Here’s my own personal finance quote of the day and a little story to go with it:
“Luxury is not defined by material possessions, it is measured by the amount of time you have to do what you want.”
– Trees Full of Money
Last week I wrote an article on the trade-off between material possessions and your free time. Although I didn’t specifically mention it in that article, this was one of the key concepts I recognized when my wife and I started making progress digging ourselves out of a financial hole.
For so long we had been living beyond our means, buying things on credit, and going further into debt even though we were making a decent income. I remember one day in particular when I went to a local music store to buy a new protective case for my acoustic guitar.
I’m still not exactly sure what sparked it, but as I was reaching for my debit card to pay for the case ($100 or so) I questioned myself whether there was enough money in our checking account to cover the cost. In typical “old me” fashion, I pulled out my credit card and bought the guitar case anyway…
“I can’t even afford a guitar case?”, I silently asked myself as I was driving back to our apartment.
I had always been proud of my professional career but here I was without enough money left over at the end of the month to buy a simple case for my guitar. I was a financial mess.
Like most individuals and couples, it all boiled down to an issue of instant gratification and wanting something now rather than patiently saving for it and paying cash later.
It wasn’t that the guitar case was the problem (even looking back now I would consider it a reasonable purchase), not at all. It was the expensive leased vehicle I was driving, the other expensive car that was parked at home, the motorcycle that I bought brand new (without ever actually riding one before), going on expensive vacations, and overall just going through life without a financial plan…
I was spending money I didn’t have and was unable to pay cash for things that I really could use (like a guitar case to protect my guitar).
Fortunately I was able to recognize the errors of my ways and take corrective action to shore up my family’s finances before it became too late, but it wasn’t until I came to the realization in my life that I needed to start being accountable for my financial health.
You can read the entire story of my family’s financial turnaround here.
Too Much Debt? Download our free Trees Full of Money Debt Snowball Calculator and see how quickly you can pay off your debt.