Where is Your Focus?

by Miranda Marquit · 1 comment

One of the most important concepts to understand if you want to improve your finances while living better is to figure out where your focus ought to be. It’s easy to get distracted by things that don’t matter as much, and that’s where it can be easy to become discouraged with your situation — and spend money that you don’t have and wind up in debt.

Figuring Out Your Focus

It’s common for us to focus on the wrong things. We focus on negative aspects of situations, rather than looking for the positive. We also often focus on things, rather than people or experiences. Recent research indicates that focus on people and experiences makes us happier than stuff.

This means that if you are focused on acquiring more things, you are more likely to be unhappy with your spending decisions. It’s even worse if your focus on things leads you to go into debt in your quest to be happy with material possessions.

Part of the problem with focusing on stuff is that the excitement of buying it fades fairly quickly. Then you’re left looking for that high. Additionally, as the item becomes commonplace — and perhaps outdated — it can be a source of unhappiness.

Experiences are a little bit different. Not only do you have the anticipation leading up to the experience, you can enjoy the experience, and then you can look back on it fondly. Focusing on your good experiences can keep you happier with your life, and they can be better for your wallet if you are careful to choosing fulfilling experiences that aren’t costly.

Focus on people can also help you save money and live happier. Connections with loved ones are important and making good memories can improve your satisfaction with life. Additionally, when you focus on spending time with the people you like, the money you spend isn’t as important. When you focus on building good memories, and the enjoyment you have, you can derive great satisfaction from a picnic in the park. No need to spend a lot of money in an effort to feel good about something.

Rather than focusing on things that you don’t have, it can make more sense to focus on the friends and family that you do have — and the good times you have with them.

Focus on Stuff Can Lead to Debt

The focus on money and things can damage your financial situation. What happens if you want more of something? When you are focused on stuff, you always have to get the latest thing, or more of something. It becomes a cycle of being happy because you bought something, but having that feeling fade as you get tired of the item, or as it becomes old and outdated. If you pride yourself on the latest gadgets, you fight a losing battle because there will always be an upgraded version.

It becomes easy to always be “out of money” or to rack up the debt in order to keep up. It’s distressing because you don’t have “enough” to buy the things you think you want.

Rather than get stuck in this cycle, it makes more sense to focus on the more intangible, but more satisfying, things in life. Look at your family and friends, and your experiences, and you’ll be much happier.

Bonus Tip:

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Court @ The Path to Financial Freedom May 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

Great article! It reminds me of the quote “Spend money on experiences not possessions.” The great thing is that many experiences don’t have to cost that much money, and if you do it with a group of people you really care about it makes it so much more enjoyable and memorable.

Interstingly enough I just read an article about this and researchers found that people who buy experiences are happier than those who buy material possessions because those who buy material possessions are more prone to buyer’s remorse. Here’s a link to the article if you want to check it out further: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/can-money-buy-happiness?page=2

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