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.
Modest Money says
I like this mindset. I’m not a big fan of the no-spend-days strategy either, but I guess some people need extra accountability to control their unnecessary spending. I think it also depends on your current financial standing. I’ve been pretty damn cheap lately, but since I’m between jobs I don’t have a whole lot of choice about it. If someone is making good money though, they should be enjoying some of that in the here and now. If they have debt though, it might be a good idea to clear that up before being more loose with their spending.
Modest Money recently posted..Career Lessons From My Mom
Your situation is a bit different while you are between jobs I guess, but I am glad you share the same thoughts 🙂
Shopping to Saving says
This is absolutely true! I am not one to force myself into no spend days, but I do like a challenge. For me I see it as a game and I am competitive so that’s when I start competing against myself to see how much I can save. I’m not the type to totally deprive myself…after all, I used to have shopaholic ways. I’m still recovering, so it’s hard for me to be “super frugal.” I’m lucky that I even have a budget haha.
But what you are saying is true, and purpose defines everything. I make sure to tell myself to look at the big picture and not get hung up on the details.
Shopping to Saving recently posted..Don’t Take No For An Answer Part 1: How To Negotiate Scholarship Money
I also like the idea of the competitions and challenge aspect of it all. I think that is a great way of reaching a goal/target when you actually have purpose. i.e. If someone can’t afford a weekend away with their friends because they have no money, a challenge would be a great way to cut back on unnecessary daily spends for a month – the purpose being that they are rewarded with something far greater than the temporary satisfaction of a sandwich!
Always seeing the big picture is the key 😀
Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife says
We’re working on paying down our debt, but for the first time in many years, we have the opportunity to travel this year and next year – and we’re going to do it. Yes, it means slowing the debt repayment significantly – but it also means enjoying our lives and experiencing things we may not be able to experience later in life.
No spend days are not really my thing – I find I just buy the same things on different days. 😛
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I’m delighted you are on my side 🙂
[email protected] says
So if I admit that “I am so over being frugal” I won’t get chucked out of the club then LOL
I hate the hair-shirt mentality – my finances are now a choice – to spend now or send later that ‘s all.
Focus on Frugality became a steady downward spiral – to search for abundance is a more positive direction.
[email protected] recently posted..Naan Bread
Haha no – you can join mine! Spend now or spend later is a great mentality!! I like that a lot.
That’s ok, so long as you learn.
On the other hand, I don’t see how you can learn without regretting. Regretting causes you to think long and hard about what happened.
learning to be a better person means learning how to not harm others in my book.
So, if you never regret, you won’t learn – that’s my understanding.
Regrets are important.
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I think you can learn without regretting by taking away lessons. You don’t necessarily have to regret what you did if something doesn’t go quite to plan, rather enjoy it, realise what you can do better. I think the only thing that you should regret is not attempting to fulfil your dreams – something that there is no excuse for
Budget & the Beach says
I appreciate that because I’m going through that a little right now. I just quit my gym which I LOVE, but I have been weighing the decision for quite some time, and right now, because it’s summer, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. (they just froze my acct. for three months so I could go back in winter if I wanted to). The other thing I’m weighing is if I should move in with a roommate. But I’m so happy where I live and I’m hoping I can find other, less painful ways to manage my budget without moving. I think if you get in the mindset of “lacking” all the time, you WILL be poor. Know what I mean?
Resending with the right blog link. 🙂
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Well said Savvy, I like the way you view purpose, I guess if that involves spending money to create experiences and memories, who is anyone to argue? Dig your site, glad I ran across it!