Let go of the look

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How much money do you spend because of the belief that if it costs more, it must be better?

It will look better, it will feel better, it will be more valuable.

This was an interesting conversation I had with a very dear friend of mine recently when I visited her in her new home.  I complimented her on a beautiful bunch of roses that were the centre piece of her dining table and she smiled at me with a glint in her eye.

Recently we have both attended a Wealth course (the same course at different times)  and as a byproduct of the course, we have both been seriously evaluating how we spend our money.  We had already had numerous conversations about spending plans, saving plans and wealth creation strategies.

I asked her why she was smiling, “Today I had an ah ha moment, and I am loving it!” she replied

“I walked into the shop because I wanted to buy some flowers.  I love flowers and I regularly buy them to have at home.  There was lots of different bunches, some for $15 right through to $40.  Normally I would of bought a more expensive bunch and as I stood there looking at these flowers, I asked myself why. Why do I always buy the more expensive ones?”

I thought that was a great question.  As someone who is obsessed with self exploration as well as growth, I was curious to hear the answer.

My friend replied ” Because I had the money to buy the more expensive ones so therefore I did.  It literally came down to that. I thought that they looked better. In fact, to be honest, I thought I looked better buying them”

“After standing in the shop today and really looking at the flowers, I realised that the cheaper bunch was just as beautiful, just a bit smaller”

“In that moment, I realised that I waste so much money thinking about the “look” of things.  I realised that if  I made these little day to day spending decisions with my wealth creation strategies  in mind, how different would my finances look in 20 years time?” She said

Wow! If she had the money, she would spend it.  It was about the look of the flowers as opposed to the enjoyment. The perceived extra value of them because they cost more, interesting!! Yet how was this eroding her long term wealth?

I swiftly examined if this shows up in my life, and it does!  I went on to ask numerous others over the course of the next few days and it became apparent that this belief was playing out in many people’s lives.

We are spending money because of how the thing looks, not because of the pleasure it will bring us, not because it’s what we need or even want and certainly not because it will support us in building our future wealth.

My Girlfriend went on to explain that she has been “crunching her numbers”.  If she spends just $100 less per week, a couple of less coffees, slightly cheaper flowers, buys more from the supermarket on special and in bulk, cancels one magazine subscription and takes her lunch to work one day a week, and invests the $100 instead, it becomes A LOT of money!

In five years, with a return of 10% it’s just under $35,000. In ten years, it about $91,000. In 20 years it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars!

If someone said to me, “Are you okay with spending over three hundred thousand dollars on looking good?” I would laugh in that persons face and say that I don’t care what other people think but in actual fact, what my girlfriend did, was shine the light on the fact that maybe I do, more than what I realise!  I care about the look of things.

This conversation, as simple as it was, really got me thinking! So many of us are unconscious in how we spend yet would love to have financial freedom. We miss it, because its $5 here and $10 there but that all adds up.

The “look” is costing us! And costing way too much in the long term.

Something to think about, I hear you say.