Many families struggle to pay the bills each month. The American dream says we should work hard so we can afford a house, a car, and lots of nice things. Then once we have some equity in our house, we should upgrade to a bigger house and take out a new 30-year mortgage. We should buy a new car every few years. And we tell ourselves, “Get something nice. You deserve it.” We work so we can buy more. The more we buy, the more we work.
Social media, television, newspapers, and advertisements all sell the dream. It is easy to get caught up in wanting more. We see our friends, neighbors, and family with nice things. We want it too. So many people take every opportunity to spend. How many times do you hear, “when I get my taxes back, I’m going to buy….” Most people just don’t save their money.
Take time to evaluate your family values. Talk to your partner about what is most important to you. When you are 80 years old, do you want to look back at your life and say “Boy, we sure bought some nice things.” Or would you rather say, “We didn’t have much, but we sure had fun.” Whatever your goals are, make sure you are living according to your values.
For some families, this might mean downsizing. Perhaps you want one parent to stay at home. This might mean getting a smaller home or only having one vehicle. There’s no shame in that. However, many people would feel bad about this. Or perhaps your goal is to only work part time so you can spend more time with your family. If that is your goal, find a way to make this happen. Or perhaps your goal is to save enough money to take that dream vacation. If so, maybe working some overtime makes sense.
Living according to your values will prevent a mid-life crisis. It also gives people satisfaction and peace about their life. Money seems to be a driving factor that either allows people to live according to their values, or not. Determine what you value most in life and decide what changes you need to make to live according to those values.