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Don’t Give Money More Power Than it Deserves

Submitted by on September 8, 2014 – 7:17 am 83 Comments


SSCN5524 This weekend was FUN.Β  Hubby came home Friday night telling us about a free (FREE!!Β  My favorite word these days. πŸ™‚ ) event not 15 minutes from our home.Β  It was a classic car and airplane show.Β  Now, I grew up in the rough part of town, and although that came with lots of crazy downsides, it also came with an abundance of muscle cars.Β  Any good East Sider drove a muscle car, even if it was a bondoed up piece of crap.Β  Show me your ’69 Mustang, your ’70 Camaro or your GTO and you’ve got my heart forever. My love of the classic muscle car has only grown since I left the inner city, and I’ve long wished to take the kids and immerse them into the world of muscle car heaven on earth.Β  But muscle car shows here are usually $10-$15 bucks a person for admission, so we’ve chosen not to go to any of them.

So when Rick shared with me that there was a classic car event that was close to our house AND free, I got excited real quick.Β  And then, just as quickly, I got un-excited.Β  Here went the conversation in my head:

Oh man, that would be fun.Β  But it would cost gas money.Β  I want this debt paid off SO bad.Β  More than I want to go and admire a sea of classic muscle cars.Β  Yeah, it’d be fun, but being debt free would be more fun.Β  I think we’ll skip it.

But when I woke up Saturday morning, content to stay home and save gas money, Rick told me in no uncertain terms that we were going.Β  Knowing that Rick doesn’t usually tell me things “in no uncertain terms”, I resigned myself to give in to his wishes, and we went.

So, we get there, okay, and there is this absolutely gorgeous dark blue Camaro SS.Β  Rick says, “Hey, stand in front of it and I’ll take your picture. Then you can tell all of your blogging peeps that you bought yourself a new Camaro this weekend.”Β  We laughed and laughed at the hilarity of that, and about how those who know me well here would know that that line was a big bunch of hoo-haa.Β  Rick took the pic and we went on our way with the kids, giggling and drooling over the beautiful sea of metal.SSCN5520

Then I looked at the pic.

Here is a pic of the awesome Camaro without me and my stick.  :-)

Here is a pic of the awesome Camaro without me and my stick. πŸ™‚

Holy crap, I kid you not: the look on my face told everyone that I had a stick up my butt!!

And that’s when I realized that I had allowed money to have so much power over me that I had forgotten how to have fun and enjoy life.Β  I’ve been allowing money, for a good 8 months, to allow me to feel guilty, to feel scared, to beat myself up for past money mistakes, and to guide most every decision I make.

And that’s just wrong.Β 

I mean, yes, it’s important to manage our money well, but it’s more important not to let our money manage us.Β  Money isn’t crap.Β  Some have said that it is the “least thing” in the kingdom of God, and I believe it.Β  Why then, was I letting the “least thing” be the Lord of my life??Β  Why was I letting it steal my joy and my happiness and my ability to shower my family and others with happiness and love?

I don’t know, but I am resolving here and now not to let it happen again, and I hope you will too.

My friends, forgive my crudity, but money isn’t sh*t.Β  It means nothing.Β  It is nothing, except for a tool we are given so that we can love, serve and bless others.Β  So put it in its proper place and focus on enjoying the truly important things in life.Β  You’ll be much happier, I assure you.SSCN5525

After we spent a few hours on Saturday drooling over muscle cars and classic planes, we invited the friends we’d went with over for a nice BBQ and bonfire.Β  Man, was it fun.Β  The kids said it was the best day of their whole summer.Β  Then on Sunday, we drove around looking at some land, and then we spent a few fun-filled hours entertaining my cousin and her girls.Β  More fun.

When I sat down at the end of the day yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten how much fun life can be when you allow yourself to have fun.Β  And I decided that I would no longer let this debt rule our lives.Β  There’s too much fun to be had. πŸ™‚


  • Taylor Lee says:

    OMG I DO THIS. Seriously every time I want to buy a thing I think– omg, but how much does that cost, how far behind will that put me for retirement, etc etc etc. And thus I’ve been agonizing over buying a backpack for six months. A backpack for goodness sakes! I was supposed to buy it for myself for my birthday… last year. Oh, money, money, how low I have bowed to thee.

    • Laurie says:

      I can SO identify, Taylor!!!!! Here’s to learning to NOT let money rule our worlds. πŸ™‚

    • Christelle says:

      To be fair, it is a good idea to wait before making purchases, especially if they may seem frivolous or a spur-of-the-moment kinda of fancy. We do, after all, live in a society where every place we walk and everything we see will have one form of advertising on it, pushing us towards spending money and buying useless things. And so, it’s important to resist impulses of needless wants.

