Use Money to Embrace Joy

Let’s talk about MONEY. Some people say it makes the world go ‘round.  Others say it doesn’t matter how much or how little you have… it’s always a problem. 

I didn’t grow up hearing a lot about our financial situation, but I know I always had enough to eat, clothes to wear, and a warm house to come home to. And that’s valuable.  

As a newly married woman, learning to talk openly about finances has been a real stretch for me. I’ve been so used to making decisions for myself that my brain thinks it’s too complicated to have a whole other PERSON involved.  Usually, I get nervous and overthink the scenario before I even approach my husband about a money issue, which of course leads to anxiety and stress.  

It’s been almost a year that we’ve been married, and I can already tell you… I gotta let that sh*t go.  It is SO MUCH EASIER to have a partner to figure things out with, and I have zero reason to stress about money when it comes to how we will handle it in our life together.  We are a team and we can figure things out.  I’m telling you… find yourself a partner like mine who knows the value of money and isn’t scared of communication around the topic of money, while also recognizing that it is not the only thing that matters in life.  Man, did I hit the jackpot on that one.  Wow.  

Anyway, I have found that the posture I take towards financial decisions really matters, whether it is deciding to buy a coffee for the third time this week or deciding to pay off debt faster or invest in retirement.  I usually find myself having an internal dialogue about whether or not a decision is a good idea and why, and there is one thought that usually brings the decision into sharp focus. 

That thought is this: will this decision bring my stress level up or down?  

If the answer is up, then guess what… it’s pretty easy to say no to something.  Sure, if it’s something small like buying a coffee or a candy bar, I might say yes and be satisfied for a little while.  But if I really contemplate for a bit and I think about all those beverages and snacks added together, I realize they take a toll on the bank account AND my mental and physical health, and that is a big increase in stress!  

On a bigger scale, if my husband and I are trying to save up for vacation or a car or football season tickets, it’s much easier for me to cut out the little things in order to slowly put more money towards those big purchases.  And guess what?  My stress level plummets!  I find it worthwhile to have a common goal to reach with him, and therefore knowing we are both on the same page creates unity and less stress for us both.  

One other thought I’ve recently had about money is this: it’s just money.  It is not what gives me value.  It is not the end goal for my life to attain as much money as possible.  It comes and it goes.  Usually there is a way to get more.  Point being, I don’t want my life to be about money, whether that’s a surplus or a lack of it.  I just want to use money to live a good life.  A good life to me, means having open hands that allow money to come and go; it means being a responsible adult who is able to pay my bills, while also doing some fun things; and certainly, it means helping people whenever I can. I want to use money to embrace joy, whatever that may look like.

So, the next time a decision around money needs to be made, I am going to try my darndest to keep my cool, remember that I have an amazing husband who is my partner in all things including money, ask the stress level question, and think about how that decision helps me live a good life.  Breaking it down like that already makes me feel less worry and angst about money in general, and who knows… maybe it’ll help you too.  Give it a try.  

Doing my best to figure things out, 
Sonja K.

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