I started writing this post over three weeks ago, and right smack in the middle of it I got the call that we were gonna have the baby the next day. I had to stop writing it, of course, against my hustling nature (though I did sneak on to share the 2-week early surprise! ;)), but interestingly enough I’ve thought about this article almost every day since.
You might not find the idea as mind blowing as I did, but I really wanted to share it with you on the off chance you do. And hopefully it creeps into your mind and sets up camp for a while too! There could be worse things stuck in there, haha….
It all came from this paragraph I read over at MilesDividendMD.com:
My fundamental belief about spending is not that we should all spend as little as possible. It’s that we should spend the exact amount to maximize our own happiness. No more and no less. So if a purchase is not worth the freedom that it will cost, that’s when I’m apt to choose to say “no.”
BAM! The “exact amount” to maximize our own happiness. Love that.Imagine if every dollar that leaves your wallet goes towards some form of happiness?? And *efficiently*?
Well, it could. And I bet you’re already doing this to some degree without even realizing it. In fact, I started thinking about past experiences/purchases of my own throughout time and it started to sink in even more. For example….
I. My Car
A cherry red Cadillac DeVille over 20 years old. Some see it as a luxury car (those double my age), while others see it as straight up ghetto (people my age ;)) but it’s the perfect concoction of what I desire out of a car. Something that gets me from A to B, but just as important something that makes me feel GOOD driving around in. And guess what? A Benz or Rover could do the same thing too! Which is exactly why people splurge so much on them, and why I don’t have a real problem when they do so as long as it fits within their priorities and financial game plan. Fortunately for me, however, I gain just as much joy pimpin’ around in my Caddy that cost me a whopping $3,000 as I would a ride at $60,000 :)
That’s what “maximizing your money* is about. Spending just the right amount to reach your joy level without going overboard and having the ratio flip flop on you (ie, like if I had picked up a new Rover instead of the Caddy). Two things can being you the same amount of happiness, but you go with the one best for your wallet :)
There are a LOT of different ways to spend your money to entertain yourself every day/weekend, but a lot of things can cost you INCREDIBLY less for the same amount – if not more – of happiness. Like hanging out with friends or going for walks, or even road tripping! A cruise or a night out at the club drinking yourself to oblivion can also be loads of fun (believe me, I know!), but the trade off with money just gets much much crazier in that regard. But of course it’s not bad to splurge every now and then either – you just need to keep it all in mind and realize “fun” comes in many (cheaper) varieties too. It’s all about the perfect concoction of money and happiness!
III. My Hair
As many of you know, I rock a mohawk. It requires exactly one pair of scissors, a set of shaving clippers, one bottle of hairspray (not to be used all at once!) and a beautiful wife who cuts it for me each and every month for free :) Now could it be even sexier if I took myself to a professional who could really jazz it up some more? Or, God forbid, give me a cool adult hair cut? Possibly. But again, why spend more money for not that much more return? Especially when you’re perfectly happy with the way your darling significant other works it? (Thanks honey! Except for that one time you clipped one of my spikes right before our wedding, but I’ve totally forgotten about that, don’t worry…. ;))
IV. My Clothes
Jeans, t-shirts, hoodies. The perfect combo :) I have to have suits and other things in the wardrobe for the special occasions, but all my money that goes into clothes (which is almost zilch at this point and they’re falling apart!) is on those three staples there. Because over time I’ve whittle it down to the bare necessities to keep me un-naked and smiling. I could be even happier with $500 jeans and $100 tees instead of $30 and $10 ones, but not significantly more so I stick to the TJ Maxxes and “max”imize my savings (you see what I did there? Or wait… was that their marketing strategy the whole time and I’m just now catching on?? Haha….)
V. My House
Now 7 years ago I was doing the OPPOSITE of finding the perfect mixture of happiness and money by splurging on a $360,000 house which I shouldn’t have done, but nowadays I’ve got my mind on straight and when it came to move we chose as close to the perfect house as we could. An historic-y single family home within the city, but not too far in, with just the exact # of bedrooms we needed. Nothing more, nothing less. We could have gotten a place smack dab in the middle of downtown which would have been a dream as far as I’m concerned, but again the $$$ didn’t justify the jump in happiness. How much more joy would I get out of living blocks closer to coffee shops for the drastic bump in pay? Not enough for us to sign on the dotted line, I’ll tell you that.
VI. My Wife
Now I could have scored a supermodel with millions and millions of dollars, but…. YEAH RIGHT I’M GOING THERE!!! Haha… my wife is perfect and she didn’t cost a thing, thank you very much ;) I had you there for a second though, didn’t I?
So. All this to say that your MENTALITY with happiness is key here with money. And the more you can keep this in the back of your head, the more money you’ll have to put to work elsewhere. Like, say, paying off your debt or investing in your retirement accounts, etc etc. Sometimes you can’t get around paying high amounts for stuff that’s important to you, but most times there’s a nice alternative that does the same trick for much less.
And that’s really the point with all this today – you gotta do your best to maximize your happiness for the least amount of money. The perfect concoction. I bet most of y’all are already doing this too! Think about it for a few and then share with us down below…
What are you doing well, and what could you be doing better? How much joy are you actually GETTING from your things??
PS: In case you’re wondering why I keep bringing up my wife, I want to see if she still reads this blog ;) Unlike us she hates all things money, so I’ve got to find a way to keep her attention!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!