The Survivor Mentality - Money And Finances
How you spend your money can obviously make, break, or at least extend the time necessary for your future plans to come to fruition. As you become survival oriented, you'll find that part of the process involves shifting your perception about your money from a consumer mind set, to a creator mind set.
You are a creator in that, for one, you are creating yours and your family's future with every dollar you spend, and what you spend it on. You are not only deliberately deciding your own personal future, but you're also supporting a business, supporting the practices of those businesses, and ensuring their longevity in the future. I worry about what will happen to prices when the large chain stores have no more competition. Will the fact that you saved a few dollars now be enough to compensate for drastic price increases later? Just something to think about as small "mom and pop" stores go out of business around the country.
Anyway, what you spend your money on determines how much closer to your goals you will be in 10 years, 5 years, or even a year from now. If you like where you are and the rate at which your life is moving forward, then this article's probably not for you. If you'd like to learn more, read on.
Most people these days are stuck in "consumer mode". Think of a "consumer" as the modern version of "prey". Companies who sell products are modern day "predators". From playing on one's insecurities, to their desires, they know which buttons to push, so to speak, to convince you to buy. Companies pull out all the stops when it comes to advertising. They spend millions of dollars researching and analyzing human nature. Their products will change your life for the better; with their make up you'll be irresistible, their clothing will make you more popular, and their food will make you a better parent. They know what makes you tick, and they know how to manipulate you, even going so far as to add flavorings, fat and sugar to foods to make you crave them. When was the last time your child begged for a toy because of a commercial they saw, or when you bought something because of the appearance of the label? They drive sales and it works!
When you think about it, the consumer mind set doesn't actually benefit us much at all. By trying to "keep up with the Jonses", we find ourselves on a treadmill of "live to spend/spend to live". The consumer mind set is great for the companies selling the products, but not so great for us.
Ironically, consumers end up treating the very thing they trade a good portion of their lives for - money - like they don't really want it at all, giving it away as fast as they receive it. The worst part is that many of the items that consumers trade their money for aren't even really necessary.
It's not your fault. People have been conditioned to be consumers for many years. Learn to think of money as a tool. You have power over this tool. Just like you need a hammer to drive a nail, use money for what it's intended for - to benefit you! Recognizing the consumer mind set is the first step. Next - prioritize.
People say they want more money, but if you have a consumer mind set, money's probably not really what you want. What you really want is instant gratification. Don't let instant gratification get in the way of where you truly want to go in life! Warren Buffet once said, “There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn't that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
Do some soul searching. Who are you, really? What do you want out of life - now and in the future? What do you love to do; your hobbies, interests and passions? What are your short term plans? Your long term goals? How do you intend to reach these goals? If you don't know the answers to these questions, then either you are very young and haven't figured it out yet, or you should spend more time with yourself. Knowing yourself empowers you to identify your dreams and goals, and makes prioritizing what you want to spend your money on easier. Figure out who you really are and what brings you joy, then, be that person. That person will spend your money in a more focused manner, that will get you closer to doing more of what you really want to.
Saving Things For Special Occasions
In the good old days people treated themselves to things. Whether it was saving up for a new washing machine, splurging on a ticket to a ball game or show, or going out to eat on a date, treats were something special to look forward to. Many things that used to be considered treats are common now, even expected daily, which has not only robbed people of the fun of doing something special, but it can suck up a large amount of the bank account as well.
I've become a believer in saving some things as treats. I appreciate that pint of Ben and Jerry's a lot more if I have one every 2 weeks. I've also begun to notice a lot of products at the store that I now consider to be unnecessary and a waste of money. I've saved a lot by not buying them, and therefore, have been able to direct more money towards things that are more important to me, and my long term goals.
Of course, "everything in moderation" and "you've got to do what you've got to do" sometimes. :D
Your list will probably be different from mine depending on what your priorities are, and that's fine.
These are a few of the items didn't make the cut, are used rarely, or are on my treat list:
1. Eating out and fast food
2. Sodas and other artificially flavored beverages
3. Fabric softener
4. Paper plates, plasticware, paper towels, etc.
5. Brand new clothes
6. Household cleaners - I use bleach in the bathroom and soap and water everywhere else.
7. Cookies, cakes, candy and other sweets
8. Processed and pre-packaged meals
9. Conventional medicine
10.Convenience store items
And honestly, I don't miss any of this stuff!