Purpose – what does this word mean to you?
The dictionary defines purpose as ‘The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists’
To me the meaning of purpose is what drives me, it is the ‘why’ and the reason.
I think purpose is something we all need to find; in everything we do. Purpose is related to goals – the purpose of something could be to ultimately achieve a goal. But then the purpose itself should be worthwhile.
WTF did I just say?? Let me explain….
I want to have more money (don’t we all)
Quite simply, I could cut back all my spending, I could cancel my gym membership, I could eat rice and no meat, I could spend my holidays in London and not travel, I could pass on all the opportunities to go to out with friends, I could sit at home and count all the money that I am saving… I could take it to extremes.
In reality, this is a ridiculous idea. The purpose of my goal is so that I don’t have to worry about money and can be happy. But ultimately, I could end up taking away the things that make me happy – sport, gym, friends, holidays – and end up being a sad loner with a slightly healthier bank balance.
Instead, I have asked myself the following question
‘What is important in your life?’
I want to help others, I want to be close with my wife and family and friends, I want to see the world and I want to live without regret.
To do this, I don’t need a certain amount of money, I don’t need to hit a target to be immediately fulfilled. Instead, I need money along the way, I need money to go out with my friends, to treat my younger brother, I need to sponsor my friends charity challenge that I didn’t plan for and to go out for that spur-of-the-moment meal. These are the things that matter to me – Budgets are a baseline, they are not the law!
The aim of this post is to try and make you think of purpose - ask yourself what is the purpose of this goal.
Too often people become obsessed with reaching a goal, they end up forgetting purpose. They become obsessed with the details. I will be controversial and say that there are a lot of financial bloggers out there that I do not agree with. Why aim to have 3 no spend days in a week? What does this achieve? You probably end up spending more money on the other days by over-indulging or buying things that you think you might need for a no spend day. Let’s face it – the same bills still need paid and it is a different way of trying to control unnecessary spending. Instead, why not allow yourself to get a Starbucks if you have had a hard day at work, go ahead and buy that sandwich if you are in a mad rush – just learn the self-discipline of controlling your urges. It is hard – but instead of thinking of how to cotton-wool yourself – just do it. Seriously!
Too often I read holiday posts on blogs of personal finance ‘experts’ who are proud to have stayed within their weekly budget and met their target of no spend days! I seriously wonder who they are trying to impress? They have become totally obsessed and are potentially missing out on some great times!
Mrs Scot and I have budgeted for our honeymoon trip next month, but if a great opportunity comes along that we didn’t think about – wait and see how quickly the credit card comes out or we dip into savings !
Don’t get me wrong, I am still Savvy and Frugal; I will always look for the best price and try and get the best deal. I will always get cashback and airmiles and points. I will however keep purpose in mind.
If you remember the purpose of something, you will always make the right choice.