There are milestones in life that stand out like signposts along a winding road.
For me, one of those milestones was finally paying off my mortgage at age 45.
I remember writing the check, licking the envelope, and dropping the final payment in the mail. My wife and I hugged.
It was the culmination of a long journey—a journey made possible because I chose to give every hard-earned penny from my part-time job a specific job: to eliminate my mortgage.
For years, I’d been envisioning a life unburdened by monthly mortgage payments. Imagining the freedom and peace that would come with owning my home outright became a kind of mental escape. But dreams remain dreams unless you act on them. I decided it was time to make mine a reality.
A friend told me about the idea of “giving your money a job.” By which, as he explained to me, he used to take specific portions of the money earned from his side-hustles and quantify them in terms of ongoing expenses. “One day, I noticed how my side hustle was bringing in enough money for my small family’s grocery bill. My goal became to make enough that it could cover our mortgage. And I’ve viewed every subsequent side hustle with the same lens.”
Based on his idea, I took on a part-time job and we earmarked every dollar I earned for our mortgage. Every hour I worked wasn’t just time away from home; it was a step closer to our dream. I found joy and purpose in the grind because I knew exactly what that extra income was achieving.
Understanding the Concept of “Giving Your Money a Job”
The notion of assigning your money a ‘job’ isn’t budgeting—although there is certainly an aspect of this that requires that.
Budgeting requires that you take your income and fit your specific expenses underneath it. A wise decision indeed.
“Giving your money a job” focuses more on providing motivation for earning money (or cutting costs) buy identifying the specific role that it plays in your life.
This could mean taking on extra shifts and using the earnings to fund a dream vacation, contribute to a charity you’re passionate about, or—as in my case—freeing yourself from the grip of a home loan. It could also mean not buying a morning latte and deciding instead to pay an extra $120/month toward your car loan.
Think of your income as a team of workers. Would you not want each team member to have a clear role, contributing efficiently towards the team’s ultimate goals? Money should work in the same way. Designating roles—or ‘jobs’—for your money streamlines your financial flow and eliminates wasteful spending.
And the idea provides numerous benefits.
The Benefits of Giving Your Money a Job
By deciding in advance what each dollar will do, you inherently prioritize your financial goals. This fosters a sense of purpose that makes both earning and spending more fulfilling.
When every dollar has a mission, you create an accountability loop. You know exactly where your money is going and why, leaving no room for frivolous expenses to sneak in.
You’ll find that extra work doesn’t feel burdensome when you’re motivated by a concrete goal. Whether you’re staying late at the office or cutting out your morning coffee, you’ll do it willingly because you know what you’re working towards.
While it’s not traditional budgeting, this approach forces you to be financially savvy. You allocate funds to specific roles, naturally constraining wasteful spending.
The intangible benefit is perhaps the most fulfilling. The joy you feel when a well-executed plan comes to fruition is priceless. It offers a rewarding emotional payoff that makes the entire process worth the effort.
Take the Next Steps
If you’re motivated to try out “giving your money a job” in your life, here are some practical steps to make it happen:
1. Identify Your Goals: Begin by listing down what you really want to achieve—be it long-term or short-term.
2. Assess Your Income: Look at your current income and decide how you can allocate it to serve your objectives.
3. Take Action: Once you’ve decided where each dollar will go, commit to it. Put a system in place that directs your money to its assigned ‘job’ the moment it enters your account.
4. Review and Adjust: Life is unpredictable. You’ll need to review your goals and the ‘jobs’ of your money periodically. Don’t hesitate to realign them as your circumstances change.
One thing I want to note here, implementing this idea doesn’t require that you find a second job or side hustle. And it even bring more financial meaning to the existing work that you do. It could help you think of your earnings in this way: the first 10 days of work each month pay the mortgage, the next 4 days cover our groceries and utilities…
One more benefit: When you give your money a job, you see its potential in a new light. Each dollar becomes a tool to help you reach your goals, big or small. Your income is no longer just a way to get by; it’s a way to thrive. This shift in perspective reveals the untapped potential of your finances, inspiring you to dream bigger and aim higher.
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