Banker, part-time teacher, and at-any-other-time writer
A money-conscious mindset is being able to distinguish between wants and needs (that are actually simple). (Shutterstock/*)
My wife and I each grew up in environments that had very different attitudes toward money. Her environment was conservative and she was taught the value of money from a very young age, whereas mine was more lenient in many ways and I had to learn through trial and error.
Despite all these differences, we turned out to be a match for one another – kindred spirits you might say. Moreover, we have strikingly similar money-conscious mindsets.
By our own definition, a money-conscious mindset is being able to distinguish between wants (that have no end) and needs (that are actually simple). This mindset is not about trying to cast aside wants because it is impossible to do so as it is natural for human beings to have wants. All it does is control our wants so that our financial resources are prioritized to be used to add value to our lives and better accommodate our needs.
Due to this mindset, we are not impulsive buyers and we always think and ask ourselves the following questions before making any purchase:
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Do I really need this? Can I live without this? What value will it bring to my life?
Those are just examples of the many questions we ask ourselves to ensure that every purchase we make is worthwhile. If more money is involved, the questions rise along with it.
Some people may think that we have this mindset because of the harsh life that we are living. Some people may make fun of and joke about our mindset. Some people may even accuse us of being cheap, not enjoying life and not keeping up with current trends.
There is actually a fine line between cheap and money-conscious. Being cheap focuses solely on the cost of thing; this sort of person will search for the lowest price for anything and it may affect the quality of his or her life. On the other hand, while being money-conscious also pushes us to pursue the best price possible, we never cut corners for life's essentials like health and education, since we know that these will add value to life and we do understand that quality comes with a price.
About enjoying life, I am sure we are enjoying life as much as other people do. We do regular exercise (still working on it though), we go to cinema (we love movies), we eat in restaurants (because, why not?), we read books (it is relaxing), we play games (it is exciting), we travel (we want to see the world, of course) and we do other relaxing activities.
Being money-conscious helps you to focus on what is necessary and put aside the unnecessary.(Shutterstock/*)
Looks normal right? Being money-conscious does not mean we are banned from having fun; what it does is simply remind us to have a budget and a plan. Therefore, leisure activities we are doing will not disturb our long-term objectives.
Nowadays is definitely a time when we are constantly being financially compared to our peers. Thus, many people, to appear successful, spend money to buy things they do not need to impress people they do not even like. Ironic.
Fortunately, we are not fazed by this kind of trend and do not feel the need to have the latest gadget, appliance, or car. The only time we purchase any of these things is when we feel it is necessary and if it can add value to our lives. By the way, with proper maintenance my six-year-old car is working just fine. Maybe this is why people think we do not keep up. We do, however, keep track of the latest news in economics, property, health and parenting.
There are two concrete benefits that we have experienced by having a money-conscious mindset. The first is a life with less or no debt. Whether it is essential or not, every type of debt puts an additional burden on our financial situation because of the interest that needs to be paid; sometimes the amount can be ridiculous. This mindset keeps reminding us to always live within our means, to not buy unnecessary items, to pay cash if we can afford it and, even if we used credit, we are sure to remember to repay it all as soon as we have the money. As a result, we now have a minuscule amount of debt.
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Second, we have adequate funds. Being money-conscious helps you to focus on what is necessary and put aside the unnecessary. Thanks to this, we have managed to place priority on many issues in our lives and are able to live by using more or less than 40 percent of our annual incomes. Thus, it elevates our cash position at a higher rate.
After our marriage, we even managed to buy a house and its furniture by using cash. This was something that I once thought not to be possible. Aside from that, having enough funds will protect our well-being from any unexpected downturn that may happen any time in the future. Also, it enables us to own essential assets that might help us to retire sooner and do what we love to do.
This mindset is not mainstream and certainly not for everybody because it focuses more on long-term security and does not offer immediate satisfaction. Well it depends: For us, being able to save and invest are satisfying in themselves, but I assure you this mindset can help improve our financial standing.
Pandu W Soeprapto earned his bachelor in Institut Teknologi Bandung and master from Monash University. Currently works as an Assistant Vice President in corporate banking and has handled many financing projects in various sectors. He has passion in teaching and love to write about people and finance in bukanpohonuang.wordpress.com.
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