Practice Contentment to Save Cash
By Shannon M. Medisky
The most sure-fire way to save cash is to simply not spend it. It’s far easier said than done, though. From the unexpected expenses that inevitably pop up at the most inopportune time to those times when (gasp!) you find yourself looking for a bit of retail therapy, the temptation to spend money lurks around every corner. A conscious effort to practice more contentment, though, can help curb the craving and help you keep more money with you instead of shelling it out to others.
Contentment sometimes gets a bad rap, though. Sometimes considered just a synonym for “lazy” or a nice way to say “complacent,” contentment is often incorrectly defined. A quick glance at any dictionary, however, will reveal that the definition of contentment is actually “happiness” and “the state of satisfaction.” And who doesn’t want both of those? Even better, why not enjoy happiness and satisfaction while also enjoying a big, fat wallet? As luck would have it, practicing a bit more of the prior often easily leads to the latter.
Practicing contentment is, gratefully, easy to do and pays off just as quickly. Start taking better mental inventory of the things you already have and have going for you. Choosing to purposefully take “the glass is half full” approach works amazingly well to help put things in perspective and help keep money where it needs to be. When you start shifting your focus on the positive aspects, you prime yourself to automatically seek out the silver lining. This in turn acts an insurance policy against the “oh, woe is me” syndrome and can help keep you from unnecessarily plunking down your cash.
Contentment can also help keep you in the right frame of mind for considering the true cost of something, material or otherwise. If you’re already aware of just how good you’ve got it, then you’re far less likely to pigeon hole yourself in a bad corner. Content, happy people are usually optimistic people, and optimistic people often have more choices and options at their disposal because they’re better able to see opportunities even if they happen to be in disguise.
When life hands you a problem or a challenge and asks for a (financial) handout, be ready to fight back courtesy of contentment. Stop lamenting your tiny kitchen and instead enjoy the efficiency it offers. If your grocery budget is stretched to the max and seemingly impossible to work with, embrace the opportunity to learn some new culinary magic by undertaking more cooking and baking from scratch. Is some of your furniture on its last leg? Look forward to the challenge of finding and reinventing free or inexpensive furniture to suit your needs (think thrift stores, Craig’s List, garage sales or Freecycle.org). When one of life’s little emergencies creeps up, contentment can arm you with the gratitude to say, “Wait, things aren’t so bad. I have choices.” Don’t let life have the upper hand when it comes to you or your checkbook. When you have choices, you’re in control. Without the frame of mind that contentment provides, you far more likely to feel like you have to accept the hand that life dealt you. Here’s the secret: the truth is, you don’t.
Photo credit: ansy
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