What does money mean to you?

I’ve had some money thoughts on my mind over the last few months and had to get them out.

I remember a few years ago, when I was deep in my job search and starting to working on JibberJobber, but without any financial success and deep in worry about how/when the money would be enough to sustain my personal expenses, I had an experience.

I was at my parents house, visiting for Christmas.  Right before our trip, our microwave had blown out.

My good wife said it was no big deal, we could simply do without a microwave.

I didn’t think we could, and was on the lookout for a way to get a microwave.

Understand, a replacement microwave was anywhere from a hundred bucks to a few hundred bucks.

This amount of money doesn’t seem like a big deal right now, especially for something as important as a microwave, but at the time, this was an insurmountable challenge.

It was immensely stressful.

My parents had an extra microwave, brand new, in their attic, and offered it to us. I remember the stress of trying to figure out how to get a box so we could get it on the plane… I’m embarrassed at how stressed I was when we were trying to find a good box (and get our kids and other luggage ready for a flight)… but again, that microwave, with a value of probably $150 bucks, represented something much more than $150 bucks!

Right now I’m in a position where a $150 replacement is not a big deal.  (my fridge, on the other hand, which seems to be dying a slow death, is another story, as it will be about a $1,000 replacement).

But then, $150 seemed to be more than I could emotionally/mentally handle.

What is $150?

Not much, now.

But 5 years ago, it might have been $150,000 to me!

Think about your financial problems today, right now.

Are they insurmountable?

For me, my perspective changed when I realized (later) that there was money out there that could be made… it was just a matter of me finding out how to do it, and doing it. In a traditional job, I would have to budget based on my salary (we had been living paycheck to paycheck for too long), and plan accordingly. As someone empowered to make money on my own, I am not limited to the calendar.

Another perspective-changing event happened when I read Atlas Shrugged. This is a a super-huge book that helped me rethink money, who can have it, why and how you can get it, and how to think about it.

One of my favorite quotes on money was from Harrison Ford, in a magazine I can’t remember, about his personal life.  When asked about money, or spending money, he said something like “I don’t think about money anymore. I haven’t thought about money for a long time.” (sorry if misquoted)

I read this quote when I was thinking about money 25 hours a day!  I couldn’t stop thinking about money!  I wasn’t thinking about boats and mansions and riches, I was thinking about paying this month’s bills!

Thoughts of money had consumed me, because I didn’t have any, and I was worried and scared.

Life has changed, and in the last five years I’ve changed the way I think about money.

I remember my wife saying a few times that money is like oxygen… if you don’t have it, you suddenly are consumed with thoughts about it!  If you have it, you usually don’t think about it.

How do you think about money?  Do you have an abundance mentality? Do you have a scarcity mentality? Do you believe you deserve to have at least the basic comforts (have bills get paid, etc.), and maybe even some of the finer things in life (like a vacation)?

What does money mean to you?