Money. Some may say it’s what makes the world go ‘round – others say it is what has destroyed their lives. Everyone dreams about financial freedom; a beautiful home, a fancy car – others have more simple dreams or just crave the essentials.
According to CNBC, the average American is about $38,000 in debt. Is it because we can’t manage our money efficiently? Is this an effect of not getting paid fairly in our jobs? Most may point the finger at their employers and blame the fact that they are not paying them enough, rather than looking at the bigger issue – people suck with money management, including me. We wonder why, but the picture is never painted properly, or rather, no one likes to be honest about it or face the facts.
We Are Easily Influenced
Everywhere we look, we see new innovations, new technologies emerging from the Silicon Valley tech scene, billboards showcasing what you should be eating for dinner, the list goes on and on. But why do we fall for this, time after time? We like to think that we are in control of our emotions, thoughts, and actions, but social psychology states otherwise. We are easily influenced, and we live in a world where at every street corner, every scroll on an Instagram feed or right-swipe on Snapchat – we are hit with advertisements. The ads are telling us what we should be purchasing, where we should be going, and what we are missing out on. As the saying goes – monkey see, monkey do.
I procrastinated a lot in school. Even in my creative jobs or creative outlets – I procrastinate. It’s what I do, what can I say. And it comes to no surprise that we procrastinate when it comes to money and budgeting.
“I’ll start budgeting next month”.
“I’ll create a rainy day fund after paying off my credit cards.”
I’ve said these things so many times before, and I’m sure most other people have as well. We don’t see budgeting or saving money as a priority in our every day lives but yet we complain about how we don’t have money or we ask ourselves “where did all my money go?” If we were to budget or set aside a specific amount of money every month, we would be able to save and eventually hit the financial freedom and peace of mind that we crave. We say we want these things, but we never actually go through the motions to make them happen. Honestly, it isn’t difficult, especially considering that there is a slew of apps out there that help you create a budget and save without even thinking twice about it. But really, people have been budgeting and have had savings set aside without money apps historically, so there really is no excuse to not go through with this. We just need to stop procrastinating and make this a priority in our busy lives.
We Pin the Blame on Our Employer and Our Pay
“If I got paid more, I wouldn’t be in debt.”
“If I had more money, I’d have a savings account.”
Again, things we can all admit to saying or even thinking about once or twice in our lifetimes. We spend so much time trying to blame others that we end up losing ourselves in the facts. We do procrastinate, we are easily influenced, and we do not like taking responsibility for these kinds of things. It just isn’t something we realize in the moment but it is very important to have a budget. We like to think that we struggle with money or have these bad spending habits because we don’t make enough money. But think of it this way – if we can’t even manage and effectively spend the money we do have right now, how can we trust ourselves with more money?
We All Want More Money
I’m not sure who said it, but the saying “more money, more problems” is 100% true. Imagine being rich – everyone wants to be with you, everyone wants to get to know you, heck everyone wants to be you – but wouldn’t that start to raise the question “do they want to be with me because of me or because of my money?” There is a distinct difference between relationships that form organically and over things you bond over with, versus relationships that are purely benefit based, such as having a rich friend, the friend who always buys lunch, the friend who has a nice car, etc. Again, we live in a flashy world. We want to be the best, see the best and we want to live the best. But money isn’t the answer. We need to stop wanting more and become more appreciative of what we currently have and figure out how to maximize it.
Things Cost More Than They Did Yesterday
This goes hand in hand with wanting more money. But did you know that if we all made more money, prices all across the board will rise up as well? This is called inflation. Everyone is wanting to make more money. Remember the fight for $15 movement? Yeah it’s still going on, and although raising minimum wage to a “liveable wage” sounds great, but we have to remember that the price of everyday living and the cost of homes will go up as well. So yeah, the paychecks will be bigger, but our investments will skyrocket as well.
I’ve met a ton of people who make less than I do that have nicer things. They drive nicer cars, heck they even have a savings account. Why? Because they have a budget. They make the most out of what they have and do not procrastinate, do not give in as easily to advertisements plastered all over the place, and make sure that they not only set a budget but stick with it.