white desk with notepad that says "make it happen", pencil, and iphone

I've got some money inspiration for you! No matter what stage of finances you're in.

We can sit here all day talking about 401(k)s, which checking account yields the most interest with the least amount of hoops to jump through, and what your PSR (personal savings rate) is versus the national rate.

I love these subjects.

But you know what? It's not about any of this. It's not about money, it's not about wealth — who's got it and who doesn't. It's not about counting. If it was, I would just get a nice 9-5 job as one of those people who counts other people's money all day.

Money Inspiration #1: Money is a Tool, No More, No Less

My affinity towards money is strong. But that's only because I realized long ago that it ain't about the money. It's about what money can do for you, and what living in lack can take away.

I'm simply the person who tries to avoid the latter, and accelerate the former.

Money is not icky, dirty, or taboo. It's not where we should park our anger, frustration, or highest hopes.

Money is merely the vehicle, the tool. If rocks could get you where you wanted to go, then I'd be talking about rocks. If smiles could pave your way to a cushy retirement, then I'd tell you to do so until your ruddy cheeks rebel.

If you can detach yourself from all of your hangups about it, then you can attach yourself to all of its possibilities and realize that you, my dear, are in control here.

Money Inspiration #2: Deathbed Regrets Aren't Going to be About Money

I once was a bit sore about the huge costs on my husband Paul and I to fly home several Christmases ago. Because we didn't have the okay from his work supervisor until November, two roundtrip tickets to PA were going to be just shy of $900.

Wowza!

And as I often do with large costs, I sat on it. I threw it back and forth in my head. I ignored it for a day or two until the right answer (as well as the “why”) bubbled to the surface.

We needed to go.

The fact is, on my death bed, I will not lament the $900 I had to spend to get us to PA for Christmas. But you know what I might be regretful of? Not taking that 11-day trip to spend quality time with my family and friends. We would've missed out on: my grandmother's cooking (specifically her stuffing…like, woah). Learning to cook family dishes alongside her as well. Spending an afternoon in Philly's Italian Market with my little brother and husband, after having spent the morning with my friend and her lovely two daughters. Country drives showing Paul  sheep, snow, and Amish kids sledding down humongous hills–the kind I used to sled down when I was little. Christmas morning at my sister's family's house, where we get to watch our niece and nephew tear open their Santa packages before helping ourselves to her homemade breakfast.

This stuff just doesn't have a price.

Can you be careless with money? Absolutely not. If we were up to debt in our eyeballs and not sure where that month's bills (or January's) money was going to come from, then the right answer would have been to stay home.

But that wasn't our situation.

Money Inspiration #3: Money Should Never Take Center Stage

Here's one of the huge takeaways I've gotten from over a decade of studying money: Whenever money takes center stage, it wreaks havoc (no matter if it is center stage because of having too little of it, or from greed/too much of it).

So if you find money taking center stage in your own life's decisions and day-to-day, take a step back, and realign yourself. Because guess what? I'll be one of the only personal finance bloggers ever to say, it ain't about the money, honey. It's about so much more than that.

14 replies
  1. Money Beagle
    Money Beagle says:

    Very true. Money is just a thing like anything else. It doesn’t define you, and I think many people forget that. They think that wealth or things define them or make them a better person, when really it’s what’s inside you and what you create with those around you that define you as an individual.

    Reply
  2. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    Exactly! Money is just used to live the life that you want to live! That’s why one person can enjoy reading 20+ personal finance sites. It ain’t about the money – it’s about what you use it for!

    Reply
  3. Ginger
    Ginger says:

    You said it perfectly. I figured out in college that the reason I was less stressed in high school was the money was for fun, not bills. In college, I needed the job/money so I could live and go to school. Knowing that there was nothing I could do, if a customer or boss did something I was against or was illegal was and is a stressor. So, that is why my goal is to have my basic bills paid by a non-employer. If this is real estate, my blog, investment, it does not matter. I just don’t want to rely on one person. That is what keeps me going.

    Reply
    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      Very interesting that you brought up “if a customer or boss did something I was against or was illegal was and is a stressor.” In my first job out of college, I called my boss out on something that was a complete lie–something we were telling our customers and building our brand on (with specific regulations to be able to say so), that it turns out our factory was not doing at all. I found out after calling our factory to go through the details of the process so that I could communicate them to my new customer…and the factory owner (after I was quite surprised) told me that my boss knew what was going on.

      Yikes!

      In my case, one week later they laid me off. Hmmm….

      Reply
  4. Kenneth
    Kenneth says:

    This was a Mustachian problem. You did not optimize the expense. You could have investigated a roundtrip by Greyhound bus, likely much cheaper.. or driving your own $3,000 paid for car (so old that another 3,000 miles wouldn’t depreciate it much). Taking the bus or driving would not be beneath me to save Like $1200 – $1500, but perhaps you have a lot more money than I do..

    Reply
    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      Ah, yes, we could have–but then we would not have had enough days off at work to spend 11 days with family. The drive or bus ride there would not have been “beneath” us at all; what it would have done is make money center stage in our decision-making process once more because trying to save some would have absorbed half of our vacation time away from the very people we wanted to spend time with (our 11 days off would have been at least 5 days’ travel and only 6 days with family).

      I’m glad we did not choose one of those other options.

      Reply
  5. Mel
    Mel says:

    Woah, terrific post! I can honestly say some of my biggest financial regrets are over when I cheaped out over something or skipped an experience to save some money that I didn’t 100% need to. I’m really sad I missed out on making those memories and not that excited about getting out of debt a month earlier or being slightly ahead in my emergency savings account.

    Reply
    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      Thanks, Mel:). We all have money lessons to learn…hopefully your future is filled with non-regrettable money moments from here on out!

      Reply
  6. Lance
    Lance says:

    Give someone money and one person will save it and another will spend it. Give it to two other people and one person will act like a total a-hole and the other person will give it away to those in need. We ultimately decide what money will be to us. Money is always the same, we are the ones who act differently around it.

    Reply

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