I recently read this article on the psychological aspects of money. It’s a very interesting read. The claim is that the brain’s response to money is similar to the brain’s response to drugs.
In one case, people were asked to either write down their recent expenses or to count a pile of money. The money counters felt less pain upon putting their hand in hot water than the expense writers.
It’s interesting food for thought.
In our own home, we are digging into the fourth month of our #yearofno. That’s our motto that is keeping us from wasting money on wants rather than needs. Our goal is to pay off a decent amount of debt this year, but you can read more about that here.
We are anxious to get this debt paid off. It has been holding us back for a long time, and we are ready to get past it for so many reasons. I’m happy that we’ve been able to keep up our level of enthusiasm! After all, paying off debt can feel really discouraging.
So what does debt payoff have to do with the brain’s response to money?
Paying off debt is just piling up money in reverse. Rather than throwing all you can at a savings account, you are throwing all of your money at a credit card company in an attempt to get away from them. In many ways, you still feel that “high” because you are going through a lot of money at a rapid rate.
In many ways, you still feel that psychological “high” because you are going through a lot of money at a rapid rate.
If you are eagerly watching that debt number fall lower and lower, it can make you feel a little greedy about getting closer to zero. You’ve may even get to the point that you’ll do anything for that next dollar, just so you can get away from the lender more quickly.
If you don’t find a good balance, you will burn out before you reach your goal. And even if you don’t burn out, you probably aren’t going be proud of all of the methods you use to get yourself out of debt.
There has to be some yin with the yang. Some give with the take.
Some people consider giving to charity to be counterproductive when you are trying to pay off debt or save for emergencies. They think that you should take care of yourself until you’ve gotten to a place where you can give freely without worrying about your circumstances anymore.
And I can see that point. It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask first so you can care for those around you better.
But let me throw another analogy at you. Have you ever run so hard and so fast that you wound up tripping yourself and eating dirt?
And that’s how it feels when you’re aiming for a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) like debt payoff.
It’s important to get rid of that debt like your hair is on fire. But not at the expense of your true, giving self.
Adding in More Give
Our family has always felt that giving is important. Even when you have little to give. (Especially when you have little to give.) Living life with an open hand is always worth it.
We regularly give from my husband’s salary to our local church. We also drop groceries off for our local food pantry.
One of my main goals at Medium Sized Family is to make some money to help us reach our goals. I’ve never made a secret out of that. However, my biggest goal is for this blog to be helpful and inspiring for my readers.
And I would never want money to trump actually helping my readers. I don’t want to be so wrapped up in paying off debt that I endorse things to my audience that I wouldn’t use myself.
I want to keep myself grounded and my priorities in place.
And now that this little blog is starting to earn some money (small though the income may be!), it’s time to start giving from these funds, as well.
Since my blog reaches a worldwide audience, I want to give at the world level.
Food For The Poor
Let me introduce you to Food For The Poor (not an affiliate or sponsor!). This charity provides food, housing, medicine, and more to the poorest of the poor in our world.
I plan to donate 10% of anything that I make from this blog to Food For The Poor. And I strongly encourage you, my readers to give to this organization, too. (Or, if you have your own favorite charity, be sure to send them a donation. Especially if you, too, feel like you need some soul in your goals.)
I think you’ll find that when you give to people who don’t even have basic food, shelter, or clothing, it really gives you a new perspective. You’ll find breathing room, and a certain amount of peace in your mission to reach your own goals.
Being frugal and wise about spending money is smart. But don’t go so far that you find yourself with closed fists and a chest full of anxiety. Open your hands and give.
Also, let us know if you are a giver and what it’s done for you!