What matters to you? What you have? Or what you want others to think you have?
This was a conversation I had to have with myself. You see, I am a goal oriented person. I set a goal and achieve it. Upon achieving it, I want to reward myself. One of my bad money habits was buying myself expensive presents with every milestone I reached, a designer bag, a nice watch (or two ), shoes (my kryptonite). While those things are nice to have, I now wonder what I could have done with the money I spent on those if I had it on me now. I’m also questioning, did I buy these for whatever intrinsic value I saw in them? Or did I buy these to show off to the world, let everyone know I have disposable income and I’m not afraid to use it? While its not completely one or the other, I think it was more from reasons that stemmed from the latter than the former. I wanted recognition and attention. The root cause of purchasing a name brand item rather than its non-name brand equivalent that works just as well, in my case at least, was to show off. Honesty is the best policy so I had to come to terms with the truth. This need for validation is approval seeking behavior coming from a weak place. I will only be content once I start finding internal validation. Only then, will I be able to extend the short bursts of discipline that have helped me achieve my goals thus far. Only then will I be able to reach the financial goals I set for myself.
What matters to me is being self sufficient, not worrying about what will happen to me if I lose my job, or if I have a large unexpected expense. What matters to me is peace of mind and the freedom to do what I please when I please. I’m not going to lie, I would not refuse social approval or accolades, but they can’t be factors that affect how I manage my money. They must be byproducts of the good decisions I make based on what actually matters to me.
I like rewarding myself. But from now on it will have to be small things, and mostly, things that don’t necessary have monetary value. Nowadays I often reward myself with an extra episode of my favorite show, 30 minutes more of sleep or more time hanging out with my friends after finishing work. I will be working towards achieving this goal I set for myself. Nothing makes money like good habits.