Ask parents what makes them happy and the answers will range from free time to playing with their kids. Ask them what makes them least happy and I reckon the state of their finances will be one of the top three replies. With that in mind, I was quite curious when I read this on the 22seven blog:
“Perhaps the question, “how much money do I spend?” is not always the right one, and maybe a better one is “How much happiness do I buy?” Deep, huh?”
(22seven is a fantastic app that allows you to see how you’re spending your money as it shows you how much you’re spending at, for example, Woolies every month- you choose how many categories you want- so the more information you share with 22seven, the more accurate the report is when you log in.)
So back to that blog quote: 22seven does help you to see how much you spend (but then so does your own bank statement) but it also gets you thinking about your expenses. Thinking back to the jeans you wanted. Wait… needed. The habit you’ve adopted of taking your kids to that two-for-one burger special at your local restaurant. Now, this is the crucial point. Only a small amount of your cash goes to buying things that make you happy if you have commitments like school fees, a bond, medical aid and so on. But we place a lot of value in buying those things that make us happy- they are what add value to our lives.
Once you take a look at how much of your money goes into spending on things that make you happy versus things that make you sad, you could be inspired to change that in any way possible.
Hope in a jar
I remember the story I was told at college about a face cream company not selling face cream but rather that they are selling “hope in a jar”. They are selling face cream (obviously!) but people make emotional purchases. It may not feel like an emotional moment if you’re trying to wrangle two small kids and a shopping trolley through Pick n Pay on a Saturday morning, but that could lead you to slipping some chocolate into the basket in Temptation Avenue, otherwise known as “the checkout queue” as a reward. The emotions may be anger and frustration, but hopefully those will be replaced with happier feelings later once you sit down with your bar of Lindt and a glass of wine.
Was that Lindt on the shopping list? Nope. Do you care that it never, ever appears on your budget? Nope.
Parenting can be an odd mixture of loving your children with such fierceness that you wish you could be with them every moment of the day to times where you’d kill for a babysitter. It’s an utterly human experience. Raw. Emotional. So it makes sense to take care of your finances in ways that allow you to be happier, right?
22seven won’t necessarily fix your finances, but it will help you to categorise your spending in a way that leads to little lifestyle revelations. How you choose to make changes is up to you, but it helps to have it all laid out in one place for you to examine.
Now, about that glass of wine…
Why not see if you can glimpse those moments of happiness over at 22seven? You may be pleasantly surprised!