By Melissa Tosetti
I find it romantic to believe that money isn’t important. How wonderful would it be to live life without being burdened by monetary details? But the truth is, money affects every aspect of our lives. It affects how we dress, where we live, what we eat and how we spend our free time. It affects our emotions and enhances or detracts from our enjoyment of life.
To illustrate this point, the following is a brief comparison of the lives of the proverbial Average Person and a Savvy Person:
An Average Person
An Average Person has no idea how much money is in their checking account at any given time. They often use their debit card with a knot in their stomach, hoping it will not be declined.
They have a closet overflowing with clothes, few of which can be pulled together into a complete outfit. Many of the clothes still have the tags on them because they realized they have nothing to wear with the item once they brought them home. They continue to purchase clothes at random, always feeling the need to buy more.
They find themselves eating out multiple days a week because their kitchen cupboards are bare. When they do buy groceries, they so without a plan and aren’t quite sure what to do with them once they get home. When they go to their favorite high-end restaurant, they feel a tinge of guilt as they pull out their credit card to pay the bill.
They take a vacation several times a year, but find themselves preoccupied while on holiday since they were just on the verge of paying off their previous vacation when they headed out the door.
An Average Person is a consumer who keeps buying, hoping the next item they purchase will magically create the life they so desperately want.
A Savvy Person
A Savvy Person knows exactly how much money they have in the bank and always spends less than they make. Their growing savings account gives them a confidence that is visible to others.
They have a pared down wardrobe comprised only of clothes they love. They shop with purpose and never purchase an item for their wardrobe unless they’ve fallen in love with it.
They have a black belt in grocery shopping and cook the majority of their meals at home. This allows them to enjoy the occasional meal out at their favorite high-end restaurant, without guilt to spoil the experience.
They consciously save for those long weekends away and the trip to Italy they’ve been planning for the past year. When they vacation, the trip is paid for prior to departure, so it is a true holiday.
Savvy Person picks and chooses what they bring into their life, being selective versus mindlessly consuming. This control over their financial life allows for an even greater enjoyment of their life.
When we work one-on-one with a client or speak in front of an audience, our goal is to teach them how to look at their finances from a lifestyle perspective and “get savvy” about all the different areas of their lives that are affected by money.
Does the Average Person’s life sound a little familiar? Are there times when your paycheck doesn’t last until the next payday? Is your closet overflowing with clothes, but you have nothing to wear? Do you have trouble fully enjoying a vacation or dinner out knowing that you put it on your credit card? Perhaps there are certain aspects of your life that you have under control, but you get derailed by holidays, special occasions or when your car unexpectedly breaks down.
The first step to Living Savvy is to define what is most important to you in all the different categories mentioned above. Without going through that process, it’s too easy to spend mindlessly or to be overly frugal, even in the areas where you’d like to spend. Learning how to focus your spending on what is truly important to you and economizing on those things that are not as important to you is key to Living a Savvy Life.
Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 500 individuals and families to create Spending Plans.
Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 400 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.
If you’d like to learn more about The Savvy Life you can send an email to Melissa@TheSavvyLife.com.