As people who are embarking on the path to financial freedom, sometimes we may be too hard on ourselves when it comes to spending. Recently when I looked at my credit card statements and realised I’ve spent more than I should, I can’t help to think if I’ve lost track in my financial journey. But upon closer look at my financial situation, it really doesn’t hurt to spend a bit more. A few hundred dollars more spending doesn’t really hurt much, does it?
As a financial blog, I’ve been writing a lot on save save save. But perhaps, we could derive joy from spending and still achieve our financial goals. How can this be done?
The secret is in optimising our joy in spending. When we tell people who have trouble saving money to cut down on their expenses, it can be hard. People would say “Why you save so much just to bring it to your grave?”, “Isn’t it miserable not to spend?”, “If we save so much now then what if something happens and we can’t even use the money already?”.
Let Joy drive your spending
Let’s be honest, there are some things we derive joy from and some things which we don’t. Somehow, even if we don’t derive joy from, we still spend nevertheless. For example, you’re an introvert and you spend your money going to bars which you don’t really enjoy. However, you like going to the gym but because you spend most of your money going to bars, you don’t have much left for a gym membership.
Or if you love travelling with your family and friends but because you bought a new car which you don’t really need which results in you needing to pay a huge amount for the monthly instalment that you do not have much left for a vacation. In this case, it would be better to find cheaper alternatives for transportation and free up more cash for overseas trips.
Also, maybe we have signed up for various cable TV channels but we don’t even watch TV much? This money could be spent better elsewhere such as going for a nice meal with your loved ones.
The key is to optimise joy in spending by deriving joy from it. It sounds simple but you’ll be surprised many people spend money on things they don’t enjoy at all.
Optimising Joy In Spending
Many years ago, I heard a saying that if you can buy things without looking at the price tag, that’s the time you have reached financial independence. However, I’m sure most of us here still look at price tags before we purchase stuffs else we’ll be broke by now.
I try not to look so much at price tags now but at the quality of the product. Even if I see something as “expensive”, I will think about the quality of it and whether I do derive joy from this spending. For example, a holiday may be “expensive” if we travel on a non budget way. Taking Singapore airlines is more expensive than taking budget airlines but the quality and comfort is a vast difference. Going for a better hotel may cost us a lot more but the comfort of our family and the experience will make it worthwhile.
It has been proven that spending money on experiences brings us more longer lasting joy than buying stuffs. We may have bought some gadgets and forget about it 1 year later but the experience and joy of travelling with our loved ones can still be felt even many years later. Think about the last happy time in your life. It probably is some experience you had with your friends and family isn’t it? Now, think about the clothes or gadgets you bought last year, can you still feel the joy of buying it? Probably not.
Now, for your own life, are you able to optimise joy in your spending a bit more? Why not review the ones which doesn’t bring you much joy and channel the free up cash into things that bring you more joy? In this way, we could be even happier prioritising on the right stuffs.
Lastly, remember that spending money on experiences brings us more long lasting joy. It could be a good family meal, a meet up with friends or a vacation with our loved ones. We will certainly remember the experiences we had even many years later.
Let’s optimise our joy in spending!
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