Examine Your Priorities

In a world that is busy, busy, busy, how often do we take time to examine our priorities? It’s easy to think that life is expensive these days, but what does that mean?

I attend a regular networking event at which people present their innovative business ideas, and while I know many of these ideas are in response to real demands that exist in the world for products or services, sometimes I hear the idea and wonder why on earth that product or service is demanded. One such idea was a lounge in the airport where you would pay someone to watch your pet as you walked around the airport.

Here are some of the things Americans (and possibly people from other countries) spend their money on that make me think we must be very rich. If you spend money on these things, I’m not judging you. I just want you to think about how you might have come to see this thing as necessary in your life.

  • $50-$75 each way to take your pet on a trip with you
  • $100 a pop to get a voluntary IV drip that will cure your hangover
  • $25-100 per month on regular manicures and pedicures
  • $35-120 per month on regular hair coloring
  • $100-600 new phone every 1-2 years
  • $100-400 per month on expensive skincare products (not prescription)
  • $50-200 per month on cable television
  • $50-5000 per year buying new things instead of used items
  • $250-750 extra per month to rent or mortgage a space much bigger than you need

That can add up to thousands (even tens of thousands) of dollars each year.

How else could you be spending that money? Do you ever cry “poor” even though you spend money on those types of things? I want to be debt-free and with money in the bank. I want to have options in life, not be mired in debt that requires me to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I want to know that even if my income falls to $20,000/year, I could still pay all my essential bills and put food on my table. I don’t want to have the anxiety of knowing that I’ve locked myself into a certain income because of the monthly expenses I’ve taken on and feel are required in my life.

I also want to know that in an emergency, I have a safety net.

I know that there are certain things we all think we “deserve” or “need” as citizens of the U.S. But there are many countries in the world where these things aren’t available, and those people are perfectly happy (possibly happier).

Sometimes our stresses are ones we impose on ourselves. Because we adhere to society’s standards, we feel all these expenses are necessary. But they really aren’t. They’re things we choose. And we can choose differently if we examine our priorities.

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