Money Bite-Size Read:
- We have an inherent negativity bias to focus on negative experiences.
- In the interests of balance, you should also make time to celebrate the positive.
- Here’s celebrating money wins and 4 good decisions I made with money to focus on the progress we’ve made in learning about money.
The Money Bites Take:
We often focus on the negative, but it’s important to make time to celebrate your money wins and the good decisions you’ve made with money.
What’s your biggest money mistake?
Everyone has an answer to that question, whether they’ll admit to it or not. That’s because our mind overacts to negative things much more so than the positive. This negativity bias impacts our money in different ways. A major one was the fear of market meltdown, which caused some investors burned by the 2008 financial crisis to be cautious about reinvesting.
If we focus on the negative, that means we forget to focus on progress.
Acknowledging the money mistakes we make is important so that we then reflect on our progress. That’s why we’re huge fans of celebrating money wins because we look at that progress and what actions you’ve taken with money that you can be proud of.
Whether it was getting a bargain or switching your super fund, these are the moments that make you punch the air in celebration at how brilliant you are with money. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else because comparison is the thief of joy. Instead, compare current you to past you and celebrate your progress.
Here’s 4 good decisions I made with money:
1. I didn’t buy a car
When it comes to life events, buying your first car is a rite of passage. However, I looked at the financial and environmental costs involved and couldn’t justify buying a car. I didn’t want to take out a loan, and I wasn’t travelling far enough to justify owning a car and wanted to make a more sustainable choice.
Instead, I decided to try different options. At first, I relied on public transport and took the bus, tram or train on my daily commute. When public transport was no longer an option, I bought a motorcycle to save money and be 30% cooler. I may choose to buy a car in the future, but the money I saved by delaying this spending choice definitely added up.
2. I didn’t pick and stick to one career path
When I was at school and university, I was told to pick and stick to a career path. However, the pick and stick method simply doesn’t work and is a recipe to end up stuck in a job you’ll hate. It’s difficult to know what you want to do in life unless you know what it’s like to do that job every day.
Instead, I took a risk and tried a different career path. That enabled me to travel for work, where a company will pay for your travel or moving costs. I also gained skillsets that I can apply to any job I take on and the growth mindset to be comfortable with change.
3. I knew my value
I know way too many people who compromise themselves every day doing something they don’t like. Unfortunately, we all have to do this at some point to pay the bills. It’s vital to not compromise ourselves too much in those jobs to the extent we get stuck.
A moment for me came when a junior male employee inserted himself into my salary conversation. He was less qualified, less experienced but thought I should have a reduced salary so that I had room to move within the organisation. That signalled the organisation’s values right there, I knew my value, and I turned down the offer. Having an emergency fund is helpful for this so that you can afford to turn down work that doesn’t recognise your value.
4. I made my budget work for me
There are countless budgets out there to help you manage and save money. This includes standard metrics like the 50-30-20 budget, which allocates 20% of your earnings towards savings goals. You could adopt the systems of books like the Barefoot Investor or try a budgeting app to manage money on the go.
I strongly believe in trying out these budgeting systems to see how they work. However, what really helped me learn how to budget was tracking what I spent money on and adjusting my spending habits in a more bite-size way. This was more realistic to make long-term changes and enabled me to sustain a budget to save money for my financial goals.
We want to see a world in which more people are celebrating money wins.
It’s always easier for our brains to focus on our money mistakes. However, by focusing on the good decisions you’ve made with money, you acknowledge the progress you’ve made and are more likely to want to learn more about it.