Money is only a Tool-Use it to your Advantage
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver”, … Ayn Rand.
Depending on whom you ask, and what your present financial situation is, money is a concept that keeps creeping up in our daily activities. Sooner than later, we are all made aware of the concept of money and its importance to our lives. To the well-heeled, this idea needs little selling, … pun intended. To the less knowledgeable about money, it is a subject matter that needs serious concern and attention.
Money Does not Grow on Trees
Money is not paper that grows on trees, anymore. As a matter of fact, paper money is now as rare as hen’s teeth, in all first-world economies. What does it mean that money is only a tool? Money is tool or object that we use for exchanging goods or services. In the olden days, before money was invented, people bartered. A man would barter 3 sheep for 1 calf and 2 bushels of rye or oats. With more and more transactions taking place, in the villages, between the people living there, this method became very complicated and not very practical.
Forget about your Feelings
I will not expound on the science and theory of money so much, but rather bring to your attention, what you have to understand about money and its purpose in your life. I was brought up in comfortable poverty. Poor people, sometimes through no fault of their own, know very little about money. Before your feelings get hurt, this is not a beat-down on the poor. I was poor, … so I know lots about poverty.
Money, its history and use should be of concern to everyone. Hence, its lack of importance and appearance in our schools and learning institutions. You are certainly not going to learn anything useful about money and earning a living in school or university. You will only learn how to become an obedient worker, just smart enough to operate the machinery, and more than everything else, you will mostly learn how to get into debt, and keep that chain tied to your neck, throughout you lifetime.
If you were brought up with little knowledge of money, don’t blame anyone for this, especially your parents. They have brought you up the best way they knew how with what they had. The rest is up to you. Get yourself educated about money, and learn how to make it work for you.
A Store of Value
Money is a store of value, a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and sometimes, a standard of deferred payment. If these terms are foreign to you, the greater your need to embark on a journey to increase your knowledge on the subject of money. If you are of the working class or the middle class, you have probably been taught that money is dirty, an object of greed, and the root of all evil. No wonder you’re having so much trouble with money. How can you attract something that you have so much animosity towards.
This is not an essay on the philosophical concepts of money or on the morality of its possessors. It is simply a statement of your need for money to survive in today’s society. The forms of barter that existed in olden days have outgrown their usefulness, and today’s money system is undergoing rapid change in the form of electronic accounts and cyber currencies.
Gone are the days of bartering three sheep for one cow, or exchanging fourteen seashells for a bushel of wheat. Get with the times, and do it soon. If you are always broke days before payday, your credit card is maxed out, and your friends won’t lend you a five, it’s long past time to learn what money is, and what it is used for.
Learn to Earn
Learn to earn, but, just as importantly, you must also learn to budget, and learn how to save. We have all been told by our elders, to save for a rainy day. This is time-tested wisdom. Every once-in-a-while a little or a lot of rain will fall on our life. This is why we all need to set a sum of money aside as an emergency fund for when the SHTF.
Stop spending every penny you earn. Learn how to budget your money. How much did you earn last month? How much did you spend? People with money know the answer to these questions. You don’t, and that’s why you’re having problems with money. Forget about fancy cars, yachts, and helicopters if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck.
Get your feet on the ground and first of all, make a list of how much you earn, AND how much you spend. Set 5%, or even 2%, of your earnings, after taxes, for an emergency fund. Making your own coffee at home, and bringing it with you to work or school, can easily save you 100 dollars per month, … thats 1200 dollars per year!
This is how you have to begin thinking. If you’re single, it’s o.k. to be a bit selfish and carefree, but one day you’ll have a family to care for, … start planning now.
Keep your Feet on the Ground
Stop dreaming crazy dreams, … and add up the cost of your rent, lights, heat, food, clothing, transportation, etc. If you’ve noticed, there’s no entertainment or “fun” in there yet. This is only a partial list of expenses if you are single. Now imagine having a family to support as well. Imagine a newborn child popping up “unexpectedly” into this equation.
A very high percent of marriage failures and divorces are the result of money problems. There is a ton of useful money education and instruction on the web for you to learn from. You have to educate yourself, no one is responsible for this except you. Learning about money ranks high on your list, right up there with attitude and gratitude.
Studies have shown that the more affluent, live longer. Why? Less stress, better food, better access to medical care. I’m not talking about the super rich, I wouldn’t know. I’m not super rich. I simply work hard for my daily bread, and manage it to the best of my ability. I had to learn this, and I continue to do this every day.
These days, I’m reading an excellent book, written in plain language, titled, “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell. This book is a brilliant, easy to understand narrative on money, and how it works. In it, Thomas Sowell, explains how the money system works, with modern examples, and in easy to understand language.
Stop Thinking that Money is Evil
Money in itself, is not evil. Money is the most popular means of exchange for goods and services, in today’s marketplace. Change your mindset, and change your life.
Discard your attitude about money being vile and dirty. Focus on what money can do for you. You can’t help anyone if you’re always broke, you can’t even provide for your family, and that’s your primary responsibility. That’s the big word you have to learn. RESPONSIBILITY.
Control over your financial situation brings more peace into your life. When you feel better, you have a better attitude, and everyone wants to hang out with you.
Work hard and play hard. Get a second job, work from home.
At the end of the day, you are working for yourself, … and yes, that means you!
I look forward to your comments and tips on how to better manage my money. You’ll be surprised at the many good suggestions you can come up with, on how to save money.
Don’t burn your candle at both ends!