Sometimes we get so focused on what we could have or what we want that we forget to appreciate what we already have. I have always appreciated changing the perspective concerning buying something or going big on some spending.
I would ask myself questions about what I need, what I have already, and what I can make do and mend, so I don’t have to part with my money. It is a simple philosophy, and I have been using this as one of my core pillars for success around putting away more money for my future self. Stashing away cash for my early retirement, so to speak.
The great thing about this focus is that it gives me the cash on hand to be able to approach life from a different angle. I can look to support other causes in life or help other people where I can.
Let me explain; because I save my money and build on that by using different strategies, I have the cash available to support a different decision-making process if I have or want to. I can help a charity or buy something from a street vendor at an inflated price as a form of helping someone else out. It is a pay it forward strategy that I also have as a pillar of my core values.
This springs to mind because I want to support my son in securing his driving licence. He is at that time in life where he is nearing eighteen years of age, and the advantage of having a car is enormous. I know my son is not a charity case blah, blah, Blah. He is my responsibility, and I love him with every ounce of my bones, and I want to give him the best start in life I possibly can. I believe that is what an ordinary father would wish to be able to do!
We have all been dealing with a pandemic. It has impacted so profoundly on our lives and will undoubtedly continue to do so. So much is struggling to get back to normal. One thing in that bracket is driving lessons, theory tests, and the actual driving examination. There is a lot of pent up market demand, and there is not enough instructors or examiners to meet this demand.
Now, as parents, we have the opportunity to fast track my son into an intensive driving course where he can get his training and test etc, all within one week.
A few years back, I could never have been able to afford this, and it would have been a straight “nope son, sorry but no can do.!”
Now though, because I have been so focused on saving money, I am in the fortunate position to say yes to him and allow home to do this intensive week.
I understand I am ‘jumping the queue,’ etc. By taking this action, I realise that there is an element of spoiling my son here, and I accept the feedback. I get it.
But I think I am making the right choice for his future, his mental health, and future prospects. The benefit of driving a car will allow him to go and look for a part-time job wider afield and open up a wider world of other opportunities to him.
Although very straightforward, I concentrated on the overwhelming benefits to my son being mobile for my decision-making process on this expenditure.
There are so many upsides compared to the downsides. Many of the upsides are not easily quantifiable, and they are based on what if’s, buts or maybes.
I am ok with the ambiguity of what he might get out from driving. How he might use this fortunate life benefit and the world that it might open up for him… but it is worth it for me, because I look back at myself when I was his age…
I got my first car when I just turned eighteen, and it was a gift from my brother in law who had just got a company car. It was an old Ford cortina 1.3L, and it was a bit of a banger. But that car saved me from having a different life, as I grew up in a housing scheme in Glasgow and was beginning to hang around with the wrong crowd. The car enabled me to drive to the next town where the supermarket was and allowed me to get my first job. I got in with a better crowd and life went in a more wholesome direction from then.
I hope my son gets a new direction from the road that can open up ahead of him once he goes through the driving course. And he passes, of course. He also has a banger waiting for him. It is a start.
I don’t want to be a sanctimonious tosser with my words here or by my actions, but I can only afford this because of the journey I have been on with money. I have taken the time to learn and respect money, and I have done that from the bones of my ass as I was stone broke a few years ago after my divorce.
This is why I always urge people to get closer to their money and their relationship with it because it can help so much with the other relationships you have in your life. And it can help alleviate the stress that comes from not being able to manage these relationships.
For better or for worse.