232: Stop Being Cheap

One of the things I’ve really had to work on over the years is my mindset about money. When you grow up without it, it’s hard to have much of an opinion about it. As a matter of fact, I once heard someone say that people who don’t have money usually don’t talk about it because it’s not something they’re proud of. And even more than that, what is there to talk about? I’m grateful for the experiences that have exposed me to different perspectives, and in this session, I share an encounter with my roommate from college that changed my life.

The Story of My First Car – 01:06

A few weeks ago, I was reflecting on a conversation I had with my college roommate many, many years ago. My roommate had just gotten a new car. And I remember asking why she bought a new car instead of buying something a little older. You see, where I come from, people didn’t buy new cars. In fact, getting older cars was such a standard practice that this was the first time I actually saw someone buy something this new. Of course, her family was a little well-off, but I still didn’t get it. But her response to my question has stuck with me till today – it doesn’t make sense to make payments on a car you can’t rely on.

Fast forward to when I got my first car. I did everything in my power to get a reliable machine. It didn’t matter how much it cost as long as I got what I wanted, and I did. And it was so exciting because not only did I get the car of my dreams, but I could drive around without worrying about the “check engine light.”

Stop Being Cheap – 09:10 

First-gens, especially those from not-so-privileged backgrounds, tend to think a lot about “how much it costs.” I know I was, but nowadays, I know where to draw the line, which begun when I finally understood the difference between being frugal and being cheap. When you budget, plan purchase decisions, and think before spending any money – that’s being frugal. However, cheap people will do anything and everything to save money, even if it’s at the expense of their own happiness. 

So the next time you find yourself being cheap, consider the following:

  1. Know What You Value and Get What You Want 

I know you’ve worked hard to get where you are and might constantly worry about slipping back, but it’s imperative that you treat yourself. Enjoy the fruits of your labor because at the end of the day, if you value something, you’ll appreciate spending money on it. When I look at buying stuff for myself or my business, price is never an issue. I only look at the solution that will enhance the quality of my life. 

  1. Don’t spend, invest. 

The first step to escaping the financial mental barrier is to think of spending money as investment opportunities. Of course, investing will still require a certain amount of spending. But investing has returns. And when you start buying through an investment lens, you’ll never be wasteful. 

  1. The money will always come back.

Yes, money doesn’t grow on trees, but hear me out on this. What goes out will always come in. And it doesn’t even have to be monetary returns. It can be peace, stability, productivity, or whatever way you choose to look at it. 

Think About the Things That Matter to You – 12:00 

The most freeing thing about having a positive money mindset is having a deep understanding of the things that matter to you. You were not put on this earth to live, work, and then die. Life is more than that. Life is about enjoying the quality of a good life. My mom always told me that she wanted me to be better than her. I saw her work more than she had fun, so I vowed my life would be different. I will work hard, be as successful as I possibly can, and still enjoy life. I’m definitely not going to let the lack I experienced growing up affect the possibility of enjoying life today. 

However, this is not in any way, shape, or form a free pass to waste money. No. Live within your means and be smart about how you spend money. After all, you only have one life to live, so the quality of your life matters.