      I can identify a lot, though — everytime I have to make a purchase, I spend days and weeks researching it to find the best models, and then I spend some more time finding the cheapest price. I wanted a graphic tablet earlier this week. My browser was full with dozens of links of different reviews, price comparisons, models comparisons… I was thinking, I will not get fooled.

      That being said, I usually remind myself of my personal money-philosophy; money is only worth what you spend it for. Studies have researched this subject with the adage that money cannot buy happiness in mind… They found out that they could, if money was invested in experiences vs material. Now the backpack– is material. Though you could also associate to it the new possibilities that go with it. That could be the travel-backpack. The “I bring the blanket for the picnics!” backpack. Or just a better model that will save you some time and allow you to be more free with movements, space, and opportunity to do other stuff (like in this luggage scene in Up in the Air).

      And then just do it, and make yourself happy. I bought a tablet that seemed to be fine for me, even though it was not the cheapest model, and even though it might turn out to have a few issues. But it felt so relieving to just know it was done!

      Good article πŸ™‚

  • Brit says:

    Glad you had fun this weekend. I think we forget what is like because the only thing in our mind is “money.” We want to save money. We have to save money for the wedding. We can’t go here or there because we have to save. I am with you on this. That’s why we decided to go on our honeymoon. What are we going to say in a few years. We didn’t go to honeymoon because of money. Sometime I feel like I need a vacation from money itself. We have to be careful to let money control us, either when we spend or save, you know what I mean.
    Glad you had a fabulous weekend. In a few years you will own that car! πŸ˜‰

    • Laurie says:

      Brit, SO glad you are doing that honeymoon, because you’re right. You want to look back in a few years and not regret that you didn’t go because of a stupid thing like money!

  • Oh, I can totally relate. But it’s okay to have fun sometimes! Glad you got out and spent some quality time with your hubby! =)

  • I have to tell myself the same thing! I get caught up with investing, buying stocks and increasing our retirement contributions until we have no money left for fun. Similar to you two, my wife and I keep each other balanced. Don’t get me wrong, she is cheap, but we try not to always be cheap at the same time. Money is a great tool to enjoy life as long as we don’t go overboard. I’m glad you had fun at the show! πŸ™‚

  • Great post! It’s true, Laurie, money is sh&t, and we were not put here to be held prisoner by it either. Yes, we all need to make smart choices, but we also need to enjoy the moments that are presented to us as gifts. Our money journeys are long ones, but those special moments are not there forever and we wouldn’t want to miss them for the wrong reason.

  • Michelle says:

    I love those cars! And I’m glad that you had this epiphany. I think that if you were to calculate the amount of money you could have ended paying versus the cost for gas you would have laughed at the amount of money you weren’t spending.

    It’s really hard trying to stay focused, work your plan, and get things done. At least you’re 100% focused and not half-a@@ed trying to get things done.

    Thanks for this post πŸ™‚

    • Laurie says:

      I know you’re right, Michelle! I mean, for a measly $7.50 in gas (and $10 for kettle corn for the kids) we would’ve missed out on what the kids called the “funnest day all summer”? Please!

  • I’m glad that your DH insisted on you going to the free car show otherwise it may taken you longer to absorb such an important lesson. Never allow debt to steal your joy. Being in debt is one thing, but in the past I also allowed my debt to paralyze me on enjoying the simplest of things and it’s not right. Money is just a tool. It is not who we are πŸ™‚

  • I’m glad that you enjoyed it Laurie and those muscle cars are really looking nice! I had a fun weekend too, we went to a newly open “affordable” restaurant in our city. Well, I love to eat, that’s why I wanted to try their food and they served delicious foods!

  • Kara says:

    Very very important to remember. I can let money put me in the worst mood. I’m glad you had a fun weekend!!!

  • What a good perspective to have. I can totally relate to this–I am absolutely guilty of feeling guilty about spending money :). Mr. FW has a much more balanced approach though and helps to even me out on this front. Glad you had a good time this weekend!

  • Michelle says:

    YES1 I love this post. I am guilty of letting money rule my life. I am always thinking about budgets, savings plans, retirement and so on. Wes helps me live a little.

  • Great pots Laurie! We’ve been there too! You get so tightly wrapped around the money details you lose sight of other things. Glad you had a great weekend!

  • Oh…that would have be a funny blog post…”I bought a Camaro” and a picture of you next to it! You’re not alone…sometimes I let money control me too much where I am pennywise and pound foolish.

