I read an article today that sparked a thought for me and it reminded me of how much I have changed.
I used to like stuff. I had a lot of stuff. Stuff was super important. I always wanted the newest, latest, greatest stuff. My income didn’t always match that desire, and my intelligence certainly didn’t. I remember struggling to pay the mortgage and wanting the latest four head super VHS movie player for $800. Wow!
For good reason my wife and I used to fight like crazy over money back then. It was brutal. We were both so absolutely opposite in our habits that it was a total malfunction. She was a saver and I was a spender. She wouldn’t spend money on anything unless she absolutely had to and I would buy stuff I couldn’t afford just cause I wanted it.
We took a course called ‘The Millionaire Mind’ by T. Harv Eker and it changed everything in a single weekend.
We both recognized why this was for us and it gets pretty deep. I saw stuff as a security thing. If you had enough stuff, you were a success and comfortable (not true). My wife figured money was scarce and hard to come by and had to always be saved, never wasted.
Over time she learned to spend and I learned to save. It sounds easy, but it did take some time and some reprogramming. We first started working on a percentage-based system of managing our money that was taught at the course and really hard at first, but it really did work after we massaged it! The goal was we had to make our bills fit into 60% of our income and then we would save 10% for long-term stuff and big expenses, Tithe or donate 10%, put 5% into an education account and then 15% was play money to blow however we pleased. At first those numbers were impossible for us. Our bills were more like 90%, so we just adjusted the other numbers to suit and worked hard at reducing our bills, increasing our income and changing our lifestyle.
I can honestly say that we have never fought over money since – that was 15 years ago.
Okay, I have not suddenly become an accountant or a financial advisor, here’s the deal – nowadays I spend my money on experiences and not stuff. I race, we travel, we do cool things that create amazing memories and we are infinitely happier. Yes, we still have some stuff, but only what we need and most of the stuff we buy now gives us experiences like a new bike.
I have learned that experiences are way better than stuff in so many ways. Experiences don’t break after the warranty expires, experiences are better when shared, experiences in fact, last forever and give so much more than they take. Experiences will make you a better person. Everyone can use the experience all at once, without feeling left out.
Stuff is just stuff. It takes up space, it requires a bigger house, better this, fancier that, plus you have to dust it, clean it, fix it, etc. Experiences require nothing after they have been made.
Fitness and things like boot camp with your friends are great experiences and being fit gives you options for amazing experiences too – instead of looking at a mountain, you can climb it. Instead of complaining about the stairs, you can race your buddy up.
So have fun, get fit, enjoy life and worry less about future garage sale items that you want for no reason.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.