Imagine how easy it would be if we could point back to that ONE financial decision that set us back- or catapulted us forward? Shoutout to the folks who bought SHIB at $0.000000000001 and held it for a year (if you are, call us – we have questions).
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Our financial journeys are made up of millions of small decisions. Everyday you’re given the opportunity to make decisions, a lot which revolve around money– buying a coffee, paying a bill, choosing one gas station over the other, etc. Sure, most decisions are a quick distant memory and others on constant repeat keeping you up at night stressing. Nonetheless they’re all part of the bigger journey that got you to where you are today and will continue to impact your future.
While it sounds daunting, it actually means that today and everyday you have control over your financial future.
Black Friday is right around the corner and what’s better than scoring 50+% off, literally everything? Not buying anything and I’ll tell you why.
Limited time offers trigger what’s called “anticipatory regret”, aka FOMO. While we think this benefits us, it really just benefits the supplier and we get stuck with a purchase that didn’t really bring us joy, a bigger credit card balance, and something we probably won’t use that much. What if price tags also listed all the emotional baggage that comes later on?
Impulsive decisions are unwanted behavior because these behaviors don’t stop at annual sales. They can spill over to impulse shopping when you’re feeling low, investing in a new coin because Elon Musk made a joke on SNL, and being careless about how you’re spending your money (going to the more expensive gas station just because it’s a little more convenient.)
We often make these decisions quickly and without considering if we can afford it and actually want it. Think of how many things you’ve purchased you’ve never used or completely forget about. You know who didn’t forget about it? Your credit card balance.
At the moment impulse purchases feel good, so good! But rarely do we stop and think about how much catch-up we’ll have to do to get back on track if it’s something we truly cannot afford. We get caught up in the cycle of feeling guilty later on, then when we get some extra cash we want to spend it in an attempt to feel better, which only repeats the cycle.
These bad decisions can empty our wallets when we didn’t intend to, and limit our ability to pay for things we really need.
Intentional is the word we want to use when using our money.
When we are confident in our decisions, we tend to feel good about our money. But more than that, decisions we feel good about tend to pay off for us because they’re focused on future happiness.
Maybe it’s finally pulling the trigger on that much needed vacation, investing in electric car manufacturers after some solid research on the sector, or just choosing to pay more than the minimum on our credit card payments. These decisions are intentional – grounded in what we want, with the patience to fully consider our ability to afford it.
When we use our money intentionally, we feel good about ourselves. And when we feel good about ourselves, we want to reinforce that feeling. So while these individual decisions might have a limited effect on our immediate financial future, consistently making similar decisions – even when it comes to spending – compounds to make us feel better and more in control of our money.
When we feel in control of our money we have the confidence to use our money to fuel our happiness, rather than letting it control our unhappiness.
Ultimately, we’re the ones who are in charge of our financial present and future.