How often have you heard or even said, "Money does not matter"? How do we treat things that matter? And how do we treat things that do not matter? When things matter, we pay attention to them. We treat them with care and we are mindful of what we do with them. This is the attitude we need to have with our money – no matter how little or how much we earn.
On the other hand, when things do not matter, we are frivolous with them. At times, we may even throw them away without a second thought. That is how some of us treat money.
Have you ever noticed how little people talk about money? There seems to be a taboo associated with talking about it. People who have it do not talk about it for fear of sounding gauche or tacky. People who do not have it do not talk about it for fear of being looked down on.
But, we as a society should be talking about money. With Americans' savings at an all-time low and debt at an all-time high, we need to start talking about money. Discussions about money should be taking place in the boardroom, the bedroom, and around the dinner table, where our children can start to learn the importance of fiscal responsibility.
To internalize the idea that money matters, here are some things we should be talking about.
Pay attention to your money. Pay attention to where your money goes, how you spend it and what you spend it on – no matter how little or how much you earn. Many people can tell you how much they make an hour, a day, a week, and annually, but can not tell you where the money goes.
Pay yourself first. Make a commitment to save a certain percentage of your income. Make saving a habit. Direct deposit ten percent of your paycheck into an account or write yourself a check every month and set it aside for savings.
Make spending money hard. Do not carry a lot of cash on you and leave the credit cards at home. This way you are not tempted to buy everything you think you need or want or because it's on sale.
Use credit wisely. Credit is important, but too often people misuse it. Before making a purchase ask yourself if the item that you want to purchase is something you need, or simply want. If it's a want, why not save for it so that you can pay cash? If it's a need, how long will it take you to pay it off? If at all possible, pay the full balance owed on your credit card at the end of the month.
Plan for emergencies. Stuff happens. Sickness, accidents, and layoffs are just some of the curveballs that life can throw our way. So, as the saying go, "save for a rainy day". It's equally important, however, to "save for opportunities" – those unexpected good things that might happen to give you an edge – ie if you had the money to follow through on.
Finally, respect the power of money and use it wisely. And, please know that no matter what you're doing or plan to do, MONEY DOES MATTER!