Live joyfully by spending where it matters
We so often misinterpret having money for being happy, as we falsely equate the material value of our possessions and purchases with their emotional value. How often do we ever pause and think about what truly brings us joy, in order to spend where it really matters? In our ever-accelerating modern lifestyles and purchase-driven capitalist society, I suspect the answer is rarely.
The way we spend money should contribute to our Wholistic Wellbeing, so if you find that your spending habits only bring you short-term gratification and sudden (but unsustainable) bursts of joy, as opposed to something more lasting, you need to reconsider how you spend your money. The truth is that our purchases are mostly driven either by impulse or by convenience: getting a coffee on the way to work, splurging on a dinner out, or paying for Amazon Prime or Netflix even though we don’t use our subscriptions nearly enough to make the purchase worthwhile...
I am not immune to impulse or convenience spending, but since the start of the new year, I have made a conscious effort to do what Rianka Dorsainvil describes as replacing unnecessary and impulsive expenses “with something that made [me] happier, or that reflected what was important to [me]” (Forbes). Applying this logic not only improved my Financial Wellbeing, but also shed light on me as a person, as I became more aware of what really matters to me. In this regard, Financial Wellbeing has taught me how to live joyfully not only through spending on things that bring me authentic joy, but also through learning about myself.
I have learned that the two things that matter to me the most are food and family. Perhaps I’ve inherited this set of priorities from my own parents, for whom lovingly prepared meals formed the cornerstone of family life throughout my childhood in Delhi. I probably subconsciously appropriated these values, adopting an almost ritualistic devotion to “slow” food: food that is carefully prepared using traditional cooking methods and organic ingredients, intended to be eaten and enjoyed slowly for maximum benefit. I have vowed, for the duration of 2022, to take the time to eat and always try to make an effort to sit down at the table alongside my children, even if that means rescheduling meetings or changing my timetable. These moments of collective eating, even in silence and without any artificial, performative or contrived hoo-ha, are moments I wish to treasure.
As we welcome 2022 as the year of Wholistic Wellbeing, I hope that you will join me on the Financial Wellbeing leg of the journey, where we will learn how to live joyfully by spending on what really matters.