What are the correct ways to spend our earnings?

I know of some people who always say they’re short on money at the end of the every month even though they get paid well each month. I would like to ask Luang Phaw to recommend the correct way to spend their earnings. https://dmc.tv/a3453

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Jan 10th, 2005 ] - [ read : 13155 ]
 
Question:
I know of some people who always say they’re short on money at the end of the every month even though they get paid well each month. I would like to ask Luang Phaw to recommend the correct way to spend their earnings.
 

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku
 
On the issue of money shortage, if people do not know the proper way to spend money, no matter how much money they’ve earned, they’re always going to be short on cash.  We’re not just talking about the monthly salary.  If they were given the ownership of the mint to print money, without proper management of their money, soon the mint too would go kaput.

Our Thai forefathers taught us the way to spend money.  Let’s not even talk about the way to make money.  Frankly, if one has a small salary income, the chances of not having enough to use is an obvious potential circumstance.

But what you’ve asked is about those who never seem to have enough no matter how much they’ve earned.  This type of people deserves a good chastising.  Thai ancestors suggested a way of allocating your resources.

First, they taught us to eat when we were hungry, not just whenever we felt like eating something.  Pay attention carefully, because if we ate whenever we wanted to eat, we would never have any self control.  But we eat when we’re hungry because eating in this situation is a necessity.  Simply saying, the principle is:

1)  We must distinguish between the ‘need’ from the ‘want’.  “Wanting” is not a necessity.  “Necessity” is not a desire or a want.

But when the majority of the people want to eat or have anything, they prejudicially think it is a necessity.  This is what makes people feel like nothing is ever enough.  So examine yourself well first.  This is the first step.  A person who can manage their money well is someone who is able to distinguish between “need” and “want”.  If you can distinguish that, then you have succeeded half of the way.

Secondly, regarding money management, my progenitors including my mother taught me not to manage money at the amount of the income received or the expenditure spent, but at the savings.

People generally like to think that the more they earn the more the reserves they should have; the lesser the earnings, the lesser the reserve or the less they have to spend.  They see this matter as a normally occurring scenario.

My mother gave a simile that illustrated the usefulness of a bamboo basket in fetching water.  When the basket is in the water, it is full of water.  But when you lift the basket out of water, only the empty basket remains or a few drops of water are left at the bottom of it.

If a small coconut shell or a small bowl is immersed in water, it may look like it doesn’t contain much water.  But when you carry it up, it is completely full of water.

For that reason, when it comes to the management of money, my mother once taught me when I was not yet ordained that the amount earned is not as important as the amount saved.

Therefore, before spending the money, stop to ask yourself how much savings you want left for this month and set aside that amount.  You can then deposit it in the bank or save it by any method you’d like, but you need to save it.   You can spend freely with the rest.  This is a method of managing money by setting aside what you want to save or have left.

When you are able to differentiate between the “need” and the “want” you will spend only on the “need” for it is necessary, and not because you like or want to squander your money away.

Second, manage your money based on what you want to save, not by the earnings or expenditures.  You need to know how much to set aside for times of sickness.  Be able to manage your money this way first so you won’t be overindulging your mouth and stomach.  Soon you will be able to manage it easily.

Keep in mind that there really are two kinds of savings –material saving and meritorious saving.

The material saving, as mentioned, is the money you’ve set aside to be deposited in the bank so that you may have it to use for future times of sickness.

Don’t forget to make another saving, the meritorious kind.  The meritorious saving comes from the money you used to make merit.  Learn how to convert your material wealth into meritorious wealth so that you can deposit it into your merit bank.

Making merit through contribution to temples and charities is a way to convert the material wealth into meritorious wealth.  This type of wealth will remain with us across many lifetimes and existences.  It can not be robbed, cheated, burnt or flooded.

Saving money in the banks or investing money in the stock market must be done with care and caution for the IMF have demonstrated in the past the problems it caused for the people of Thailand.  Manage your wealth by setting aside extra money for use in the future.

Manage your money by allocating a saving for your material and meritorious wealth.
So first determine whether your spending is for a “need” or a “want” before spending it.  If you follow this, you will soon  inevitably become wealthy.

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