would feel a whole lot different about my money,” but it’s true! If you aren’t content with what you have now, you’ll never be content with what you have later. It’s easy to think that everything will be fine once you have more money. You’ll be able to get out of debt, have an emergency fund saved, and have enough leftover to buy whatever you want.
But I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t work like that. If you aren’t happy with what you have now, you won’t be later.
For example, that practical Honda you have a car loan on would turn into a car loan on something much less practical. You’d buy more things to entertain you, such as boats, all the latest electronics, and big, fancy homes.
And since debt is such a way of life, you’d probably be financing all those things. You could be making much more money and still living paycheck to paycheck, unable to truly enjoy all the toys you buy.
It seems like all I’ve been able to think about for the past few years is MONEY. Getting ahead with money, starting a budget, making extra money, saving money, the list goes on and on. And in all the tips and tricks that I have read and implemented in my own life, there is one that stands truer than the rest.
The number one rule when it comes to your money is being content.
This means staying in and having friends over for a game night on the weekend instead of going out for dinner and a movie. Think about how much these activities cost when compared to the other: dinner and a movie can easily cost $80-$100 vs. board games with friends $0-$25. The trick is implementing these changes in every area of your life.
At first the changes can feel a bit painful–bringing a sandwich and chips to work for lunch every day instead of eating out, five times a week, adds up huge over the course of a month, let alone a year.
But after a while, brown bagging it becomes the norm, and the extra money in your bank account feels so much better than the food you’ll forget about in a few hours. You start to feel content and look forward to taking your lunch to the park every day and reading a book instead of spending money going out.
You’ve heard the term “keeping up with the Jones’s” a million times. It really is difficult when all of your coworkers are driving brand new shiny cars and you’re stuck with the same car you’ve been driving since high school. But when you’re content with the decent, paid-for car that you have and realize it’s not costing you on average $500 a month to drive, you can be happy giving your money to much better things than the dealership.
I’ll admit, contentment does not always come easy. Sometimes, you have to practice it. But I believe contentment is so important that it dictates every other aspect of your money. It’s worth working on. Being content with your money may look like:
- Not getting yourself deeper into debt because you’re happy with the things you already own.
- Spending more quality time with the ones you love instead of more spendy activities to participate in.
- Taking a pay cut to find a job that fulfills you more.
Because in the end? Money is just a tool, and you can choose to use it wisely, or blow it without thought. The choice is up to you.
I would love to hear how you are finding contentment with your money in practical ways. Comment below so we can all be encouraged together!