This blog was first published in Sydney’s Family Living Magazine, October 2018.
Everyday we make income choices. Whether it’s as simple as tossing some money into a parking metre because you don’t want to walk the distance from the free parking, or as complex as choosing which venture to invest in. Each choice reveals something about you, and knowing this gives you the power to make changes.
Yesterday I was in my thinking zone, relaxing with a hot chocolate steaming in my hands. The refreshing aroma teasing me into each sip as I savoured that unique smoothness that my palate enjoys. $5 for a simple treat isn’t much. Enjoying that moment of solitude with a gourmet hot drink is an experience I relish. It’s not something I think much on, but five dollars, every work day, is around $1,200 a year.
My frugal instincts kick in now and tell me that I could be putting my money to better use. We’re planning a big holiday in 2020 and retirement is getting closer. Am I being wasteful? Could I squeeze in some extra work instead? Maybe I could cut down to one drink a week… What’s the best thing to do?
The truth is that the best thing to do with your income isn’t black and white. Your financial capacity, your financial goals, and your priorities, all play their part in your unique story. Earning more income means investing more time or more risk, perhaps both. Saving means sacrificing in the now. While tips such as automatically putting aside money into a savings account can help, this is a choice to limit your accessible income.
What I’m really getting at is that now is the time to become mindful of your financial decisions. Know what really matters to you so that you can make the best decisions for you. If you have a partner, include them in the discussion. Create a clear list of priorities that includes the small daily stuff and the big plans, like holidays and retirement.
Equipped with mindfulness about your options and priorities you are now set to make focused choices. Each time you chose not to spend money, remind yourself what you’re saving for. When you spend, know that this is part of the value of your life. This is the best way to use your income.
Now please excuse me while I head out for my next moment of solitude. Those moments really do add value to my day to day, and that’s worth prioritising.
Written by Rebekah Batley