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5 money truths that aren't obvious

Understanding these truths will give you more control over your spending and your satisfaction with life.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 4, 2012 10:05AM

This post comes from David Ning at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Wise Bread on MSN MoneyOne of the beautiful things about life is that there are always pleasant surprises waiting to be discovered. Even with the sometimes-mundane topic of money, there are revelations to be had.

 

Here are five such money truths that aren't necessarily obvious. (See also: "10 monthly bills you can slash.")

 

Always trying to make more money is the wrong pursuit. The majority of us can name a few reasons why we want more money. Having the freedom to spend more time with our families, providing a comfortable environment for our kids, or having a comfortable retirement are just a few of the real motivations people have to earn more.

 

Yet, the way most of us try to make more actually undermines what we are trying to achieve, because we always pour more hours into our moneymaking opportunities. Will you spend more time with your family if you work late into every weeknight? Will you be able to provide a comfortable environment for your child if you are always exhausted? If you spend all your time sitting in front of a computer for decades, do you think your health will hold up for a comfortable retirement?

 

Drawing the fine line between not working enough and working too much is a personal matter, but do take some time to make that decision, because more money doesn't automatically mean you are going to be better off. (Post continues below.)

Having money to spend is more satisfying than spending. It's natural to get used to what you already own, but once you spend that cash, it's gone forever. On the other hand, knowing that you have the money to spend is very comforting and will provide you with lasting joy. That's why you should save as much as you can as fast as you can. One day, you will have enough money to quit whenever you want, and that beats owning all that high-priced merchandise any day.

 

The added bonus is that when you save early on and have your money working for you, high-priced merchandise will become pretty affordable.

 

The more you buy, the more you want to buy. When our impulses urge us to buy, the seemingly obvious solution is to satisfy that impulse. Yet the more we buy, the more we will want to buy because we end up being subjected to the genius marketing efforts of the retail industry when we are in malls, online stores, and other outlets more often.

 

This is, of course, a cycle that we can stop if we just start holding out.

 

Getting savings when you shop doesn't mean you saved money. Have you ever bought anything you don't need just because it was on sale? Even finding an online promotion code for 90% off means you wasted 10% if you didn't need that item in the first place. Retailers play to our emotions often, but we shouldn't repeatedly let them take advantage of us.

 

Frugal living is actually the opposite of sacrificing. Many of us think of living frugally as some sort of a sacrifice. Yes, it's true that you are often making a conscious effort to not buy something you thought you really wanted. But sometimes you are actually giving yourself the opportunity to achieve so much more.

 

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to start my own business. If I had been living the high life and had very high monthly expenses, I would never have had the guts to make the leap. And even if I did jump, the pressure of needing to pay for huge expenses right off the bat would probably have adversely affected my business decisions early on.

Fast-forward a few years, and I'm making more money than I ever did, which gives me the opportunity to afford luxuries I could only dream possible while I was working 9 to 5. Even though I don't intend to inflate my lifestyle drastically, the ability to do so is comforting, to say the least. And all this because I lived frugally at the beginning. Sacrificing? Hardly.

 

Not everyone will end up starting their own business, but too many people miss opportunities because they need the income of their current job. You never know when that opportunity will present itself, so it's better to be prepared.

 

More on Wise Bread and MSN Money:

1Comment
Apr 4, 2012 10:57AM
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Open-mouthed I agree pursuit of money alone is not the answer to having a good life there is a point when you have enough unfortunately some of us have to struggle for life to get out of debt and can't stop pursuing the slippery dollars that some are always trying to swipe away from you either by systematic design or by chance..
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