7 Aspects Of Money Beyond Purchasing Power (How money really impacts your life)
When you ask someone what money is, they’ll probably tell you what you’ve known since kindergarten; money is a medium of exchange. You hand someone this crisp, green piece of paper in exchange for their product or service.
The process of trading money for goods, whether for necessity or luxury, is something everyone must do to put food on their table, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back. To many, this is our most fundamental experience with the “root of all evil,” but how money actually affects your life goes much deeper than this elementary definition.
From a holistic perspective, money is nothing more than a shared tool used to navigate through society, and how you use it doesn’t always have to do with how much you have. Money will always serve its most basic function as a medium of exchange, but there are many more ways your attitude about money can impact your life.
Be prepared to transform your view on the influence of money and the true power it has as we dive into the 7 principles of money beyond its simple trading ability. Let me know in the comments which of these ideas resonates the most with you, and any other unique outlooks you have about this essential concept of modern life.
Now, it’s time to change your philosophy about what money and apply it to maximize the use of your hard-earned dollars.
1. A vehicle to live life on your terms
This is my favorite definition of money, as it encapsulates the goals of financial freedom without defining a universal dollar amount needed to achieve them.
Too many people have the dogmatic ambition of purely wanting money, but your financial goals should go beyond simply owning nice things and really encapsulate how you want to live your life as a whole.
Lifestyle preferences differ among individuals, but for many people financial freedom includes goals such as owning a home, a car, being able to start a family, working a job they enjoy, traveling, having a sense of security. Even if some of these things can’t be directly bought, money has influence over all of them, and it’s through working hard, saving, and investing that money can guide you towards this desired outcome.
While we all strive for more, learning to be happy through budgeting what you have is what really matters. Work hard, yes, make more money, absolutely, but when budgeting the money you do bring in, do so with the mindset of “how can I live my best (sustainable) life this month.”
Don’t think about money from the black and white perspective of “I need to buy this, that, and the other thing,” but rather the holistic point of view that encapsulates building the overall lifestyle you want to live.
2. A motivator
Nothing motivates a person to action quite like money, especially in America’s capitalist and wealth-driven society. This takes on a variety of forms.
Lacking money can certainly motivate you to work out of a bad situation and encourage you to seek new opportunities. To the lazy 25-year-old still living in their parents’ basement, the thought of having to provide for themselves is a huge motivator for them to get off their ass and start working.
For those who have a job, but are making less than what they need for the lifestyle they want to provide themselves, wanting to reach financial goals will motivate them to work harder at their current job to try and earn a promotion or seek better employment opportunities elsewhere. This kind of motivation is often high in parents wanting to do well by their children, with the hope that each generation is better off than the last.
To those who are already successful, money is a motivator to keep expanding into new ideas and endeavors. The promise of additional rewards keeps even the highest achievers constantly reaching for better. It’s this principle of money that allows innovation to thrive in free markets, and is eliminated in state-run economies where no one is motivated to do more work than the bare minimum.
This concept can be applied to specific purchases you want to make as well, motivating you to save more money or take on a side hustle with the vision of getting yourself that brand new car or something nice for your special someone.
Money is a motivator for every level of economic wellbeing, as it is one of capitalism’s defining characteristics and strongest drivers of innovation. I guarantee the goals in your life revolve around money in some way, shape, or form, and wanting to achieve these goals is what keeps pushing you further.
3. A measurement of value
While this is a part of the dictionary definition for money, conveying value goes beyond an agreed amount of payment between a buyer and a seller.
The price of something conveys its value to the average consumer and the market as a whole. Just like inches are used to measure distance, the price of something is a numerical value that is attached to a good in order to convey its worth, importance, and usefulness to someone else.
From a buyer’s perspective, the price is a culmination of the seller’s efforts to produce the good and make it available to the consumer. As the seller, the price is the combination of what someone is willing to give up with what you are willing to accept in exchange for the labor and physical materials put into making a product.
This measurement system also records changes in value due to variations in economic landscapes and market demand. For example, think about all the businesses that increased in value due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Industries such as e-commerce, video streaming platforms, and sanitization products have all seen price increases due to the surging demand for the value they provided to consumers during an untraditional time.
