Archives for May 2017

Living by our heartfelt intentions

“I met a real looker. He picked me up at the two dollar slot machines, so you know he’s no cheapskate.”

Grandma Mazur

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovick

 

One of my husband’s and my most favorite call-in radio shows is Car Talk with The Tappet Brothers. The weekly show hosts two brothers who are wizards at automobile maintenance and repair. Each week they attempt to identify the malfunctions of the callers car and give advice on how to fix it.

The best part, for me, is how the brothers pepper their callers, and themselves, with jokes and humor as they give advice on how to fix the car. And if stumped, and not sure of the fix, they use their most famous line, “unencumbered by the thought process,” as they attempt to give an answer anyway.

On this particular day, as we listened to the show, the caller, a woman, wanted the brother’s advice on her husband’s hair brained scheme on how to fix her car. And, of course, as is their style, the humor and joking began — as one brother said, “Oh, you married a cheapskate, huh?!” They all laughed heartily as they agreed with the caller about her husbands repair idea — And, yes, on the cheap!

I, too, laughed at his witty comment —  their humor and playfulness with their guests, along with their ‘say it like it is’ frankness, is endlessly entertaining.

“But wait a minute,” I said out loud. “Don’t be giving cheapskates such a bad rap!” 

In fact, there are dozens of good solid reasons to be a cheapskate. Many people’s money lives would drastically improve if they, too, would just adopt the approach!

Yet, Cheapskate is a term that most of us find distasteful, and brings visions of a stingy, mean, and dishonest person. A tightwad to the extreme who pinches pennies until they squeak! Someone who holds their money so tightly that only death releases their grip.

Not a pretty vision and certainly not one that I would embrace nor suggest. It is definitely the opposite of an abundant, thriving way of life.

So, let’s look at what it really means to be a cheapskate and reveal its hidden benefits. 

To help motivate you to continue reading (and help shift your belief around being a cheapskate) … Here’s the major benefit — RELIEF!

So, here we go …

A good cheapskate would …

  • Cut costs
  • Decrease expenses
  • Live on less
  • Spend less
  • Embrace frugality
  • Do stuff cheaper
  • Ask for discounts
  • Find the best deals
  • Stop wasting money
  • Pass by the sales tables
  • Stop unnecessary shopping
  • Buy only what they need

In other words, what I call PURPOSEFUL SPENDING.

Now, before you squawk or complain, no one is suggesting you give up all your possessions, move into a 200sf tiny house and ride a bike to work. Although, for many, this would be an ideal answer.

Instead, let’s look at what “Purposeful Spending” really means?

It means, you get crystal clear on what you want and need in life and every time you spend, it is in full alignment with what you said you wanted and needed.

You live and spend by your clear, heartfelt intentions.

You cut away the fat, the excess, and the wasted spending and apply your money to only those things you really want — only that which supports the way of life you envisioned.

No deal or discount is worth it unless it agrees with the heartfelt intentions you set. Step away from that sale table if the thing you truly want is not on it!

That flashy car — is it on your heartfelt intention list? If not, let it speed by and land in someone else’s driveway!

A big trip to Figi — was that on your heartfelt list? If so, then enjoy.

You get where I’m going with this, don’t you? It’s all about what you said you wanted and needed.

Nothing else takes its place. Otherwise, you’ll find you are never satisfied and the wasteful spending continues as you try to fill that emptiness.

Did you notice — Every single thing on the list above means MORE MONEY in YOUR POCKET?! Not someone else’s. Plus, you are all that much closer to your own clear, heartfelt intentions.

That’s what purposeful spending is all about … that’s what being a true cheapskate means –> living and choosing on purpose NOT living by habitual, reactive impulses.

If someone calls you a cheapskate — wear that badge proudly! There’s nothing unseemly about being one!

Does more money make you happier?

“Richer countries do not necessarily have citizens

who are “happier,” but they do have citizens

who are more satisfied with their lives.”

-Psychology Today

 

Does money truly make you happy? Initial research does seem to support the idea that having more money does make us happier.

This study, although on a limited population, did conclude that “richer people were happier than poorer people.” Especially for those with incomes above the economic norm for their area.

I’m not sure I agree with the studies conclusion. I’ve never thought money makes people happy. Possibly it makes us feel more secure or even safe. And, most certainly, it does give us more options — but actually happy? Hmmmm….

Of course, if there isn’t enough to go around and it is a constant struggle to make ends meet, well then, that definitely makes me cranky and unhappy. It makes me feel downright hopeless and miserable.  I’m sure it invokes these feelings for you, as well, if you’ve experienced a lack of money.

In those circumstances, when more money flows in, the emotion that I usually feel is one of relief and the lessening of fear. My hopefulness quotient goes up, but not necessarily my happiness quotient.

Which raises the questions, does money, in and of itself, make you happy? Would having more of it raise your happiness quotient?

Fascinatingly enough, a subsequent study (done on a larger population) concluded almost the opposite of the previous one — that having more money does not necessarily mean you’ll be happier. In fact, it was satisfaction levels that improved.  Money itself, it stated, did not necessarily improve or provide happiness.

Now this I could agree with — It was about improving and raising satisfaction. Not necessarily happiness.

This difference reminds me of a couple I worked with a few years back. Their household income was sizable and supported them comfortably. In fact, their income was well above the norm for the area they lived. Their home was located in a city and community which fit them nicely. Their needs, desires, and wants appeared, from the outside, to be satisfied. Both they, and their children, were thriving and growing.

 So, why were they in my office talking of how unhappy and dissatisfied they were? What was it about their livelihood and lifestyle that did not make them happy?

From the outside, their lives looked abundant, wealthy, and rich. So, why weren’t they happy? Why weren’t they satisfied?

These two questions is where our work together began. It was important to their well-being to discover what was behind their deep sense of dissatisfaction. And, in turn, to determine what would truly make them feel otherwise.

So, we delved into how they defined happiness? And, how was it different from satisfaction?

I asked them how they would rate themselves on the variety of factors which make up happiness? Factors, which have little to do with money.

Factors such as, learning new things, having a strong social network, spending time with engaging friends and co-workers, bonding with their children, connecting with each other, and enjoying meaningful activities.

They agreed those things were, for the most part, present in their lives. It was not, with those, that they felt discontent.

That’s when we moved onto satisfaction and well being — the aspect which money touches more deeply. And, this is where their true differences and discontent showed up.

They each held differing beliefs, judgments, and opinions on how much money was enough, how many possessions and what kind were sufficient, where money should and should not be spent, and whether a large bank account was necessary or not.

And, neither of them had attained the level they felt was in agreement with what they had determined was satisfactory.

It was here that their work together was required. To reveal and weed out those things in their money life which truly did not bring more satisfaction. To also recognize where more money or possessions might make them more satisfied, but didn’t necessarily mean they’d be happier.

In fact, it might lower their happiness quotient as they pushed, struggled, and pressed to attain more and more. Especially if they were not on the same page on whether more was truly the answer for them.

They had to ask themselves, as do we, how much is enough? Do I require more to be happy and satisfied?

In truth, money and things seldom equates to happiness.

As I have found for myself, the feelings that flood in when I have more money, are not about happiness. Happiness, for me, is petting my dog, deepening my relationships with those I love, and doing activities that are enriching and in line with my values in life.

With those, I am truly happy. And, if money decides to make life easier or more satisfying — well, then, bring it on!