This is not entirely inaccurate – money can do a lot of good things like feed hungry families, buy medicine for the sick, or provide something for someone who desperately needs it. But money is just a tool, and like any tool, it can be used for good or for evil. In addition, as The Beatles reveal to us in their famous song, there are some things it just can’t buy.
This journey to becoming debt-free has revealed a lot to me about what kind of person I am. I have learned what I value, what I truly want, and I have learned most of all about being content where I am. Although I don’t have this down pat (I’m not perfect yet!) I have definitely come far from my days where I thought we would be poor forever and pitied myself.
Now I have a better mindset when it comes to money – mainly that I’m not stuck in this poverty mentality anymore. I realize that we are intentionally putting heaps of money to pay off our debt that we could be using for something else. Sometimes I catch myself thinking “I can’t afford that!” and feeling sorry for myself. In those moments I force a shift in my thinking to instead tell myself, “I could buy [that thing] if I wanted to – but I am intentionally putting my money towards debt.” It helps. It reminds me that we don’t have much further to go, and that the sacrifice is worth it.
I have been thinking the last few weeks about what it will be like to be debt-free. We plan on paying off the remainder our debt (just over $14,000) this year for sure, and more specifically in the next few months (if all goes according to plan). We have started dreaming about what kinds of things we’ll want to do with our money (currently about half of all of our income goes towards debt at this point in the game), and I have started eagerly awaiting the day when I can do “whatever I want” with money.
I have to tell myself that this is not completely accurate. I won’t be able to do “whatever I want” because debt or no debt, there are bills to be paid and things to save for. We will still budget each month, we will still have a plan. Even if the purse strings are loosened a little, we certainly don’t want to waste what we have worked so hard for. We also don’t want to forget these long years of “humble living” (as we affectionately call it) because these years have truly shaped our character, and like a fire, these years have brought our deepest flaws and desires to the surface.
Money can expose our weaknesses, and it can certainly help in certain situations, but it can’t do everything. I’ve been thinking lately about the things that money can’t buy that we can have. These beautiful things are a blessing, and no matter how much money you have, you won’t be able to buy them.
Money can buy souvenirs, but it can’t buy you memories.
Money can buy you a wedding, but it can’t buy you a happy marriage.
Money can buy you food, but it can’t buy you contentment.
Money can buy you tickets to a show or fancy presents, but it can’t buy you friends.
Money can buy you sleeping pills, but it can’t buy you peace.
Money can buy you a vacation, but it can’t buy you rest.
Money can buy you any material thing you could want, but it can’t buy you character.
I know now that money can’t buy everything, and for that, I am grateful.