You’re browsing through your facebook and Instagram feed and pause scrolling when you see a photo of an acquaintance smiling at the camera, seemingly enjoying a nice vacation.
You’re thinking: “How could this person afford that vacation?”.
You’re both the same place in life but you can’t afford such opulence, and you feel a strong desire to get what they have.
There could be many reasons why someone can afford a lavish getaway – we don’t always know how others can afford certain things. It could be a vacation they’ve saved diligently for for years, they got a good deal, or they took out a substantial loan. In my business I get to talk to people who find different ways to afford things that might be perceived as luxurious experiences. But the circumstances are not always as extravagant as you see in the beautiful social media feeds.
Is this you true compass or a fleeting envy-trigger?
What’s important to you in life? Though your Instagram and Facebook feed is full of enviable vacation snapshots from blissful friends, ask yourself if vacation genuinely ranks high among your priorities or if it’s a surge of in-the-moment envy? Do you often feel like that when you scroll or is it only triggered when you see certain things popping up?
Many people don’t reflect on what’s important to them in life but spend money with their emotions. This behavior is labeled “instant gratification” and can result in squandering your hard-earned money on something that won’t bring you long-term satisfaction. I’ve been guilty of letting my emotions steer the financial ship but todays exercise has helped me.
Adjust Your Inner Money Compass
Take some time today for introspection and reflect on what is most important to you.
First, brainstorm on categories you like to spend money on: the fastest car, fancy furniture, closet full of Manolo shoes, dining experiences, camping adventures etc.
Once the spectrum of your interests are on the list, start prioritizing how important it is for your overall long-term satisfaction and joy. Top 3-5 is where you want to spend your money. These priorities can evolve over time.
For my client Julie B crafting memories by travelling to connect and spend time with family is most important as well as prioritizing buying quality food like organic, fresh vegetables – while clothing, shoes and bags takes a back seat in her quest for joy. To friends in my neighborhood, sports and health is a priority but what brand of car they drive is far down on the list.
Once you know your categories, and you see a tempting photo on social media that would usually drive you into a desire to spend, you can lean back instead knowing that it’s not as important to you as your first priority – so no need to throw money after it.