It is nothing money can’t fix

That is one of my favorite sayings. While I may look like I have my financial sh*t together, I have had way more occasions than I care to admit to say it. Last time? When I had to spend over $1,500 on a flight back to Europe because the $150 offer I had seen was sold out and I wanted to go to Europe on a whim. Did it hurt? Hell yes! Especially when in normal life you try to avoid unnecessary spending, and you live in a cheap country like Guatemala where $1,500 could cover all your expenses for a couple of months. But…


After all, it’s just money

Unlike time, you can get the money back. You can work harder, make more money, and it is only a minor setback. In a month, in a year, you’ll be back to where you were. Mistakes aside, money can fix so many things. All my frustration with the crooked politicians of my village could go away with a nice check stack of cash. Hiring the maid full time would mean marital bliss. Money could buy comfort, when you are too tired to ride the bus home and get a cab instead. Money could buy convenience when you are too lazy to cook and prefer to enjoy your friends and a ready made platter of appetizers.

Should you indulge every day? Not if you want to build wealth and get ahead. But for once, treating yourself won’t result in a major financial drop.

Moving on with your life

I remember losing quite a chunk of money trading a few years back. It was all online, and even though it was multiple times the biggest amount I’ve ever lost or had stolen in cash, the cash hurt much, much more. That’s weird! Online the number dropped, you couldn’t grab it or do anything, and that was about it. I guess I would feel the same if my house lost 99% of equity like the ones in Detroit. It it too big an amount to realize the magnitude of the blow. What can you do anyway? You have to move on with your life. Rip the bandage and keep going. If you have $100 and lose 50% trading, making back $50 with the $50 you have left means getting a 100% return. Suddenly things are much harder. But not impossible.

While I care a great deal about preserving my wealth and making smart money choices, I don’t care so much about losing money or stuff because I know I have the means to replace the stuff and the ability to make the money back. I prefer to live freely than having the stuff take some mental space, even if that means that once a year on average, I have to replace my cellphone, passport or other items.

A few years ago I was traveling and had managed to have a company sponsor a nice video camera, worth about $2,000. My friend had the previous model that he had paid for himself. We were using mine and his was in my backpack, which got stolen while we were hiking up a volcano. I told him it was my fault and I would give him my camera. I thought he’d be happy as it was a nicer one but he just yelled at me that I had no idea how much effort he put into saving for his camera, and throwing a better one at him wouldn’t solve the problem.

To me, there is little money can’t fix. It can’t fix health if you are terminal, and it can’t bring your loved ones back to life. But for almost everything else, even to buy time, money is there. And that’s why it is important to have a nice pad of savings so when a problem arises you can just get over it quickly and move on with your life.

I don’t mean to sound arrogant “let’s throw money at the problem” style, but think about it for a second. Before you agonize for weeks over a small money mistake, how about letting it go for once? Your sanity is worth more than that.


How long does it take you to recover from your money mistakes?

This post was featured on the Financial Carnival for Young Adults, My Wealth Desire, Carnival of Retirement, Carnival of Personal Finance, The Frugal Farmer, thank you!

A 30 something French girl embarking on a journey towards Financial Independence. I blog about money, travel, simple and deliberate living, freedom and choices. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or Reach Financial Independence's Facebook Page

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  1. Since I’ve been investing I’ve lost money in two market crashes. I’ve lost a lot in individual stocks when I was too heavily invested in one or two companies. I would be better off in index funds but I enjoy the thrill of researching and picking my own stocks. Although it is only a small part of my portfolio I still own individual stocks. I started buying the summer of 2009 which paid off nicely. Hopefully my portfolio will pay off my solar loan when it comes due.
    Charles@Gettingarichlife recently posted..Negative Net Worth Means You’re Paying To WorkMy Profile

  2. Pauline, I do agree whole-heartedly with you. There are choices to be made and hard decisions to be taken but usually money can solve many problems. Agonising over small stuff (or trying to do it all) is a BIG energy suck – energy that otherwise can go towards creating.
    maria@moneyprinciple recently posted..Cut expenses or increase income: profiles of personal financeMy Profile

  3. I agree with this for myself, but I know plenty of people who would say otherwise. My brother-in-law, for instance. He’s a police officer who’s got 10 years of experience and makes absolutely beans and works 50-60 hours a week, alternating day and night shifts. He spent 7 years putting himself through school for the degree to pursue that career, and has no desire to “be” anything else, because he’s serving his community in a very real way. To him and my sister (and their 4-month-old son) every small financial decision is worth discussing to make sure there is no waste, because they don’t have a ton of options when it comes to making it back up. Unless, of course, he decided to re-prioritize money above his career as a civil servant.

