The Joy of Money

I have often used a matrix when prioritizing time but I had never thought of using it for money until I read The Joy Dividend by Martha Beck in the latest O magazine. It makes so much sense. Basically you look at the satisfaction or joy you get from your purchases. What you value comes from your unique desires.
Martha’s matrix is a simple two-by-two matrix. There are 4 quadrants labeled 1) Top-Dollar Items: I really NEED it and I really LOVE it. 2) Bottom-Dollar Items: I really NEED it, but I don’t really LOVE it. 3) Remaining-Dollar Items: I don’t really NEED it, but I really LOVE it. 4) No-Dollar Items: I don’t really NEED it, and I don’t really LOVE it.
Start by writing down all the things you spend money on. If an item falls in category 1 or 2, you must budget for it before buying anything extra. Martha suggests you start with category 2 and you buy these items as cheaply as possible. Save all the money you can in this category. Then in category 1 buy the best things you can afford. Don’t listen to others but go with your own gut. If you have any money left over, spend it in category 3- things you love but don’t need. This might be the gourmet coffee you buy as a treat or a piece of art work. Don’t buy items from category 4. Just because your friend buys something and is so pleased by it, doesn’t mean that it is for you. If you don’t need or love it, don’t succumb to the purchase.
So for me, I spend the least I can get by with on electronic gadgetry, a lot on good food and food preparation items like good knives, hope to have money left to buy flowers for my house, and don’t buy antique jewelry or knickknacks.
Bargain for your needs, celebrate your loves, and keep an eye out for the joy factor.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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