All of us like to spend time in nature, especially in the great state of Alabama where there are dozens of parks and hiking trails where you can lose yourself for an afternoon. But next time you’re enjoying the beauty of the world of nature, take a minute to think about what lessons it could teach you about your day-to-day life, especially when it comes to how you handle your money.
Here are a few simple lessons the world of nature can teach you about your finances.
One of the single most important lessons you can learn from nature is minimalism. When you’re hiking or camping, do you bring the contents of your home with you? Of course not. You only bring what you truly need, and that in itself is a valuable lesson.
And yet even with everything we already have, once we’re back at home we’ll spend even more money on things: smartphones, clothes, furniture - you name it. Regardless of what we already have, human nature makes us want more.
How do you curb that habit? Next time you’re thinking about buying something you’re not totally sure you need, ask yourself this simple question: can I live without it? If you can, then it’s probably not worth buying.
Minimalism isn’t just about reducing the number of superfluous things we spend money on that we don’t truly need; it’s also about focusing on the things that are most important to us, and when we’re in nature they are much easier to identify. Emotional connections, experiences, meaningful heirlooms: often these are the things that stick with us in the long term.
If this philosophy resonates with you, start placing a higher value and priority on life experiences over material goods. Next time you’re considering a purchase, ask yourself if that money wouldn’t be better spent saving for a vacation, your retirement, or simply having a safety net in place for life’s unexpected expenses.
Another aspect of minimalism is learning to make do with what you have. On a camping trip or hike, you can’t just run to the store to buy a new tool to work on a project or fix a problem. You’re forced to work with what you have, which requires adaptability and creative thought. When you’re stripped of all other options, you’ll probably find you’re far more resourceful than you ever thought possible.
Next time you’re tempted to go buy something to complete a DIY project or make a repair, try making do with what you already have or borrow what you need from a friend or family member. Make the effort to explore all your possibilities to avoid spending money unnecessarily.
Speaking of exhausting all your options, that’s another lesson that nature can teach us: not to leave anything outside of the box of possible financial tools. Whether that means taking out new credit cards, using payday loans, or taking out a second mortgage, every option should be on the table. Too often we limit our focus and ignore simple solutions based solely on unconscious biases or ideas we haven’t full thought through. Don’t set limits for yourself, conscious or otherwise.