Money is useless if you don’t use it wisely. By using it adequately, it can help you to build a small cottage at the bottom of your garden. Money is just a tool to live a happy, fulfilled life.
So you have to see money as a tool. And that’s what it is because, in the end, it only serves to put two people in agreement to carry out an exchange. In fact, what is important is not the money but the perceived value of what you buy it. Why?
“Use the money to achieve things in life. Don’t let money use you.”
Almost everything they teach us about money focuses on spending it and saving it. Parents, teachers and even personal finance books talk about saving money to keep it, increase it and control it. Saving money involves looking for ways to generate more to create a bigger mattress. We are taught that this is the great goal.
In contrast, spending money is described as budgeting or making cuts. They even tell us that we should create habits so that spending is something painful, like shredding credit cards and carrying only cash. We should not feel good about spending money.
Since I have memory, this is how I defined those two concepts: saving is good, and spending is bad.
But at one point I made a subtle change in my way of thinking. What if we start to treat money as a tool? Tools should be used. They are not meant to be stored on a shelf and filled with dust. Instead of thinking regarding saving and spending money, I started thinking about using it.
Let’s say we have decided, for example, that it is time to travel with family. We save money, and the trip fits perfectly with our plans. When it comes time to use that money, there is no need to feel guilty. Instead, we are using a tool that helps us get something we value: time with our family.
This change of mind is subtle, but it does transform our feelings about saving and spending. We no longer need to think in terms like good and bad, positive or negative. We focus on the outcome of our actions.
Money is meant to be used, to be on the move. Circulate from us to other people and then back to us. Even when we save money, we are just storing it for later use. If we use money today, we are not wasting it or wasting it. We are using the best tool available to get results.
My experience suggests that this small change transforms our way of feeling and talking about spending. Of course, the change does not give us permission to throw away the budget or ignore our plans. However, it clearly delineates the negative emotions that have taught us to feel about spending money.
We do not feel bad when we use a hammer to nail a nail. We should not feel bad when we use the money to fulfill our plans and goals.