What lights you up? What puts the biggest smile on your face? What gets you most excited?
I’m so passionate about this because if you don’t understand what makes you the happiest in life, you will always be seeking more and never have enough.
Everyone loves money because it allows us to obtain the things that once seemed out of reach for us. Some people have been saving their whole lives for a trip or a big ticket item that they’ve always wanted. Or it could be the freedom to stay home and play with our family.
The key is to notice what truly makes you happy, not what you think will make you happy or what you desire from moment to moment. Instead, notice what you love so much that you can actually feel it within your entire body. I’m sure you’ll be surprised with what comes up and it’s probably not what you think and is almost never what you want to buy next.
One of the reasons I love to teach kids about money is so that they develop a healthy mindset around money. This is so that money simply becomes a tool rather than a source of stress or shame or envy, or the dozens of other feelings that many adults associate with money. Understanding what’s truly important to YOU is the first step toward this shift in mindset. This is what I call The Awesome Stuff™.
Saving is almost always an important tactic for creating a wealthy life, but first you need to find and connect with your Awesome Stuff. Saving without understanding your WHY can be hard, and even feel nearly impossible for some people. Saving once you know your why– once you have gotten completely familiar with your Awesome Stuff– gets infinitely easier.
People of all ages have their own definitions of what they consider The Awesome Stuff. Whether it be items, experiences, or simply being with friends and family, our Awesome Stuff is what gets us out of bed and inspires us each day. It’s the most important stuff regardless of cost (it can even be free) that will really impact us and help us live the lifestyle we want and be the person we want to be.
It’s important, especially for kids, to understand the difference between a fad that you’ll quickly forget or grow out of, and something that’s truly important to you. That’s the difference between “stuff”, and The Awesome Stuff™.
So what is most important to you?
It can be as simple as a sunny day on the beach or a camping trip in the woods. It can be as big as a trip around the world.
Sit your kids down and talk about their favorite things, most beloved memories, or the items they see adults have that they would love to own themselves someday.
Whether they light up thinking about their favorite toy, a trip to the zoo, or even future plans of owning their own home, giving them concrete goals to look forward to can be a great motivator to start saving. It will work for you, too.
Ask: WHY do you want these things? WHY are they the most important to you? Once you understand what it is that actually makes you happy, you’ll spend less money and feel more fulfilled by the things you do buy. If it’s a home, ask why the home is important. What about it truly makes you happy?
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of more. This can be the same for a home or anything else that you immediately think is your Awesome Stuff. The more you can afford, the more you’ll want. So rather than always wanting the next most expensive thing that is forever out of reach, start recognizing what it is that makes it your awesome stuff. What about it makes you happy? Keep asking why. Is it because it has a brand new kitchen that came right out of a magazine? Then ask why that’s important to you. What about the kitchen or the layout or the design makes you happy? You might find that your motivation is different than you thought. You can then begin making decisions towards those things that make you the happiest, rather than getting caught up in a pattern of wanting what everyone else wants.
Next time you’re at the store or scrolling your Amazon cart and something catches your eye, ask if it’s important enough to derail or slow down your progress toward your Awesome Stuff. You’ll be surprised how often the answer is no. Ask your kids this next time they ask for a treat in the grocery store checkout line. You’ll be surprised how often they’re answer is no, too.
Understanding the WHY is more important than the act of saving itself. This is the foundation to teaching kids about money. If your children can understand why they enjoy the things they do, they can avoid the endless chase of more which can never be satisfied.
Once they know what they’re reaching for, teaching them how to get there is the next step.