I have a saying that says, “Show me the calendar of a person and I’ll show them their priorities.”
Now, I have a better version: Show me the spending of a person and I will show you what they are passionate about.
I spent many years talking with people about their spending habits and finally, I narrowed them down to 10 “Money Dials.” Money Dials are named because they can be “tuned” up or down, just like a dial.
You would know the Money Dial of someone else if you looked at their spending for 10 minutes. If I looked at my spending, I would be able to tell you how it is. Money Dials can help you understand the reasons people make certain choices and go deeper than you thought.
Money dials are fascinating because people go where their money and time go. Fit people, for example, spend money and time to stay fit. Fashionable people spend their time shopping and reading fashion magazines.
It’s when we are misaligned that is the most interesting part. People may say that family is the most important thing in their lives, but if they look at their spending and calendars, you’ll see that family isn’t even in the top 10.
Money dials can be used to quickly determine what you consider important and what you don’t.
Each of us has a special area we love spending money on. Here are 10 Money Dials I have identified that we love to spend our money on.
What gets you excited about your spending?
Which of these would you choose to invest $25,000 if you had the money? The answer is probably the #1 Money Dial.
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Your Money Dial can change the way you look at your spending. It will allow you to understand your spending habits and help you redirect your spending to spend extravagantly in your Money Dial. This is Conscious Spending.
Money Dials are an evolution of Conscious Spending. They zoom in on the idea of spending excessively guilt-free.
Below are examples of people who have different Money Dials.
The common thread is that no matter what Money Dial someone chooses, they can create a life that allows them both to spend lavishly and unapologetically for the things that matter to them, but also to cut back on the unnecessary things.
This is the power and potential of Money Dials.
Money Dials’ best feature is the ability to zoom in on your love by turning the dial-up.
Find your Money Dials
You can find your Money Dials by asking yourself this question: What do YOU LOVE to spend your money on?
This can be a very uncomfortable question to ask. It can also be quite scary. It is easy to be demonized in our society and culture, especially when it involves spending on ourselves. It is accompanied by guilt, shame, and judgment.
It’s a judgmental response. As if spending money on things you love and have the means to buy is wrong.
What if we took these same people and looked at their spending for a month. I can guarantee that I would be able to find areas in their lives where they are “wasting” their money.
Recognizing that there are areas you love and would like to spend on is okay. It doesn’t matter what others think about your spending because everyone has different Money Dials. It is simply a matter of you having different priorities. It’s simply a matter of different priorities. It doesn’t matter if you love to travel to exotic locations for a week, but another person would prefer to spend the same amount on a new iPhone. This is perfectly normal!
This is just honest and truthful to ourselves about our Money Dials.
If we are honest about our Money Dials, we can adjust them to spend more on the things that bring joy and more enjoyable experiences. (For example, think of spending more on first-class travel than the economy all time).
This is psychologically crucial.
We’ll have more money and energy for the things that bring happiness. But we won’t feel guilty because we know we’ve made it possible to spend the money by neglecting everything else.
It is both frightening and liberating all at once. It allows us to say “Hey, that’s important to me — but it’s not.”
My most successful friends are very aware of how much they spend. They don’t stop spending, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t. This means they make decisions about WHERE and HOW they spend their money and are not afraid to allocate significant resources to help them live a better lifestyle.
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Here are 10 of the most popular Money Dials
Let’s take a look at the ten most popular Money Dials. Pay attention to how these relate to your spending habits as you read.
These are the categories:
Let’s have a look at each Money Dial. Pay attention to how these Money Dials fit in with your spending habits as you read.
Money Dial #1: Convenience
The Money Dial allows you to spend on any item that will make your life easier.
Extra iPhone charger
Automated bank accounts and automation in many areas of life
I enjoy spending my money on convenience. I have turned the Money Dial-up. To streamline my life and reduce stress, I spend over $50,000 per year on a personal chef and chef. A VA is also available to me.
Optimizes my Calendar for Me
All my travel arrangements were arranged, right down to finding the perfect seat on the ideal flight and the best route to the airport
All my appointments and calls are scheduled
A friend of mine tells me the story about how their assistant managed their workout schedule and saved them an hour each week. How’d you do it? That’s what I want. That’s it! It’s how I wire myself. It’s my favorite thing.
