At the heart of successful saving and budgeting lies contentment. Surely you must hustle, go the extra mile to save money and bring in extra revenue, but these struggles are in vain if you do not have contentment. Contentment is to be at peace with where you are at in the present – and finding joy in that. It means making due with what is on hand instead of buying more. Helen Keller is credited with saying “Be happy with what you have, while working for what you want.” Perhaps this sums it up perfectly. Being content does not mean never dreaming of better or newer things, but it means calling a truce with your current circumstances. It means driving your old car until you can pay cash for a new one. It means not taking on debt to finance a lifestyle you simply cannot afford. It means knowing that while your clothes are not brand new, they get the job done.
The attitude of gratitude also means not doing these things begrudgingly. Secretly hoping someone steals your car so you can claim the insurance – while still being committed to your savings goal – is not gratitude. And when your attitude reflects that, the time it takes to reach your goal will feel that much longer. Rather, you must be content with a car that gets you to work everyday, even with its flaws. It is okay to work towards a newer vehicle, but the key is to stay committed to your savings plan until you have achieved it. Contentment also means that you will appreciate your new item that much more when you do finally receive it. What a wonderful feeling to know that you worked hard and achieved your goal of paying cash for your new vehicle (or whatever the goal may be).
Being content means not having a wandering eye for what kind of things your circle of friends have. Those ever prevalent “Joneses” will certainly not help you in your quest for contentment. Unfortunately today, “the Joneses” are not only those in your close circles or neighbourhood, but they are those on your Instagram feed or those you see every time you turn on the television. Now more than ever it is crucial to choose contentment no matter where you are financially, and the sooner you come to that conclusion, the better. This here is the true answer to financial freedom.
Ultimately contentment will get you farther in your financial goals and keep you at a sustainable and affordable lifestyle at every stage – be it debt repayment, intensive saving, or being in a good spot financially. You can achieve these things because of contentment. Otherwise you will always be left wanting something bigger, better, faster, newer. Having contentment makes you realize that you have everything you truly need already. You may not always have to say no to things, as it is okay to own items that aren’t a critical need. But in the interim, it is important to be content at every stage. Contentment spurs you on to your long term goals instead of your immediate wants. It helps you to stay focused on what you actually want – not what you want right now.
I’m curious! What are some ways that you have chosen contentment recently?