It’s not always about the money. If you want to do something, and you can’t do it, aside from the money, look to see why that might be for the best. For example, if you want to go on a trip, but the money is not there, maybe this is a gift in disguise. Think about your energy. Is this trip going to tire you out? Are you better to rest at home for the long weekend because you’ve been overworking? Think about your time availability. Do you have things you need and want to do which would not get done if you went away? Looking at energy and time, maybe not having the money is just the excuse you needed to live a more peaceful life.
M. E. T. can be your new mantra: Money, Energy and Time. First, consider whether or not you have the money for the thing. If you do not have the money, the temptation is to Raid other categories where you’ve squirreled away funds. Of course, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul always has an unpleasant backlash. If Peter is Entertainment and Paul is Clothes, Entertainment-Peter is going to cry when it’s his turn for the money because it will have been spent on Clothes-Paul. If you do not have the money, you have two choices: you can gently say No to yourself and exercise patience, saving more over time, or, you can sulk. (Credit cards are not an option, as we know, because they dig the debt hole deeper.) Sulking has its satisfactions. Still, it interferes with your enjoyment of your day.
On the other hand, you may have the money. Is it an automatic Go if you do? I’d say no. Before you make the decision, consider the another valuable and finite resource you have: energy. Run the tape to the end, as they say. How tired will you feel a few days after having expended the energy to do or buy the thing? Might that fatigue affect your relationships?
Finally, before you decide, consider the last totally non-renewable resource, Time. What will you miss in your quest for the thing? If you set priorities for your time, it might look something like this: Urgent and Important, Urgent but Not as Important, Important but not Urgent, and Not Urgent, and Not Important (but something you still want or need to do it, like pick up new oven mitts since yours are stained and burned.)
Under each heading, list three To-Do items. Add in commuting time if you have to shop for the thing or get to the thing. Commuting is a notorious time-sucker. Now, a one-hour movie with your girlfriend becomes a three-hour outing. And that’s o.k. But before you do it, just consider how this will impact the Urgent and Important items on your list.
Money, Energy and Time are more realistic ways to assess a choice. Now, look to the internet to see how you can Say No in 42 Ways.