Anyone else been thinking about money a lot this week? The combination of a new £1 coin being announced, a £108 million lottery win for one person, and of course not forgetting the Budget, money seems to have been at the forefront of my mind over the last few days. Let’s face it, money is always headline news, but it just feels like it’s been even more so this week.
Earlier in the week BBC Breakfast lead with a story that despite the apparent economic recovery, most people still believe that they will be no better off in 2014. The combination of bills going up and salaries staying the same means we have much less money to spend on the nice things. I am definitely one of the people the BBC was talking about – I certainly don’t feel the effects of any mathematical economic recovery! Don’t get me wrong, I know I am not poor; we only have to open our eyes and look around us to see people who are really struggling with day to day expenses. The incredible rise in the use of food banks and the strain put on local and national charities is further evidence. Things are more stretched these days; we all have to think carefully about whether we go somewhere or have something by asking the “can I really afford this?” question.
So imagine, then, if you were that lottery winner. I’m not technically allowed to even dream about that, I don’t play as gambling is something I’ve always been taught is a bad idea as you are winning something at many other people’s expense. But I can’t help but think about it. £108 million. Wow. What would you do with it? What would you do first?
I’d “retire” for a start. Yes I would. I know people who wouldn’t, mainly through the fear of boredom or the sheer love of their employment. But I would be handing in my notice so I could follow some of my big dreams and do something more worthwhile with my time and money. Purely for me and my family I’d get my mortgage paid off, maybe upgrade my home a bit, to one with a pool perhaps, and do the same for my family. I’d replace my car, build a mansion for the bunnies, and buy some new shoes. And then I’d go off and see the world – as much of it as possible, experiencing cultures and learning loads about our planet and its people. I’d spend my life having the best journey ever, learning, experiencing, helping. Charity work? Yes, absolutely, giving back to the people I meet and places I go. I would do my best to use my money to inspire others too, to show people that life is indeed all about the journey.
But actually, I don’t need £108 million to prove that life is all about the journey. A few pennies is all that is needed; enough to live on. Even in these times of austerity, we can all have experiences that make a difference to us and the people we meet. It may be by taking part in the current 40 Acts for Lent scheme (how is your generosity jar coming along?), or joining in with Happier or Embrace Happy. These schemes are all about realising that we can make something of what we have already. Thinking so much about money this week has helped remind me that I am happiest when I am working towards a goal that might not actually cost me anything. Yes money is a big worry, and things might be much easier if we had a bit more, but this doesn’t have to get in the way of having a good attitude towards life.
Life is all about the journey. Where are you going? What can you do today to inspire someone else that costs nothing?