  • I’m not like that at all. If it’s free, I try to make it. My reasoning is that I’m just engaged and I have to keep taking my girl out to places every once in a while. If I find a free event, I turn it into a date and don’t have to worry about coming up with a date activity where I have to pay money.

  • Oh my gosh, I’m so guilty of this regularly too. I feel like part of the reason this summer was so incredible was because in July and August I just decided I was going to have fun and that when people invited me places, I was just going to go.

    I spent all of last year traveling the country with my ex-boyfriend and we would both regularly decide we were going to go see and do things in each city we were in (for work) to save some cash. After months and months of this and growing really unhappy, we looked back and realized our favorite times were out doing something, even if it was really cheap or some free event we found in some city.

    It really can get to the point where you get ridiculous about saving a few dollars.

  • Kirsten says:

    I can’t believe my husband didn’t know about classic airplanes being shown anywhere within a 500 mile radius of us AND try to drag me over there.

    I’m with you. I want to pay off my debt very badly, too, but you have to balance it out and have a little bit of a life every now and then.

  • “Why then, was I letting the β€œleast thing” be the Lord of my life??” Love this, Laurie! You are definitely not alone in doing this. Many of the people I work with do this as well. Money can be all-consuming when we let it. And like you said, we need to be the boss of it, not the other way around. I’m glad you allowed yourself to let go and enjoy yourself. And I can tell you that being able to have fun, relax and enjoy life are often things that help speed up your debt repayment too.

  • Amy says:

    Laurie, I really love your attitude. Good for you, and thanks for the inspiration!

  • I so love this, Laurie! I’ve been beating myself up over a lot lately, and it’s been a drag. In the eyes of others, I’m being a little ridiculous with how little I want to spend, but I kept believing in moving in the right direction with debt and savings. What I didn’t realize was that happened to be the wrong direction for our lives. It’s very possible to make too many sacrifices, and it’s important to remember to enjoy what life has to offer. I did that last weekend, no regrets! Glad you did the same.

  • Hey Laurie…thanks for sharing the pics of those classic cars!!

    “And I decided that I would no longer let this debt rule our lives. There’s too much fun to be had.” – This is the best bottom line advice you can give anyone. Debt doesn’t control you…you control it! So live a little will ya!! πŸ™‚

    Take care and glad you had a fun night out!

    My best to all.


  • jim says:

    I am so disappointed you didn’t do the “I bought a camaro” pic and article. I would have cried, I’d be laughing so hard. You could always do it for an April 1 blog.

    Good for you! We’ve all been there and done that. Glad you got talked into it.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I would have had the picture of me not been so bad. πŸ™‚ I knew you for one would’ve totally appreciated a post like that. πŸ˜‰

  • Mackenzie says:

    Awesome post Laurie! Totally know what you mean; I feel the same way regarding money and feel that we should forgo certain things to pay off our debt. But my husband reminds me that we have to have some fun too. We balance each other out just like you and your husband do. πŸ™‚

  • Great attitude change Laurie! Yes, we want to be debt free, but we can’t let that rule every aspect of our lives. I’ve been living it up more lately, spending time with friends and trying not to spend too much money, but still have fun! I’m glad you had a good weekend.

    • Laurie says:

      Glad you’ve found that balance too, Kayla!! Yeah, we won’t be increasing our entertainment budget by any means, but we will be simply just calming down a bit about this whole money thing. πŸ™‚

  • Autumn says:

    This is so important to remember. I feel like I’ve been spending way too much time and energy thinking about money lately. I want to make the best financial choices as possible…but I need to learn to go easier on myself. I actually did budget for some fun stuff this month, so hopefully that will help me live a little and not feel guilty about it!

    • Laurie says:

      Good for you, Autumn!!! This is vital to success, I believe. Some people can do the extreme thing and live on rice and beans for a year, but that aint’ us, and I’m okay with that. πŸ™‚

  • I know what you mean Laurie-I’ve been so uptight about job searching and fretting over what “might” happen that I’ve forgotten to loosen up a bit. That doesn’t even mean spending money, but it does mean doing stuff where Im not thinking about it 24/7! Glad you had a good time!

    • Laurie says:

      It’s amazing how easy it is to get into that uptight place, isn’t it Tonya??? Why do we do that? It never really seems to accomplish much. πŸ™‚

  • More often than not, I do this to myself. Even my time is lower on the totem pole than money, for no reason at all. Guilt will stop me from walking to the ice cream shop to get ice cream even though the end of the season is looming. Thank you for writing this, it’s a good reminder that money is only a component of life, not the end all be all we sometimes make it to be.

