I was walking home from the coffee shop today and I had a motivating thought. Walking past all the restaurants on Main Street in Manayunk I thought about why shouldn’t I just get some food some place right now?
I was pretty hungry at the time and the hunger was getting to the point of overtaking my rational thinking.
Was there anything stopping me from just popping in this bar and grabbing a beer and burger?
Besides wanting to stick to the second tier of my health insurance policy, the thing holding me back was the thought in the back of my mind that I didn’t want to waste money on a meal out somewhere.
I pretty much make all my meals at home to save money. Every now and then I’ll eat out somewhere at a treat, but it’s very rare.
I have to budget my money as I have about 300 other things that I have to pay for every month that supercede the need for comfort food.
This whole line of thinking got me wondering about what would be a comfortable level of money to have.
What is rich?
At this point, if I had millions and millions of dollars, I wouldn’t be doing anything different with my time. I’d still just head on down to the coffee shop and do some writing…with the addition of driving in fast cars and being on the beach.
But take away the cars and the beach, and it wouldn’t take an extreme amount of money to make me happy. One thing I’d like to be able to do though would be to go to a restaurant and get anything I want, at any time, and not have to feel guilty about paying for it.
I feel like this is a healthy spot to be in. Feeling guilty about spending money is a shitty way to go through life.
Getting past this point is something I need to do. As I was walking home, I started to ponder how to go about doing this.
Saving vs. Earning More
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about saving money. They go on and on about how they are going to save here or save there.
I couldn’t think of a more boring subject to talk about.
Saving money is obvious if you don’t have a lot of it. It just comes down to not being stupid and blowing money on unesscessary items.
The real trick is earning more. You never hear those people who talk about saving money talk about how they are going to earn more money for themselves.
The reason for this I suspect is because when you are talking about saving money, you are coming from a position of having a set level of income already. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to save.
While it’s very important to save money by being frugal, living a spartan/minimal lifestyle, and planning for “retirement” with a 401 k, I think more needs to be talked about how to earn more money.
It’s this mindset shift that can be a motivating factor.
What started to motivate me to go do some work and make money was the thought of being able to use that money to go to a restaurant whenever I wanted.
I got specific with the need for more money.
Most of the time when people talk about wanting to make more money they have this vague idea of what they will use with it.
I’ve found that if I have a very specific thing that I need money for, it motivates me to actually go get that money more than if I just wanted more money.
An example of this would be if I wanted a new suit for a wedding. I could go and buy a new suit right now as I have the money for it. But what if I decide to earn the money for the new suit in addition to the regular money I make?
I would create a fund where I would set aside money until I have the desired amount. Then, once I earned enough money, go and buy the suit.
This way I don’t feel guilt for purchasing something, and I was motivated to carry out tasks to earn more money.
The fun starts when you start getting specific on a number of things you need to purchase. Need a new house? Start pumping funds in from different jobs. A new car?
Bringing it together
The point of this isn’t to go out and buy a bunch of shit. The point is to use your inclination to want stuff to motivate you into earning more money.
This will become a positive habit for you once you do it enough times.
After it becomes a habit, you can just switch your specific money goals to something like filling a 401 k or just a general freedom fund where you can draw money out to do whatever you want.
Even better, start a “retirement” fund where you get your income pumping every month to such a level that you quit your job.
This will free up more of your time which will allow you to start more funds.
Next time you find yourself complaining about not having enough money, decide to earn more money for that specific task.
Write that task down, and implement a strategy to make more money to get it.
Do this enough and it becomes second nature.