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How To Use Money To Fulfill Your Purpose

How To Use Money To Fulfill Your Purpose

We’ve heard of putting our money where our mouth is, but how do we put it where our heart is?  Is such a thing possible?  Can we use money to better fulfill our personal purpose?

With focused work, yes, we can use money to fulfill our purpose.  Cultivate a balanced financial perspective and put your money to work for you, by adopting this mindset.

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1. Accept that money is a tool, and you need it.

That’s all money is—a globally recognized tool that can be exchanged for things you need or perhaps want. While en vogue to pretend like money does not matter, it does. Money can’t buy health, but it can buy medical supplies; money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy an outing for your child or food for a pet, which is perhaps the closest we come to paradise on earth. Money cannot buy love, but it can be used to fund your favorite charities, creating more love in this world. Accept that you do need money. You do not, however, have to become consumed by that need.

2. Realize that tools are meant to be used.

There is a line between preparing for the future and living in the present; it is particularly challenging to walk this line when dealing with finances. While it would be irresponsible and immature to go into debt for trivial comforts, we amass wealth so that we might one day buy houses, send kids to college, take pleasant vacations, or pursue expensive hobbies like photography or sailing.  When the time comes to spend money on those things, and you have the money, spend it! Spend it with joy and completely without regret—that is what money is for.  When you end up spending large sums on things you did not plan for, such as a new car when yours breaks down, braces for a child, or a new stove, spend it with joy and completely without regret—again, that is what money is for.

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3. Leverage your assets to increase your own happiness.

What makes you happy? Is it a particular hobby, charity work, trips to a meaningful location? Whatever it is, it likely requires gas to get there, equipment, or perhaps childcare or a day off of work without pay to actually pursue these activities. When do you feel best? Is it when you work out regularly at that gym you like, when you get a massage, when you shop at organic food stores? Nearly everything requires some sort of financial output. Spend your money on what makes you feel and live your healthiest and happiest.

4. But first, leverage your assets to discover what makes you happy.

Not entirely sure what your purpose is, or what makes you happy?  Start saving up to take a class, join a hobby club or association, donate your time as a volunteer, or fund a trip.  Pack a journal (purchased with—you guessed it—money!), and take note of when you feel the most relaxed, smile the most, and are at your personal best.  Not feeling it yet?  Save more money, try something else.  Or, treat a trusted mentor to a nice dinner and ask for their advice.  Eventually, you will find a place where you fit and an activity that invigorates you.

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5. Politely ignore others.

While others can contribute to your happiness, they cannot make you happy. Likewise, while others may be able to help shed light on your purpose, and share their wisdom about how you might most effectively use money to fulfill your purpose, it is your money and your purpose. Be bold when you need to be.

Struggling to identify and articulate your purpose?  Check out these 5 Steps to Find Out Your Life Purpose.

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Featured photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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