The Balancing Act of Being Grateful

By Kevin Gibbons & Melissa Tosetti

Experts tell us we’re supposed to be thankful for what we have.  Experts also tell us we’re supposed to strive for what we want.

Which expert is right?

There’s a balancing act between being grateful for what you have and working toward achieving your goals.  Lean too heavily on one side and you become complacent, lean too heavily on the other and you remain in a constant state of dissatisfaction with your life.

So, how do you manage that balancing act?

  • Outline your goals and create an implementable plan to work toward them.
  • Take care of what you have.

As you work toward buying that new car, be sure to take care of the one you have.  Keep it cleaned and well maintained.  It will help you to enjoy driving it while you save for the one you really want.

The same goes for a new home.  Take care of the one you have or of your apartment as you save for your next home.

Another aspect of being thankful for what we have is understanding why we want certain things, and how those items or experiences fit in with our life goals. What does “wealth” mean to you? For some people, it means security from specific levels of want. For others, it may mean the ability to do certain things without having to stop to ask if the resources are available. As with many value questions, there is no right answer. But it is important you know and understand your own answer.

If you don’t stop and evaluate why you want certain things, you can find yourself on a consumer treadmill, acquiring and consuming without adding true value to your life. Again, “value” is not defined by society or others, but by your own system. What is important to you? If you look around your home and see all the things you have purchased, you should be thankful for how those things have improved your life. Even if they are not exciting (like a dishwasher or vacuum cleaner), they are still improving your life in some recognizable way. Similarly, if you stop to review your experiences, dinners out, vacations, activities, are they enriching your life or merely filling time?

Feeling thankful for what you have purchased is a good indicator that you are spending on things that truly are important to you. If you find that there are areas in your life where you don’t feel that gratitude, stop and consider if you should really be spending your money there.


Melissa Tosetti and Kevin Gibbons are the co-founders of The Savvy Life and authors of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, they have worked with over 545 individuals and families to create Spending Plans. Melissa and Kevin also work with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa and Kevin work with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa and Kevin work with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page