Of Financial Margin and Well-being

July 13, 2021

We argued over green beans.

Squabbling in that supermarket aisle, holding the Del Monte can in one hand and the black and white labeled generic brand in the other, I struggled to not raise my voice at Penny. 40 years ago, my foodie sensibilities would not allow me to buy just plain old green beans, while to Penny, the missionary kid who grew up on the edge of the jungle in South America, spending $0.45 more on canned vegetables was nothing short of a ridiculous extravagance.

Of course, as always, she was right, especially since spending that $0.45 was irresponsible as we were just barely scraping to get by financially.

We had no financial margin in our lives. We spent every dollar we brought in…plus some.

Thankfully, as our income increased and our fiscal discipline along with it, those money battles faded. But financial margin, to this day, remains a factor in the state of my well-being. I suspect it does for you too.

This summer I have been writing about well-being. Here is the introductory post about well-being.  The 6 Factors that play into your sense of happiness, comfort and worth are:

Your physical health

Your inner world

Your relationships

Your sense of order

Your finances

Your purpose

I’d suggest you go back and read the first three posts I’ve linked. But, today, let’s talk money! Yay!

Being mindful about your money is as simple (ha!) as paying attention to the financial margin you have in your life. At the end of the month or year have you spent less than you have brought in? If that is true, then you have financial margin. If that is not true and has rarely been true, then you do not have financial margin and I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your well-being is suffering.

You have to change that.

How? Well, that’s too much for one little newsletter or blog post. Stay tuned for more I’ll be writing in the near future. Here though, are the very basic, non-negotiable decisions you have to make if your dream is to have financial margin.

  1. You create and follow a budget.
  2. You adjust your lifestyle to match your income.
  3. You spend less than you bring in.

You do those three things consistently and, in time, you will create financial margin and your well-being will take a big leap forward. I will have more to say about this in the days ahead, along with further musings on all 6 life factors, but in an effort to stir your sense of anticipation and hope, take a look at the amazing possibilities of having a little more money than you actually need!

When you have financial margin…

  • You can save for emergencies.
  • You can save for the future.
  • You can share with others.
  • You can invest in what’s important to you.
  • You can occasionally treat yourself.

Imagine having fiscal flexibility!

It begins with paying attention, being mindful of the way you spend and manage what you are blessed to earn.

Maybe that starts with green beans.

 

 

 

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