Any of you guys watch "SpongeBob"? Remember that wacky red, greedy, money hungry Mr. Krabs? All he cared about was money. If he lost a dime, he would spazz out and even go so far as to cry or deceive someone else so he could get his money back.
...Or If any of you have read or watched "The Hobbit," you know of the greedy, heartless dragon Smaug who guarded his hoard of gold, money, and treasure and (SPOILER ALERT) died, leaving it all in the mountain.
I found myself - it was super recently, actually - freaking out about money for a time. I've always been careful with what I do have, because I used to not have ANY money to my name. As I've gotten older, there are way more adult responsibilities - some I wasn't exactly prepared for - and they have added up quickly to be more expensive than I thought they would. Plus, everything freaking costs so much! Being alive costs so damn much, I sometimes wonder how anyone makes it! How do these people afford their cars? Food?! Student loans (they're absolutely ridiculous, by the way...)?! People actually buy houses and go on vacations? HOW?! One thing I learned is that a lot of people are in debt. By this, I mean they're buying extras they can't afford. In some cases, necessities become too expensive, and a person can easily fall into debt. It sucks.
I'm sure by now you know I have anxiety. I'm probably - definitely - one of the biggest spazzes of all time, in all eras and generations of humankind. Like many people, money is something that makes me nervous. I've gone to sleep at night, concerned for my bank account as if it was some needy, dependent child in the midst of a winter storm with no clothes on. It got ridiculous. That's when I called the one and only Mama Meuse. We have had several talks regarding money and what I'm doing with it, where I'm investing, taxes, what I'm paying off and what I'm not, etc. Adulting stuff. There was one thing she said that rang in my head like a gong, and I haven't forgotten it since. Now, I pass this wisdom onto you, my young grasshoppers.
MONEY IS A TOOL.
Just like that, my anxiety vanished. Since my mom told me how money is just a tool, that it's meant to be used, I have looked at it with a new set of eyeballs. Having more is great, sure. Everyone likes more moolah, but it shouldn't be the deciding factor of whether or not you do something. There is (as I always mention in many of my blogs) a healthy balance. You spend some, you make some. It's a game, a system. Just don't let the game play you. Use money for what it is, and acknowledge it for what it is. Make smart choices.
"Do I need this?" If you don't NEED it, reconsider spending money on it.
"Is this an investment in myself?" A perfect example of this is an airline ticket. For instance, tickets to LAX aren't cheap, and those of you who follow my career in music know that I make a hell of a lot of Los Angeles trips. Guess what? I'm working. One trip I had, I literally slept maybe fifteen hours total during my two-week stay. I filmed a music video. I was on the top of the highest helipad in downtown Los Angeles. I met with investors. I networked at events (and a lot of times, when the focus is networking, it's easy to miss the event so it becomes more of a job than a "fun time"). I lined up future work, shows, and potential partnerships - who knows what can come out of each connection? I hustled hard, and it was damn well worth what I spent on that flight. An investment in yourself, as long as you're at least trying, is ALWAYS worth it. Remember that when you're making that kind of decision.
"Is this expense in support of my mission and values in life?" Basically, is this what you want to do? Make sure your head is on straight and you know what you're doing. Know the steps to get there. Write it out - gosh, I can't explain how imperative writing things down and making them tangible is. Separate your thoughts and clarify to yourself exactly what you're attempting and each and every small goal to lead you up to your massive one.
I have a rule that I try my hardest to live by: Treat yourself to one thing that makes you happy every week. It's worth the investment, and since it's your choice, you can balance the expenses. I believe it is highly necessary to do something for yourself from time to time to maintain happiness and spiritual health.
By this, I mean:
- Take yourself on a solo date. Do you want sushi? Go get it this one time, and be reasonable with it. I don't mean go and blow $100 on raw fish. Just take yourself somewhere nice, enjoy a glass of wine, and get soosh.
- Do you like stickers? Buy some stickers. I say this, because I did this in 2016, and it brought my happiness up about ten points when it was in the negative. I have stickers all over everything I own in Alabama. Most of them are cat stickers. :)
- Go to a concert. Are you musical or wish that you were? Do you find happiness at live shows? Do you just like music? Take yourself to a local gig. Or hell, if you wanna go see a national headliner, do it...This may not be ideal for a weekly thing if looking at the health of your bank account, especially a national headliner, but it's worth your happiness to at least do it once in a while.
- Stay in. Are you constantly running around - maybe for a job or just because you kinda have to? Take a night off, cook dinner at your own place, and just enjoy the alone time. Chances are you save money by not going out, AND you get that much-needed alone time I talked about in one of my first blogs ever.
These are just some ideas. I will openly say that I started doing this "Do one thing for yourself every week" thing because I completed this amazing book/program called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. One of the requirements was to do ONE thing for yourself every week, and I've made this into a habit long after I completed the book for the first time. It addressed the worries of life, money, etc. and how to balance it and, most importantly, BE HAPPY. (By the way, I highly recommend this book to ANYONE - it is not limited to creatives - trying to rediscover their creative selves. It's super spiritual and forced me to face my flaws, accept them, and move forward, as well as creating several life-changing habits.)
Just remember, more than anything, a man can have a million dollars and die, and that man will have a million unspent dollars. Use it, and use it wisely. You're gonna lose it anyway. When you start freaking out about money and lack of (I feel you, trust me...I still remind myself frequently), just remember: Money is a tool. You can always make more.