Pre-cut vegetables are a simpler option if you prefer convenience. This will save you the time and effort of chopping your vegetables.
These are just a few examples of other examples submitted by our readers.
Blue Apron was our main source of income for a whole year. It was so easy to go home and see what we had for dinner.
“I spent a lot on a luxury car service that would take me from Los Angeles and Huntington Beach. Although it was more expensive than Uber, I wanted the convenience of knowing that I would get a ride when I needed it. I was able to ride in comfort and style, and I didn’t have to worry about logistics. I discovered that luxury experiences are more cost-effective because they do all the work for you.
“The $350 that I spent on a Roomba was an incredibly important investment in the game of dog hair.”
Money Dial #2: Vacation
What does the average person do when they travel? They might take a week off at Christmas and one week off in summer. What would their #1 Money Dial look like if they were to travel?
These are just a few examples.
They already know where they are going this year on January 1st
They are often the masters of travel hacking/points management
They keep a huge list of travel destinations in their heads and talk about where they have been and where they are going.
They are divided on what the “right” bag is, how to pack it, and which seats they prefer.
What if someone is passionate about traveling? These are extreme examples:
They take their family to Paris once a year and rent an apartment high above a patisserie.
Surprise their partner by taking weekend road trips with them once a month
They fly Emirates first-class to Dubai
This Money Dial-up can be used to travel for months each year, join a travel group, spend on Inspirato memberships or multi-generational travel experiences, and develop strong perspectives about travel.
These are just a few examples of our readers who consider traveling their primary money dial:
It was not something I thought would be travel, but my husband and I have three campers now. Although it is much less expensive than flying, it still takes up a lot of our time and discretionary money. This is shocking to me because I don’t like camping. A camper lets us travel with our dogs, without having to worry about getting them on board a plane or whether the place is pet-friendly. My husband can do the type and amount of travel he desires, which is to travel in the middle of nowhere. I can do the type and amount of travel I desire, which is exploring new cities, all in one trip. We can also move around every day without having to change hotels. Our monthly cost includes the payment, insurance, and parking. This does not include gas and fees for parks (if we choose to stay in one). This is a large amount of money, but it’s worth the cost because it allows us to explore .”.
“We spent $15,000 twice in a row (and will likely do it for five more years even though it increases our budget and requires us to make sacrifices elsewhere) for a week-long family vacation with children (8 and 11 years old) to Tavarua Island, Fiji. Family time, surfing time (my passion), as well as dedicated time with friends and family every year make for the best family time. My children want us to reserve it for next year as soon as we pack up. To ensure that our finances are in order .”, we may have to give up a few years.
“I spent on a family Disney vacation. We stayed at Disney’s Polynesian, right on the Monorail line. We bought the full meal plan as well as the full ‘Park Hopper tickets for the entire trip. It was more expensive than going cheap, I’m sure. My family and I had a great time. We didn’t worry about food. Because we were completely free, we never had to worry about food. These memories are priceless .”
Money Dial #3: Fitness/Health
LeBron James invests $1.5million a year to keep his body in peak condition, according to The Ringer. This includes investing in health-promoting practices such as cryotherapy or hyperbaric chambers. His chefs and trainers help him to adhere to a strict diet.
It is a wonderful thing.
His goal is to achieve peak physical fitness in all aspects of his life. He doesn’t just spend $100 on a massage, but he considers it a good investment. He has made health and fitness his #1 Money Dial. Therefore, he has arranged his finances to include investing in this area and focusing on it.
These are just a few examples.
A gym membership is determined by the quality and not distance from your home/apartment.
Personal trainer + nutritionist
Choose food based on macros and not just taste (e.g. Ezekiel bread).
Be selective about what you wear to the gym (Lulemon and Nike are the best).
To take it to the extreme, the Health and Fitness Money Dial could mean annual yoga retreats and always reviewing restaurant menus before going. It can also refer to joining fitness-focused social groups.
These are just a few examples of readers’ work:
“Currently, paying a nutritionist $275/month to a six-month program.”
I spend about $12,000 annually as a personal trainer in Gyrotonics and Pilates classes. It’s well worth it .”
“Right now, I spend a little more than the average monthly income to go to a particular karate dojo. I have taken classes with one of the most respected masters in karate in Europe. It was one of the best decisions. “I am now in better physical and mental health than ever (this master is an old school so he includes all spiritual aspects of karate in his classes).
