I wanted to jot down some life and money lessons I’ve learned in the last 36 years. It doesn’t mean I’ve perfected them and many are still a work in progress. But I find the more I’m in tune with these lessons, the more I get out of money, and out of life.
17 Money (and life) lessons I have learned
1. Time is valuable.
Like, way more valuable than money. I’m learning this more and more as my daughter gets older. I’m at my 9-5 job so I can provide for her, but then I give up spending precious moments with her during the day as she’s at daycare. And that’s hard and an expensive trade of money for time away from her. I’ve started this blog as a potential side hustle and way to possibly make more money that would offer a more flexible job than I have today. Interested in starting a blog? Click here to set one up!
2. There is no better medicine than laughter.
Seriously. Who else can relate? If I’m in a bad mood and someone can get me to laugh, it changes my entire mood instantly. Whether it’s with my husband, my daughter, or friends and family, a good laugh is the best medicine!
3. Learn to laugh at yourself.
It’s taken me a long time to learn this one and I’m honestly still not quite there in all situations. We’re all human. We make mistakes, we put out foot in our mouths, we trip and fall. The sooner you can learn to laugh at yourself, the easier and more laid back life will be.
4. Goals and dreams can be reached with a plan.
I know this, and it’s a work in progress for me. I’m currently using Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and am on step 6. The more my husband and I can align ourselves with what our life goals are and outline specifically what we are going to do to get us there increases the chance that we actually will. It feels great to be transparent with what we want out of life and know we’re working toward our dreams daily.
5. Create a mantra to reinforce goals.
I’ve found this one to be really beneficial. I come up with a short two or three sentence mantra, and repeat it to myself often. Once I’ve achieved my goal or the mantra has lost its luster, I’ll create a new one. It could just be a reiteration of your goals. Could be a fear you are trying to overcome. Could be a goal you are trying to reach. Positive affirmations that I recite verbally in the car or while I’m on a run, or think to myself have really helped me stay focused and achieve goals and overcome fears.
6. Don’t live with regret.
There is nothing you can do about what has been done in the past. And it certainly shouldn’t affect your future negatively. Learn from the past but don’t dwell on it.
7. Money doesn’t change who you are.
My earning power has gone up over the years. I make much more now than when I first got out of school. Even thinking back 7 years ago when my husband and I first purchased our house. I didn’t realize how house poor we were at the time until we started earning more. But making more doesn’t change who we are as people. I’m just as frugal today as I was 10 years ago, maybe even more so.
I create monthly couponing reports outlining our grocery spend so I am pretty frugal and in touch with spending. I’m not interested in a fancier car or fancier house even though we could technically afford it. I was born with a frugal gene that no amount of money will be able to shake and that’s perfectly okay.
8. Stop trying to impress others or keep up with the Jones’s.
No one cares how much money you have or don’t have. How much debt you have or don’t have. What brand of clothes you are wearing or what care you are driving. And if they do care, they aren’t the type of people you should care to have in your life anyway.
9. It’s okay to let go of friendships.
I have had a hard time emotionally letting go of some people and situations in my life. But I firmly believe that some people and some friendships come into our lives for a purpose, or for a specific timeframe. And when that purpose or timeframe is fulfilled, it’s okay to have the friendship organically dissolve.
I think about college friends I had who are now acquaintances. Work friends that I was so close with until I left the company and never spoke to them again. They fulfilled a purpose at the time, and that time has passed. It’s okay to not be close with them anymore but be grateful for the time they were in your life.
10. You have to make time to enjoy life and have fun.
I have to remind my husband of this all the time. Now granted our ideas of fun differ so while I see him working in the garden as work, he sees it as fun. If we spend all this time and money maintaining a large yard, we need to make sure we find time to play in it and enjoy it. Backyard games, playing in a sprinkler with our daughter, etc. Have you tried Yardzee? Check it out here.
11. Helping others helps you.
There is something that just feels really good about being able to help someone else. Maybe it’s solving a problem. Helping physically with a move or prepping a meal. Maybe it’s helping financially and donating or giving without expecting something in return. Giving feels good and if you’re in a place where you can help with time or money, you should do it!
12. Be positive.
My daughter is really into a book called The Pout Pout Fish. It’s so cute we read it almost every night. No one wants to be around a pout pout fish. Instead of spreading “dreary wearies” spread “cheery cheeries”. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll put others in a good mood, too.
12. There is nothing wrong with saying no.
The guilt you feel by doing so should not be the reason you say yes. If you want to say yes, say yes. If you don’t want to say yes, say no thank you and move on. You don’t have to go attend every get-together, go to every party or donate to every cause that asks. I find empowerment in saying yes to only what I truly want to say yes to.
14. Learn something new.
When I’m in a funk, learning something new is so stimulating and rewarding for me. It could be simply a new card or board game. Could be learning to crochet, taking that class you’ve been putting off, maybe even starting a blog. My passion for personal finance, saving, and couponing inspired me to start this blog. It’s so invigorating and empowering to learn new things. And you may discover a new passion you didn’t even realize you had.
15. It’s okay to let go of stuff.
I’m primarily talking about things you’ve received or acquired. Gifts you’ve been given. Hand me downs. Items from your past, things you’ve purchased but don’t have meaning for you. I feel like a weight has been lifted when I can finally part with something that I’ve been hanging on to over guilt or a feeling like I “have” to keep it. Let go of the stuff that’s not important to you. Take a picture, then donate it and feel good that someone else will be able to enjoy it instead of collecting dust in a closet somewhere.
16. Health is something invaluable!
Take care of yourself. Take care of your body; take care of your mental health. Take care of the ones you love. Nothing is more important than your physical and mental health!
17. Make mistakes and learn from them.
No one is perfect. I find making mistakes can be the best form of learning. Don’t dwell on them, find a few nuggets of inspiration and learning you can take with you and move forward.
Money and life really do go hand in hand. Having more money doesn’t necessarily make you happier. You keep learning at any age, that never stops. What are the biggest money lessonsor life lessons you have learned so far?
Any other life or money lessons you keep close to your heart?