Sometimes, it's hard to make the responsible money decision. It would be really nice to use your money to enjoy yourself instead of paying off debt. You work hard and you deserve it. But instead of focusing on what you deserve, it might be better to focus on opportunity.
Picture: Photos of Money
Many times, we work hard and try to do the right thing, but life (or the economy) throws us lemons. It's easy to ignore those lemons and give ourselves what we deserve, even if we can't afford it. We sweep our impending debt or retirement under the rug and spend money on things we "deserve" instead. The problem is, we're giving up on great opportunities for the future: financial freedom, stability and independence.
I like the way writer Tom Hartmann puts it over at Sorted:
When you get right down to it, we all deserve better — a better car, a better house, a better holiday — whatever does it for you. You deserve better. We all do.
That said, we also need to make savvy decisions about what and when we're going to spend. The timing's got to be right — otherwise we end up dissolving money in the near term and turning our backs on the opportunities we can take up for the long term.
In short, it's not really about what you deserve. That's how NZ Muse explains it, and she offers a personal example of this idea in action. After a tough, hard-working year, she would like more than anything to take a nice holiday, but it's not in the cards. While she might deserve that holiday, she focuses on the opportunity of stability:
Much as I'd like to indulge in a tropical getaway right about now, working towards getting into a stable home where we can have a family and pets is way more important. EYES ON THE PRIZE.
It's great food for thought and a reminder that smart spending is all about trade-offs. It's easier said than done to make the responsible decision, but focusing less on what you deserve and more on the opportunity you have in your choice might be a good start.