    It’s a tough situation that I’m glad not to have to deal with, but I wish I could help him remove some of the stress they have over small financial decisions!
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Gaming The System – A Quick $400 For A Cell Phone UpgradeMy Profile

  4. You’re so right about this – the quicker you can move on the better. There will always be money mistakes, missed opportunities, etc. You can easily spend the rest of your life dwelling on relatively small mistakes/.missed opportunities. I personally would rather spend my time and mental energy on more important things.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Let Your Parents Influence Your Financial Decisions in Your 20sMy Profile

  5. I think a growth mindset is th most important part. Instead of worrying about the money you spent, either figure out a way to do it better next time, or just move on and make more money. I think about this when I take a cab to the airport instead of the subway. It’s not worth agonizing over
    Cash Rebel recently posted..Is ObamaCare good for Early Retirement?My Profile

  6. I think this is a really important point if taken correctly. Having reserves on hand so that they curveballs life throws you don’t crush you is so important, but from a financial security standpoint and just a stress standpoint. Being able to handle the unexpected expenses that come your way, or being able to treat yourself every now and then makes life much more enjoyable. And you’re also absolutely right that what’s done is done and the best you can do is learn from it and move on.
    Matt Becker recently posted..How to Do an Oil Change for Your Car (Part 1)My Profile

  7. I completely agree Pauline. Like you said, there are a few things that no amount of money will help, but by and large I think you can recover from many money related mistakes. I do think that many struggle with this idea though as they see how long it took them to get the money or the work they put into it. I tend to view it as you can almost always find ways to make it back. Will it always be fun – no, but it can be done.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Why So Many People Fail at Becoming Debt Free, Part IIMy Profile

  8. I definitely have a similar attitude to yours about money. While I do think that people who don’t have enough money will likely feel very differently (that’s why the agonize about the smallest mistakes, I’d think), if you have enough and are happy, let it go!
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted..5 Essential Money Tips for NewlywedsMy Profile

  9. Money does solve *some* problems, whether we like it or not. It also gives me peace of mind, which is priceless =/
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Allstate Drivewise: An Honest ReviewMy Profile

  10. I wouldn’t say I agonized for weeks. =).

    But I think sometimes it’s frustrating when something feels like you were scammed or cheated because it’s more of a “why me?” It’s one thing to pay a bill late and owe a fine, okay. I know how to fix that next time and can shake that off instantaneously. But when someone steals from you, that’s not always so clear how to fix it without completely reshaping your view and trust in those around you.
    Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..His and Hers Wardrobe ExpansionsMy Profile

  11. People always say, “Money can’t buy happiness” or “health” or what have you- but I agree with you- It can help and do an awful lot. I don’t know why it’s so taboo to admit that.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..NYC Chocolate Tour ReviewMy Profile

  12. Sometimes I really let money mistakes bother me. However, you can’t change the past so I try not to waste too much time!
    Michelle recently posted..Fall Finance Tip: Improve Yourself!My Profile

  13. That’s a good point about being able to recover from financial setbacks. I’ve certainly had my share of those. It’s often very difficult to “see the light at the end of the tunnel” though when you are in the midst of those problems. In any case, money is merely a tool in this world. It allows you to accomplish just about whatever your want, good or bad, as long as you have enough of it.
    Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia recently posted..Relocate to Improve Personal Finances?My Profile

  14. You’ve got a good point about not doing this every day. It’s important to avoid wasting money, but when the occasional mini-crisis comes up I agree that it’s not such a bad thing to go ahead and spend – that’s what it’s for (as long as your definition of mini-crisis is reasonable).

    And this is another good example that OK, fine, money doesn’t buy happiness. But it sure makes things easier when you’ve got options and the ability to pay for them. If somebody wants to split hairs that’s fine I guess…
    Pat recently posted..Investing and Emotions Shouldn’t Mix (But They do Anyway)My Profile

  15. Hey Pauline and thanks for a fun and reflective post :)

    I also share your attitude towards money and one of my favorite sayings is: “easy come, easy go”.

