Reality Check: Would you call your money names?

Do you make your decisions based on solid information, i.e. the facts? I’d like to think that I do, but honestly, I know that’s not always the case. My perspective on whatever it is that I’m trying to decide has an influence too.

I think that many of the choices we make and the actions we take depend on how we look at things. If we choose a different perspective, then we might also choose more effective actions.

So, I’m always on the lookout for different ways of looking at issues that are common to many of us. One set of problems that comes up for many people is associated with money.

Money is important because it influences so many aspects of our lives. Without money, we don’t have security. Money can also contribute to our feelings of freedom, or lack thereof.

Without money, we lose power to control our own lives. Then others might take control, making us work at things we don’t want to do, or intruding into our lives in judgmental ways.

Money doesn’t buy us love, but it sure helps our relationships if it’s there to provide food, clothes and a roof over our loved one’s heads. And while it’s certainly true that we can find fun for free, having some money expands our fun opportunities, doesn’t it?

In every aspect of our lives that’s been identified by Dr. Glasser as a basic need, money can play a role. And whether you see yourself as well-off, just getting by, or falling behind, how you perceive your money situation has an impact on your satisfaction and your decisions.

Apparently there are two ways you can improve the reality of your money situation: you can increase what’s coming in or decrease what’s going out. No big surprises there, eh?

During my vacation reading, I found a magazine article that offered an intriguing suggestion for keeping your expenditures directed toward what’s really important to you. If you realize that how you spend your money doesn’t really fit your priorities, the author suggests that you try naming your money.

That’s right. Rather than thinking of it as money, call it a name that reflects what your money actually means to you. What do you want your money to bring to your life?

For example, perhaps security is very important for you. If so, you could start referring to your money as “my security.”

Next time you dash to the store to pick up milk and get distracted by the attractive display of junk food by the checkout, ask, “Do I really want to spend my security on a big bag of chips? Or do I want to put those couple of bucks on my mortgage?”

When you are considering the choice of an expensive vacation: “Do I really want to trade my security for a week in Cuba? Or do I want to go to the beach here and keep my security?”

Perhaps you have a strong wish for freedom. Or your children’s education is top of mind for you. Whatever your priority, call your money by that name. “Do I want to spend my freedom on this jacket?” “Do I want to spend my children’s education on a new TV?”

The point of offering this perspective isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t spend your money. However, if you are unhappy with your money situation, then it might motivate you to ask, “What is my money important for?” That’s the name to call your money.

Whenever you are about to tap that debit card or fork over those bills, think of your money by its new name.
Do you think giving your money a name would help you think before spending?

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