Saturday, May 24, 2008

About Money. Part Three

How "healthy" is your attitude towards money? Let's say you inherit a huge sum of money tomorrow. What would you do? Go out on a wild spending spree? Buy a house? Travel around the world?

If inheriting money would change your life that much, then you have what I would call a problem with money. If you feel you would go out and immediately trade in your car for a more expensive one, or buy yourself a wildly expensive watch, then you need to think about your relationship with money.

But if you put the money in the bank and think about your life, what you need, what your plans are, then, carefully invest and save some and then spend some, I think that would be a good attitude towards money.

Spend your money wisely. Become a smart consumer. If you spend your money "wisely" you can buy more things and have more experiences. But more important, you will enjoy your purchases much more. If you are buying something big, do your research, do some comparative price shopping.

Buying things on sale is one of the best feelings there is. I have a friend who never buys anything at retail price. "Anyone can pay retail," she says. "The fun is in the chase -- in getting something for less."

There is no correct price for any object. Be aware that "regular" prices are false and "sale" prices are false too. The price is whatever the market will bear. A shirt might start out at $300 but you'll pick it up for $29 at a discount store because no one wanted it and it lost its supposed market value. And just be aware too, that just because something is marked down, doesn't mean it is a bargain. Don't think a discount store is necessarily a deal wither until you've done your homework. A sale at Saks Fifth Avenue migh tbe cheaper than what you pick up at a discount store. The world is a tricky place.

Never be in a hurry to spend your money. If you're not in a hurry to buy, you are always much better off. You can compare prices or wait for a sale. If you don't need the sheets immediately, wait until the January white sale. I often ask salespeople, "When will this go on sale?" You are not being silly or cheapl you are being smart.

One thing I've become quite good at is buying gifts for people when I see the right thing and holding onto it until the gift giving moment arrives. That is how the gift becomes the perfect thing. Christmas shopping during Christmas rush is not fun, nor is having to find a birthday prsent. That is when you are pressured and things sell at their full price.

How much is something worth to you? Get to know yourself. Everyone has a different level of how much they would spend on something. I personally could never spend a fortune on a car. I would feel terrible spending $40,000 on a car when I could have a nice one for $23,000. That's me. Another example: I am renovating a bathroom. The price range in toilets is tremendous. I can buy a toilet for $150 or I can buy one for $800. The technology is the same, they all serve the same purpose. The price difference is in the design. I bought the less expensive one and used the "leftover" money to purchase rustic tiles for the terrace floor.

Some people are happy with a Timex watch. Some want a $1200 Tag Heuer. Fashion magazines are filled with watches that cost $12,000 -- and someone is buying them. Spending $12,000 on a watch would make me tremendously unhappy. I have a $25 Tiffany crystal votive candleholder, not a $300 Baccarat one. Some of you may know that I love handbags...(ahem) but even I have a threshold when it comes to purchasing one, and as to how many I will allow in my closet at one time. I have a "one in, one out" rule with clothes, shoes and yes, handbags.

I have a friend who worked hard in her job and was careful with her money. She was not wealthy by any means. When her husband started earning a lot of money, her lifestyle changed tremendously as they moved into a different economic bracket. I asked her, "So, are you happy now?" She sighed and said, "You know, now that I can finally afford a $100 while blouse, I want the $300 one." This is but one tiny example of elusive and tricky money is.

Enjoy your posessions but don't let them posess you. Don't let them define you.

Value Experiences over Things. Is it a trip to Paris, or a more expensive car? Will it be an evening at the theatre or a new dress? You must decide what's important for you. But at a certain point in life, you will have basically evrything you need. At this moment, you understand that experiences enrich your life far more than more possessions. An experience makes your soul grow, a thing doesn't. Creating moments, experiences, memories are priceless. Swimming with my children and the dolphins is worth more than any object I could ever own.

Get your money life in order. It clears your head for the other, more important aspects of life on this earth. Determine your priorities. Work to get what you want. Always save some of whatever money you receive. There are no tricks, there is no magic. Common sense and respect of money can bring you great peace of mind, happiness and yes, even riches.

1 comment:

mayajuliana said...

This comment will be simple: well said, well said.