Using money as a measurement gives you a quantitative approach to understanding something’s value towards yourself and others. At the end of the day, value is what someone else is willing to give up, and this willingness to sacrifice is summed up with one simple number (plus tax:).
4. A time saver
Money can’t buy time, but it can certainly change how you spend it.
From a business perspective, money allows you to hire workers and purchase technology to specialize in certain jobs. This gives owners more time to focus on running the business as a whole and growing by maximizing efficiency and increasing productivity.
As an individual, money gives you the ability to pay someone to do something for you, such as mowing your lawn or painting your house, giving you more time to pursue both money-making and leisurely activities. After you earn your money, having control over your financial situation will allow you to work less and retire earlier, putting even more time back in your hands.
Of course not everyone has these luxuries, but that doesn’t mean your time is or should be wasted. Working hard while you’re young can help establish the financial foundation to allow you to pursue your dreams and leisure later in life. Just because you’re not in the position to have money work like this for you right now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard towards it, as delayed gratification will be a huge time saver and earner for your future self.
Understanding how money can be used to manage your time allows you to put your money to work towards aspirations both big and small, and gives you further motivation to continue pursuing them for future time-saving benefits.
5. An indicator of character
A person’s relationship with money can tell you a lot about the content of their character.
If someone is consumed only by trying to increase the number of commas in their bank account, you can reasonably assume that this person is shallow and out of touch with other aspects of their life. How someone earns their money also teaches you a lot about their character through understanding the ethical boundaries some are willing to cross in order to make their living.
This includes everything from keeping employees in the dark about unsafe working conditions to selling drugs with the intention of addicting a recurring customer. Just because someone is acting within the law doesn’t mean they are acting ethically, and how far someone is willing to go into this grey area unveils a lot about their moral values.
Money exposes stinginess and greed, showing you what some people truly value above all else. As Henry Ford once said, “money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them,” but the flip side of this conveys positive characteristics.
Thinking about money as a vehicle to live life on your own terms and create happiness for others, rather than being happy with simply having money, convey’s a lot about someone’s true intentions. Someone driven to helping others through their career ahead of making money, such as teachers and police officers, and those that dedicate their lives towards non-profit work show a more mission-oriented career path rather than focusing on personal achievement. Exhibiting charity and giving back through one’s pocketbook is also a reflection of someone’s outward thinking nature.
Even for something minute like realizing the girl you like is an avid Taylor Swift fan based on the shirt she bought, analyzing someone’s relationship with money can help you dive below the surface of people you’re trying to learn more about by enlightening you on their goals, morals, and interests.
6. A relationship builder
While it is true that money can’t buy love, it does bring people together more than you might realize. Think about it, if you met your spouse in college, a new friend at your gym, or another family while dining out, the power of money brought you together!
Furthermore, people often come together around a good idea, a promising business opportunity, and/or a common goal in order to make money. This leads to the establishment of mutually beneficial connections and partnerships, linking people together through their money-making endeavors.
Try to set aside income to invest in making yourself a more complete person through pursuing your passions and dreams. Picking up a hobby or taking a class you’ve always wanted to provides happiness while getting to meet new people in the process. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, and can be as simple as buying a pair of running shoes to run with some people in your neighborhood or buying a softball glove to join your town’s recreational league.
Don’t skimp out on making yourself a well-rounded individual if your economic situation allows it, as there is much more to life than the money you spend.
7. A piece of paper
At its core, this is all that money is, and you shouldn’t let a green piece of paper have more control over you than you have over it.
Mastering money goes beyond having an abundance of it, but it’s about having the mindset that money is a tool for you to utilize throughout your life rather than merely a medium of exchange. Money has the power to build your dreams, show you important characteristics in others, and create ease in your daily life when you maximize control over your finances and allow yourself to consider it in this way.
So many aspects of modern life revolve around the concept of money, and your attitude towards this is key to maximizing how you use your hard-earned dollars. I hope this article enlightened you on the various ways money can be used to reach goals in all areas of your life, and that you will apply these philosophies to both budgeting and understanding the world.
Even if you don’t have a lot of money, remember this; there is more to life than wealth, and if you want to truly feel rich, count the things you have that money can’t buy.
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