I once heard on a podcast that we should think about money as a means to solve our pain points rather than using it to splurge on the things we think we want or need. When we have few funds and many wants, it can be challenging to prioritize what to buy. One trick might be to identify what in your life is causing you inconvenience and throwing money at it to avoid it.
I think its safe to say that a new jacket is not necessarily solving a pain point. Unless you don’t have a jacket. Or that new pair of shoes. Unless your old shoes are torn up and ready to be tossed. More cliche yet, a new car when your old one runs fine. But this gets trickier and more complicated with bigger things.
Time > Money
When you value money over time, you’re more likely to spend an unnecessary amount of time stressing about something or improvising rather than spending the money needed to solve your problem. If this high ticket item will save you a significant amount of time and stress while enabling you to live more in the moment, then it’s a perfect candidate for your dollars.
Worse yet, that item you buy to solve a pain point might be dull as F. Like a new lawnmower because yours is a huge POS. Or a personal finance adviser because you suck at budgeting and making a plan.
A light, fun example
The standard iPhone headphones and I have had a battle over the years. Because of my odd-shaped right earlobe, the right bud has never fit well in my ear. It would always fall out if I did pretty much anything aside from sitting still. And it PISSED me off.
On top of that, you have the inconvenience of the damn wires when doing something active. The cords constantly got caught on stuff during my workouts. Or the awful feeling of the wires brushing against the stomach and chest as it remains tucked behind your shirt during a workout.
Yet, I put up with it. Why? Because I was a cheapskate in my past life and convinced myself the expense wasn’t worth it. And because I could think of a lot of other things I wanted. Let’s think about that for a minute.
Part of the value of working out is to escape your monkey mind. If I look back during those times, I now recognize that it completely kept me from fully immersing myself into my workout. I stood no chance of getting into a flow state because of this distraction. So I spent the money I didn’t necessarily want to and purchased wireless headphones.
Pain points are not the items that come up infrequently in your life. The weird little things you buy and store away only to be used on occasion should not be the priority. A true pain point is one, no matter how small and negligible, that adds up over time and annoys the shit out of you distracting you from being present or making progress. Now that is a situation where you justify spending your money.
What comes to mind for you? What are your headphone struggles?