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Why Chasing Money Is Worse Than Dogs Chasing Cars

Why Chasing Money Is Worse Than Dogs Chasing Cars


    We’ve all been there before and many of us are there right now.

    And where would that be? Probably not on vacation, enjoying an experience to remember or working to improve our health.

    We’re chasing money.

    Many cultures preach that once you have a good income stream or a certain amount of money built up then good things will follow. Things like going to great restaurants, taking exotic trips, creating a home immersed in entertainment options, and freedom from the fear you’ll have to take a hand out.

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    Fact: Money is the primary pursuit for most of us from the time we finish high school to the time we retire.

    Is this relentless chase the only way it can be or should be? You might not like my answer but you will get some actionable steps to improve your relationship with money.

    The Ugly Parallel

    Ever watched a cartoon or YouTube clip of a dog chasing a car? Even if they catch it they don’t exactly win a medal. Even worse, sometimes the dog gets permanently harmed in the process.

    A human parallel comes from reflecting on this quote by the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight.

    “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it!”

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    Do you see your relationship with money in this quote? Don’t feel bad if you do. I certainly used to but I’ve learned a mindset that helps combat the desire for the constant pursuit of money. Try some of these steps to alter your beliefs about it and help yourself grow into positive behavior and habit change.

    1. Say This Phrase Out Loud: “More money will make things better”. According to research, this is one of the most common beliefs among Americans (and I imagine people in other countries). Now say it a second time. Is it any more convincing? If you have a negative reaction to this experience the feelings when you say “happiness can be achieved with less or no money”. Which one of these statements resonates more?

    2. Realize Why You’re Often Stressed: Did you run out of time to exercise this week because of your work hours? Were you racing around so fast that you didn’t have time to eat well? And did you prioritize your commitment to making money higher than your family and friends? Saying yes to any of these questions generates stress in all of us. Not surprisingly, the American Psychological Association found that money is the biggest cause of stress by far. To prove this isn’t just an American problem an international Reader’s Digest poll asked people in 16 countries what their biggest cause of stress was. The runaway answer? Money.

    3. Ask Yourself What Role Money Plays in Life: So many people are too busy to assess the role of money in their life. I view money as the future ability to buy products and services that fulfill the needs of my family, friends, community, and charities I support. Just to give a couple of examples, two unfortunate paths in life I see people leading look like:

    Money –> vacation –> relaxation/adventure –> happiness

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    Money –> buying future free time –> satisfaction with life

    An alternate mindset is where money is at the end of the path instead of the start. After all, money is a by-product at the end of the path for people living out their core values (a.k.a. the happiest and healthiest).

    4. Define Why You Chase Money: Getting and having money is not a bad thing. It’s not inherently evil and the reality is we all need it. But try brief exercise though. Write down five good reasons why you pursue money. Pause for a few minutes and actually write them down. Do you like what you see? It the time spent and priority assigned to getting money more important than other things you value in life?

    My challenging you to find the “why” behind your relationship with money is for a sincere reason. This quote from the Goldberg and Lewis research team sums it up well.

    “[People] have become so indoctrinated with the idea that having money is important, that they no longer question why. They are unaware that perhaps what they are truly seeking is an increase in self-respect, or security, or freedom, or love, or power.”

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    Treat Yourself with Respect

    Your relationship with money could be an issue of balance but most likely it’s an issue of priorities or not knowing why you want it. Give yourself the respect you deserve by being more mindful about money than a dog is about chasing a car. I don’t want anyone getting hurt by a reckless pursuit and I hope you don’t either.

    Which of these steps works best for you? Are there other steps you’ve successfully used to stop chasing money and improve your relationship with it? Please share a comment below.

    (Photo credit: Man Chasing Falling Money via Shutterstock)

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    Published on October 8, 2018

    13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

    13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

    Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

    Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

    So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

    1. Choose a major category each month to attack

    As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

    Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

    By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

    2. Only make major purchases in the morning

    If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

    Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

    Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

    3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

    Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

    The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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    Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

    4. Read one-star reviews for products

    Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

    By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

    Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

    5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

    If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

    The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

    Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

    This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

    6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

    One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

    While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

    The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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    7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

    Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

    That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

    That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

    8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

    Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

    If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

    Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

    Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

    This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

    9. Budget using cash and envelopes

    As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

    Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

    This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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    The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

    10. Join a like-minded group

    Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

    You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

    Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

    No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

    For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

    This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

    11. Reward Yourself

    When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

    Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

    With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

    But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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    Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

    12. Take the Buddhist approach

    You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

    Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

    Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

    The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

    13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

    If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

    It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

    Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

    Conclusion

    Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

    However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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