Ask yourself this simple question before spending money
If you’ve seen the personal photos I include on my blog posts, you likely know I love being outside. Hiking, climbing, biking, gardening…. if it happens outdoors, I usually love it. I assumed my genuine joy for those things came through with how often I choose to do them. Therefore, I was caught off guard by someone questioning whether I truly did them for the right reason. This lead me down a rabbit hole to an interesting financial benefit. Let me explain.
So, the question I was asked was: “If you didn’t have Instagram to show off your adventure photos, would you still do them?”.
My initial reaction was feeling a bit offended. Who asks that? Are you calling me fake?
The more I pondered it however, the more fair the question seemed. I’ve seen a dramatic rise in people on mountaintops in the past year that I’ve had similar thoughts about… I just didn’t ask the question out loud. In a world where so many things appear to be “for the gram” it’s hard not to question people’s true motives.
The answer for me is “Absolutely!”. I’ve only had Instagram a couple years, but I’ve always gone outside. My adventures have definitely escalated (in frequency and difficulty) the last few years. However, that’s attributed to having more confidence and improved skill sets versus the photo factor.
So, why do I think it’s a topic bringing up so many times on a financial blog of all things?
Simply put: Trying to maintain a specific image costs a LOT of money.
My adventures aren’t cheap. Just hiking & camping for a week costs hundreds of dollars to have a place to put my tent and gas in the tank. The money is well worth it to me since it brings me so much happiness. What if I was just doing it for an image however? Ouch $$. If I also needed special outfits and equipment to look even better in those photos? The bill would skyrocket some more.
Trying to live more intentionally and true to myself has saved me money countless times. Ask yourself this simple question before spending money:
“If no one ever saw this, would I still spend money on it?”
It’s simple, but I think it’s game-changing. If you can truly answer yes each time before swiping your card then every purchase is 100% for the right reasons.
Would you still drop $150 on that fancy dinner out if you couldn’t tell people you went to that restaurant or share a photo of your plate?
Would you spend money on that new kitchen renovation if you never had guests over to see it?
Are you buying that book because you really want to read it, or so it can say something about you to other people when it’s sitting on your book shelf?
Is the fancy car actually going to improve your work commute, or are you hoping it says something about you to the people you drive past?
Beyond the very basic costs of keeping yourself alive, the remainder of your money has one purpose: make you happy.
Therefore, when you spend money to project an image of yourself that isn’t really you, it’s automatically money wasted. It absolutely will not increase your happiness.
There’s no denying that in our culture people will make split-second decisions about you based on how you look and what you own. It’s a hard truth, and it sucks.
The part advertising doesn’t want you to consider though?
You don’t have to care.
Wasting your time and money trying to impress people with “flash” keeps you farther from surrounding yourself with people that are there for the right reasons. Your people.
You can spend money maintaining your image, or you can spend your money on things that truly light you up as a human.
Ask yourself this simple question before spending money:
If no one saw this, would I still buy it?