For many people, the end goal of saving money is often for physical things like cars, houses, vacations, and designer clothes. Therefore many people interpret the practice of saving as something temporary: accumulating enough cash within a certain period of time to buy something or a service that will improve someone’s quality of life. It is often nice to show friends and family our purchases, such as a lovely new home, or a stunning sports car. And purchasing things for our friends and family as gifts is often really nice as well, and quite generous too, isn’t it? Yet is buying things for others creating more happiness in their lives? Is buying things for ourselves creating more happiness in our lives? It seems that life is not all about securing things to make us happy.
Saving up for experiences like a vacation can be great. It’s wonderful to spend time on a cruise or an island, and it’s thrilling to travel to new places, and to do things that you wouldn’t normally do in everyday life. Yet the real experience is spending that time with family and friends, and doing things together, or even just being together., Even meeting new people can be the highlight of a trip, and making new friends with locals in different places. These are the stories we often tell when we come back home as opposed to telling about the museums we saw or the cruise boat we were on. So instead of working so hard to save money, why aren’t we saving more time to be with the ones who matter?
A question to consider is how much time can you afford to spend time with your loved ones right now? This present life is all that we have, and tomorrow is never a guarantee. We can say that we will have 10, 20, or 30 more years with our beloved spouse, but even if you anticipate a lifetime with them, it may not necessarily happen. So again, how much can you afford to spend with the people that matter the most to you? For many of us, we spend far fewer hours with family and friends than we want to, with many of us blaming our need to work in order to survive. Perhaps you require a bit of mental shift. Rather than saving money to buy things (such as a new house, car, vacation to the Caribbean), you can save money to buy time. This time can be time taken off of work and activities and directed towards those that you want to spend your time with.
But often those that are in authority over you (at work, in business) will not let you take time off, or will suggest that you keep your focus on work, they may even threaten you with job security if you don’t comply with their demands. We live in a society that says work will only require 40 hours of your time a week, but often much more is needed to keep up with other business in a competitive workforce. Yet just because those in authority are pressuring you to only focus on work, doesn’t mean you need to listen. You have the power to set work/life boundaries for yourself, and even an employer that demands work and focus from you does not have the right to threaten your family life or mental health by inundating you with excessive work. But to protect these things you hold dear, do not waver with the boundaries you have set, and people will learn to respect them.
It is ultimately your decision, but be encouraged to not prioritize things over people and the time you can spend with them, for that is all we have ultimately. Different things can be alluring at different times, which may include keeping up with your friends when they buy a glamorous new house. You may want to have what they have, and risk even more time with your family to accomplish that goal. Or perhaps you are tired of driving the family car, and you would like a vehicle for your own personal enjoyment. But to do so would also mean working more hours, for something that would only give you momentary happiness. Or you may even think that a tropical vacation would enable the family to spend more time together as well, which may be the case. Yet these investments aren’t really necessary. You should be investing in your loved ones now, rather than planning a trip to invest in them later. At the end of your life, you will most likely not be regretting your lack of overtime done at the office, but may regret the lack of time you spent with others. Often what we plan to invest in (in physical, material things) may never come into fruition, and while we plan for these things, we spend so much time and energy on them. Perhaps you can redirect that energy away from physical investments into people that are around you, and are deserving of your time.
Products and material goods are placed on such a high pedestal within our society, but they don’t need to be on a high pedestal in your life. Think about what you are saving for, and who is directed your wants and desires. Is it you, or have you been influenced by other people and their consumerist lifestyles? Or have you been led by what you see on television and in the media? Do you find yourself competing with other people for material goods for no reason at all? Transition your mindset to being focused on saving money to spend your time how you want, with the people you love. For this is what truly matters in your life.