You might be surprised to hear this, but I did not win the $900 million jackpot on Saturday (now up to $1.3 BILLION btw – wow). I have, however,
won earned almost half a million over the course of my lifetime, and with it comes a number of perks similar to that of winning the lottery :)
Here’s a handful of them, for all those needing some extra motivation:
#1. You can order whatever you want off the menu!
Such a small thing, but one of the best. Being able to pick the stuff you actually want to eat based off your tummy and not the price – imagine that? You’re still conscious of the item’s value and whether it’s worth the trade off, but no more stressing about being able to afford an extra $2.00 for bacon or $6 for beer. You eat and drink just like all your spendy friends, only you can actually afford it ;)
#2. Unexpected bills become nuisances, not disasters
No matter what we do or how much we prepare, $hit continues to happen in our lives whether we like it or not. But the big difference in how it affects you is whether you’ve got the money to cover such things or you don’t. And when you have it, the occurrences become pesky little mosquitoes over Velociraptors when you’re broke and living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Example: The other day my wife took her car to get a $30 oil change and an hour later we ended up with a bill for $700. Not only were two of her tires shot (one literally had a hole in it slowly leaking air – oops) but her alignment was way off too and needed some pretty quick repairs so nothing major happened while out on the road. Then of course she still needed her oil changed!
Now a decade ago I would have been s-c-r-e-w-e-d and cursing the high heavens left and right, but the current me just sighed and slipped out a single expletive or so, and then went back on his merry way doing whatever he was doing before getting the news (probably eating the gummy bears his kids slip under his office door). It still sucked dropping $700 out of the blue, but it sucks a lot less when it doesn’t affect your quality of life or any of your main goals. It’s a beautiful place to be.
#3. You stop becoming desperate!
As with dating or trying to land your first real job, many of us have been desperate to get our hands on some cold hard cash through various times of our lives :) But as anyone can attest to, it’s much better to be in a position of wanting something than NEEDING it. Or as Chief Grady of Super Troopers so eloquently stated back in the day: desperation is a stinky cologne.
#4. You make decisions a lot faster (and smarter)
Similar to both the dining perks and unexpected mosquito bills, when you know exactly where you stand financially you’re able to call the shots quicker too. Which is very different than thinking/assuming you have XYZ in savings and can afford something (a new dress? iPad? Loss of side gig?) only to in fact be in the opposite corner.
When I first started this blog, I thought I was saving $200/mo based on what my head thought my income and expenses were. But when I literally started tracking it all for 3 straight months, I realized I was actually LOSING MONEY every single month – to the tune of almost $200/mo! That’s a $400 delta!
How the hell could I have been off by $400?? Well, I’ll tell you – because our brains suck at doing math in our heads, and sometimes only likes to remember the good things vs bad ones. (Like, *ahem* bills) So knowing *exactly* where your money is – or isn’t – at all times can help you make much more informed decisions over the course of your life. Which is exactly why I track my net worth every single month! So I know where everything is! (And since I literally copy and paste the #’s directly off my bank accounts, they’re all facts vs guestimations)
#5. You don’t have to do stuff you don’t want to just for the money
When you’re broke you pretty much have to do EVERYTHING to get by. But when you’ve got your finances on lock you get the privilege of being picky. You can still hustle your ass off or take on less-than-exciting jobs to hit your goals even faster, but in either case it’s an *option* that you’re choosing out of your own desires vs. straight up necessity. Which is an important difference.
This is why you may hear a friend turning down a $500 gig or choosing not to work overtime to get that time and a half. The extra money is always nice, but the power to say no is even nicer.
#6. You don’t have to track every penny anymore if you don’t want! (Gasp)
You’ll either love me or hate me for saying this (watch out budgeters – hot topic coming through!), but when your money’s flowing the way you want it to be, you just might not want to spend time tracking every last peso of it. You’ll probably lose some of it in the process and not be 100% efficient anymore, but the time and hassle it frees up may prove even better. Or not. It all becomes a personal decision at this point, but either way it’s a new option you’re granted now that you’re no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck. And of course there are some middle grounds here too.
(I personally go in phases where some months I look at every single thing that hits my account and try to optimize the crap out of it, and then others I just watch from afar and dive in when somethings looks off. And I’ll be the first to admit I leave money on the table when I’m not knee-deep in it 24/7!)
#7. And lastly, as they say in St. Lucia – No Pressure, No Problem!
While everyone knows having more money is better than having less, what those extra 0’s really get you in the end is greater peace and quiet. You’ll still have times when everything goes wrong and pushes you off track a bit, but by and large once you’re managing your money well you can concentrate on the other important areas of your life and even forget about money a bit. It’s a wonderful thing!
But, it all comes down to breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle first and getting your system in place. The nice thing though is you only have to figure it out once and off you go from there :) And you’re already on your way just by reading this blog!
So. Lottery winning or not, many a perks lie around the corner and it’s just a matter of time when you can start scooping them up. Oh, and one other fun one? Being able to point at almost anything for sale and telling yourself, “I can afford that.” Even though you’d never waste your money anymore ;)
It’s the small things in life, baby… Who’s with me?
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|