#4: Experiences – Money Dial
Money Dial’s experiences are ideal for those who value novelty and unique experiences more than material possessions.
Unusual vacation activities include swimming with blue whales
Michelin-starred restaurants for dinner
Recently, Money Dial has been a place where I have been sharing my money experiences. My dream was to take my entire family to a large house in the Caribbean. The kids could play in the pool and we could all get together. We could also rent the big house. Someone would clean the beds and make the beds. My mom would not have to cook. It was fun, and it was delicious. It was wonderful to see our family in such a great environment for a week. We had fun and made great memories of spending time together.
Because I love learning about the craft, I took a factory tour at one of my favorite Italian clothing companies.
We hired a photographer to photograph the Taj Mahal on our honeymoon. This was something we would never normally do. Those photos are still on my living room table. These photos are so special to me. The photographer was there. Although he did charge me more than I would normally pay, I thought, “This is something that we’ll never forget.” I was glad to oblige.
These are just a few more examples we received from readers.
“I always buy concert tickets VIP. VIP box seats offer a better view and private wait staff. I don’t sweat next to sweaty arms (I’m short so this is reality), and VIP Parking is often included. It is very close to the venue. There may be a pre-show catered event or meet and greet with various bands. I’m not 15 anymore. Roughing it is not my style. I have spent as much as $1,000 and $100 on one concert ticket. It’s like playing a game to get the best seats, and I don’t regret ever going to a concert.
“I purchased 2017 World Series tickets for $2,600. I paid for two poor tickets. But, I had to see it.”
“I paid $1,000+ to see Stevie Wonder live in concert in Las Vegas. Although I didn’t care about traveling to Vegas, it was the only place where Stevie Wonder was performing this year. Although he is my favorite living musician, I had never seen him live. I spent a lot and bought a great seat on the floor in the middle, 13 rows back. As you’d expect, he was a great performer and we had a wonderful time. It was so wonderful to be alive. It was something I would do again.
Money Dial #5 – Freedom
A Rich Life to me is about freedom. It’s not about worrying about money and being able to travel and do the things I love. It’s about having the ability to spend my money on whatever I like, without worrying about whether I can afford a house or whether I’ll be able to take a taxi.
People who have freedom from Money Dial love the ability to do whatever they want when they want. Their lives are no longer restricted by money. They don’t always think about cost first. It’s often time, quality, relationships, or just “I want it” that they consider.
These are just a few examples of readers’ work:
“Self-funding our one-year mat leave. Many of our friends work full-time jobs they don’t like but keep because it ‘has benefits. Although it’s still a work-in-progress (we plan to start a family in 2 years), it’s great to know we’ll be able to enjoy early parenting without worrying about money.
My wife is finishing her medical residency. It doesn’t matter how long she works or how many days she works. What matters is how much she earns for each day she works. She can choose the hours and job she likes without worrying about our financial health. Freedom!”
“I put aside enough money to allow me to devote some of my time to my writing and my dream of becoming a screenwriter. After years of ‘dabbling” in documentaries and short fiction, I set myself a five-year deadline to see my first feature in the cinemas. It turned out that I didn’t need much money to make ends meet without feeling like I was missing out.
Money Dial #6 – Relationships
My friend is 40 and works in technology. He makes multiple six-figures per year. According to most accounts, he can spend as much money as he likes. You can travel the world, buy expensive watches, and cars, or you can retire early.
He chooses to live near his family in Palo Alto, one of the most expensive places in the U.S. He isn’t considered wealthy in Palo Alto. He’s middle-class in Palo Alto. He also sends his children to a private school which can run into the tens of thousands each year. He just purchased a property and is now building a house with a unique suite for his parents. He is not able to afford extravagant trips or fancy purchases, but that’s a trade-off.
He loves to talk about his family whenever we speak. This makes perfect sense. Because his number one money dial is his relationship with his family.
This is one way to make relationships your #1 Money Dial. Another friend sends out a “FUN LIBRARY” email once per month to his friends with information about events and activities in NYC. It contains things such as a “Taste of Tribeca”, a Cinco De Mayo fundraiser, and an event called “Intrepid Summer Film Series,” which allows you to watch movies from an aircraft carrier. He then goes with his friends to see the movies they are most excited about. This is an excellent example of someone who invests his time and money in friendships.
