As I was thinking about what I wanted to write today, I realized I had already written something similar back in December, so here it is with some edits and additions:
I just finished Ramit Sethi’s book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich. I heard him on the Brute Strength podcast and although I knew he had a bestseller out there, I never had read the original so I picked up the updated version.
There are so many analogies to fitness and money that if I had a nickel for every time I heard one, I’d need to be really strong to pick up all my nickels (if that pun makes cents)
Anyway, it got me thinking about the classic phrase for losing weight: “Eat less, exercise more,” and how it also applies to money: “Spend less, make more.”
Ok, great. Those are easy to say and harder to do. Also, how far do we go in either direction?
Does “spend less” mean getting down to spending nothing at all and just hoarding your money? Does “eating less” mean just drinking water all day is the goal?
How about the other end of the spectrum? Should we be exercising for six hours a day? How much money is enough?
Having a background in psychology, I know that the mind can play tricks on us when it comes to food and money and frankly, we need to consider the fact that we’re not robots or machines that can simply take in less fuel or run 24/7.
In a nutshell, Sethi’s financial advice is to “spend extravagantly on the things you love as long as you mercilessly cut costs on the things you don’t.” There’s more to it, but you get the idea.
I like this a lot because it acknowledges that we are, in fact, humans and do have emotional ties to things. In his classic example, a lot of financial gurus will tell you to stop buying lattes, but according to Sethi if you LOVE lattes, then you should buy them!
I would agree when it comes to nutrition. We can even keep the latte example. If you love lattes, then go for it! But let’s think about those chips and pretzels we mindlessly munch on at home. Unless it brings you joy, I say you pull a Marie Kondo and get rid of it.
Let’s be real – if you’re at your grandmother’s 90th birthday party and you want to enjoy the cake with everyone, you should go for it! Or if you’re celebrating a big promotion and really love a glass of Cabernet, then have at it! I think most of us can agree though, there are times that we just snacked on something because we were bored or just because it was around the house. Not because we were actually savoring it.
At the end of the day, we need to realize that complete restriction is unreasonable and unnecessary for 99% of us and if the ultimate goal is to be happy, then you shouldn’t…wait for it…short-change yourself.