    While I would like to have money saved, my finances are such at the moment that nearly every penny I get goes to someplace be it rent, bills, food or a bus pass. But that’s cool because I at least have the money to take care of my necessities :) So when the money falls from my hand, I just say “easy come, easy go” and then get on with moving forward.

    Take care and all the best.

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted..Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues!!My Profile

  16. Yes, losing money sucks, but the more you mourn over it, the more value you put to it. Instead, cope with your mistakes, throw money at it if needed, and move on. This is why financial independence is so important for me – I want to be able to move on at the end of the day.
    Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans recently posted..The Future YouMy Profile

  17. Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    I understand exactly what you’re saying, Pauline. I’ve seen it again and again – people make money mistakes (which every single person does) and all they can do is beat themselves up over it. They won’t move forward. They just stay in the same spot, obsessing over their mistake. Yes, it is important to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes but then we need to move on. We can’t fix or replace lost money if we just stay stuck.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How To Build a Strong Financial Foundation for Your FamilyMy Profile

  18. Always let it go. If you hold on too tightly, you just lose it faster.

    I know some people can’t help but agonize over every money mistake, but not me. During the first dotcom boom, I had unvested stock options that could have bought me a house, after taxes. By the time they vested, they barely bought a car.

    What do you do? You learn your lesson and move on. And hope you don’t make that same mistake again…
    Jack @ Enwealthen recently posted..California Government Surplus Personal Property Auction Meets Baggage BattlesMy Profile

  19. Since travelling, I’ve definitely realised how nice it is to be able to throw money at problems. From the small (walk for 30 minutes with packs on or take the metro for $2.50?) to the big (if something goes wrong, can we afford to suck up the fees/sunk costs/whatever?).
    eemusings recently posted..Sorry London, I’ll take Paris any dayMy Profile

  20. I see lots of people waste so much time worrying about what was lost or what might have been. I hate to lose money in stupid ways, but it’s best to move on.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Make Christmas Shopping Affordable, Starting NowMy Profile

  21. How long? Well, for me, it’s not that long. I know that I couldn’t do anything about it because it already happened. I just learn how to move on much quicker and go on with my life.
    Mark Ross recently posted..7 Shopping Tips That Can Help You Save MoneyMy Profile

  22. That s great way to put it: you can earn money to replace money spent, but you can never replace time. So true. There have been many times in my life where I spend a little more just to enjoy the experiences I have. Money is important, but it’s not the only important thing.
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..5 Autumn Home Maintenance TipsMy Profile

  23. Pauline!!! There are armies of touchy-feelies that will fight you tooth and nail on this. Thankfully, I am not among them. Money is often nothing more than a representation of our values, so we are largely what we spend. And, yes, money can fix nearly any problem because it is used for resources or the things we need. The lip service we pay to money isn’t everything is tiresome just like most inane maxims that we carelessly toss about. Great take on a interesting issue, Pauline!!!
    cj recently posted..Get Flipped Off and Love ItMy Profile

  24. I agree that money cannot return back the lose life of your life. Like what happened to you lately, there is a reason why it happened to you. May be God give you some lessons so that in the near future you will not lose more money. Who knows may be it is worth millions of dollar.

    The most important is if we did some money mistakes we should learn from it. We should let it go in order to move on to the better things in life.
    My Wealth Desire recently posted..BLOG | My Wealth DesireMy Profile

  25. I started paying more attention to where and how I spend my money, so the mistakes I now make are clearly smaller than what I’d do years ago for instance. I don’t like to obsess too much about them though, since in the end life is not just good choices. While I do try to be more responsible with my money, if I do spend it unwisely sometimes, I just take the lesson learned and move forward with it.
    dojo recently posted..Top Things to Do in IstanbulMy Profile

  26. Oh, we have made money mistakes, but now we are on the right track. When we lose money now, usually for a house or car repair, we don’t even get a good rant out of it anymore. We are happy we plan for mistakes and have an emergency fund. We got serious about money and lightened up about it, if that makes any sense at all!
    Tammy R recently posted..Get Flipped Off and Love ItMy Profile

  27. Love this, Pauline. You’ve made the point so clearly that we just shouldn’t worry so much about monetary related things. There’s always more money to be made somewhere, whether it’s from another job, a business, selling things or whatever. We’ve come to this realization recently and it’s really helped us to not be stressed out about our debt situation.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Is Preserving Your Own Food Worth the Effort?My Profile

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