  • That’s the spirit, Laurie! I know I pull the gas card a lot too, and I need to not be blinded by the process. Sounds like Rick knew how to slowly extricate the stick up your butt. What a guy!! πŸ˜€

  • Stacey says:

    Good post. It’s hard not to consult the bank balance every time there is a choice to be made. You’re right, money should be a useful tool, but not have the power to control our lives. How weird would it be if we all had to check with our hammer or snowblower before we could make a decision?

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, love that, Stacey!!! I remember reading on another post about how a guy said “That’s like saying my fork made me fat.” SO true!

  • I can relate to how you felt. I have trouble going out to eat if we don’t have a gift card, coupon, or preferably both. I am constantly thinking in terms of money and trying to make more so that I can pay down debt, build savings, etc. It ends up taking most of my time, so there isn’t much time left over to relax and have fun. But I need to start allocating some time to just having FUN.

  • Money has power, to be sure. But you are right. It is very important that we not let it govern our lives completely. We only have one life. We should all try to find some balance.

    • Laurie says:

      Money is an inanimate object, and we on earth give it power, but really, we shouldn’t! We are the boss, not those little green rectangles. πŸ™‚

  • This is an awesome message Laurie – thank for sharing this story. I’ve gone through phases just like this, where I don’t want to do anything at all that costs any money, because I believe saving all my money for financial independence will make me the happiest! But something like a day on the golf course makes me incredibly happy, and when I realise I’m sacrificing that for too long, I realise I’m starting to miss the whole point of it.

    It’s even worse when it affects the people around you – which is what usually makes me rebound pretty quickly from these extremes, and realise the happiness of my family and friends is so important, even if it involves spending a chunk of money from time to time. It can be a tricky balance, but you have to find ways to enjoy the journey too!

    • Laurie says:

      So true, Jason!!! When we give money so much power, then it becomes our God. An inanimate object: can you imagine?? What was I thinking? πŸ™‚

  • Man oh man, I need to hear this. I give money way too much thought. If I’m being totally honest, it’s my biggest idol. For whatever reason, I put it first in a lot of situations.

  • Alexa says:

    I love this post and I completely agree. I’ve been trying to look at money as my employee lately. That’s all it is. I tell it what to do it doesn’t tell me.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean never having fun. It just means using my money the way that I want to use it. Not the way that society deems acceptable.

  • That’s the whole conundrum when it comes to money. If you don’t handle it well to begin with, it becomes your master. If you handle it well from the start, it serves you. And when you’re trying to turn things around, get out of your bad habits, and manage money properly, it takes a LONG, LONG time of intense focus. I guess the trick is to remain focused without remaining enslaved. Not easy! But I’m glad you struck that balance and had such a great week-end:)

  • You and I must be on the same wavelength, Laurie. “I had allowed money to have so much power over me that I had forgotten how to have fun and enjoy life.” This is me in a nutshell and the wake-up call I needed today. I spend my day worrying about this or that and it leaves me no energy for anything else, least of all something that might actually help me from not having to worry anymore! While I have to stay focused, it’s also okay to chill out. And let myself enjoy life too.

  • Wow. Great way to have some quality time with family. Seeing muscle and classic cars must be FUN especially when tickets are free!

  • Money whether too much of it or too little of it people spend way too much time thinking about it. At the end of our lives we aren’t thinking about how much more money we had or spent but about the experiences. I’m all about having fun.

  • Will says:

    I know exactly what you’re talking about! I once binge read Mr. Money Mustache one day. After that. I got livid every time someone suggested I DRIVE somewhere!

    I was elbow deep the whole MMM philosophy. I wasn’t having fun. Then I woke up after reading more blogs about more well-rounded living (no offense to MMM – just doesn’t quite do it for me though I still read his work religiously).

    The stick got dislodged.

    You’d like my family. We’re not rich but we like cars. My uncle has a ’66 GTO, my other uncle a ’69 RS SS Camaro, and my dad owns a ’53 Ford F100 with the engine out of his old ’68 GTO.

    I’m glad Rick forced you to go! πŸ™‚

    • Laurie says:

      OMG – I need to come and visit your family and farm for yet another reason now!!! Cars and farms? You guys got it goin’ on. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I feel the same way about MMM – he inspires me SO much, but I know that I need to use his stuff to be a better me, not to be another him. πŸ™‚

  • Bilgefisher says:

    If you become a miser with your money, the joy is gone and you lose sight of the whole reason your saving money in the first place.

  • catherine says:

    Love this Laurie and I’m guilty of this everyday. It’s so difficult to balance the emotions involved with money.

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