Have you ever thought about what makes you value certain things above others? Why would you be ultra frugal in a certain budgeting category, but not in others? Let’s explore a little bit about how we give things value and how we can use this knowledge to make better spending decisions.
Standing in front of his class, my professor asked a seemingly easy question: “What makes something worth a certain price?” I raised my hand, “People do.”
“Exactly,” he said. “People assign everything value. Even money is assigned value by people. Money, in fact, is worth whatever two parties – the buyer and the seller – think it’s worth.”
That was many years ago, and over time, I’ve come into a greater understanding of what that means. Realizing that money – and everything for that matter – doesn’t have value until people agree to assign it a certain value, freed myself from the idea that the numbers mattered most.
Don’t get me wrong, numbers matter. It matters that you have a budget, and it matters that you keep track of your investments, income, and spending. But something else matters more.
What truly matters when it comes to managing money is that you play two roles really well: the buyer and the seller. You shouldn’t try to think about numbers, but think about how much value the other person is placing on whatever it is they want from you in relation to how much value you’re putting on what you have.
When you are selling something, it’s crucial that you explain how what you’re selling will benefit the person you’re selling to. The challenge for you as the seller, is to show the buyer that whatever you’re selling is worth more than a certain amount of money you’re asking for. If you don’t do this, you won’t make the sale.
When you are the buyer, your goal is to get what you want and need at a price you feel is at least reasonable – if not at a discount. As the buyer, your goal is to spend your money on the things that matter most and not get caught up in irresponsible shopping. Sometimes if you think about the numbers too much, you’ll buy something just because it’s a deal – but is it really right for your life?
In either of these scenarios, you’re putting a value on money. You’re also placing a value on things. A trade occurs when you feel what the other person has is more valuable than what they want, and they feel the same way going in the opposite direction.
What makes you value certain things above others? That’s a difficult question. But we do know it has to do with your upbringing, previously held beliefs about the value of certain things, comparing items of interest together, and more. There are so many variables here, it’s hard to count all the possibilities.
Emotions also come into play. It’s clear that people aren’t rational beings when it comes to money (all you have to do is look at all the mistakes they make with it). If we’re not rational, we need tools to help us make the right decisions. Budgets are one such tool.
We need to make the right decisions. To do so, we should seek the Lord’s will. Whether we’re selling something or buying something, we need to ask the Lord if we’re doing the right thing at the right time. We need to place value on the things that matter for God’s kingdom, for our families, and for ourselves.
What do you value most? How do you make buying or selling decisions? Leave a comment!