These are some great examples submitted by readers:
“Greeting cards are great for bridal showers and birthdays. No matter how deep the relationship is, I will always choose a high-quality card over the cheaper options. I keep many of the cards that I get and a quality or unique card is a great way to mark a milestone or give as a gift.
“We booked our parents on a 7-night cruise (our treat) to celebrate their anniversaries. They wouldn’t have imagined or done this otherwise. We were happy to do this for them after all they did for us.
“My brother and I took my mom and dad (and our families) to Rome for a 10-day trip. My mom, a Latin teacher all her life, had never been to Rome. In 2016, my husband and I spent more than a week in the city thanks to my part-time wedding photographer business. We still think back to the gelato and pizza. The best $$$ spent! !”
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Money Dial #7 – Generosity
The majority of people give to charity at the close of the year. They may volunteer at their children’s school now and again. Perhaps they offer to drive their friend from one place to another.
What would it look like if generosity were your #1 Money Dial?
Great tips could make you a household name. 25% tips? This is your minimum. 100% tips? Yes, it’s possible.
Surprise your nieces or nephews with gifts just for you
You’d host a massive event every year to raise $10,000 for your favorite charity.
My wife and I hosted a fundraiser in NYC a few years back. Both of us come from immigrant families and wanted to raise funds for families separated at the border. We felt helpless, angry, and sad by what we saw. We also know we can make a difference. So we did.
This is your #1 Money Dial. You can be generous.
These are some other examples of generosity from readers:
“When Beyonce went on tour a few years back, I bought tickets for my wife (and any 4 friends she might want to bring) five people in one vehicle. Each ticket costs around $200, which is a total of around $400. She was so shocked when I presented her with the tickets that she cried for days.
“I donate $15,000 annually to different charities. This is luxury living, and I don’t think anyone would call me crazy if I had expensive dinners, BMWs, jewelry, or other luxurious items. Giving back is my priority.
“One of my closest friends was in credit card debt. She was committing suicide to pay it off. But she worked for a non-profit (read: does not get much). It would take her many years. It was a simple matter of two of us going in to pay it off for her. A $5,000 check can be written to free a friend from their chains. Priceless.”
Money Dial #8: Luxury
People think of luxury as “excess.” They are someone who pays more for something they can get for much less. It could also be something “unnecessary”. Who needs a $20,000 watch. A $15 Timex offers the same functionality, or better.
Luxury is all about the feeling, the packaging, and the emotion. Luxury is about your identity.
Notice our first reaction. “LOL, stupid people.” They don’t realize they are being ripped off.
It’s not absurd.
It might seem crazy to me, or your college friend might agree. But if you are getting exceptional value from it, that is luxury.
Mercedes-Benz’s slogan “The best or no” is why you ask? A Honda Civic can’t get you from one place to another without premium sound and a 577 horsepower engine. Yes. Mercedes owners desire more than just functional transportation. They desire an experience.
These are just a few examples from readers who have embraced luxury:
“A well-designed high-quality backpack. It’s important to have a bag that is easy to access when you are in tight spaces. Peak Design backpacks are my favorite.
Allen Edmonds shoes cost $300 per pop. I have two of them now. When I tell people what I paid, they freak out. It’s a very expensive purchase. Most of my family and friends can’t believe I spent $300 more on such an extravagant item as shoes. Everyone comments on how beautiful they are and how it improves my overall appearance.
“I paid thousands to buy an Eames lounge chair. It hasn’t made a difference in my life. It’s worth every penny.
“I bought a pair of boots for $700 seven years ago. It was an incredible luxury at that time. They were almost too much for me. I felt impulsive and anxious when I bought them. I loved THEM. They’re still very hot 7 years later! I still get compliments.”
Money Dial #9: Social Status
It can seem shallow at first, but sometimes social status is quite important. In high school, we can still recall being judged by what brand of clothes we wore. Ugh.
There are also good reasons to value your social status.
A Rolex watch, or Loro Piana sweater, is functionally identical to something that costs 1/100th as much, but it tells you certain things about the person wearing it. Do not laugh, most people are apathetic about status. This is ironic because we all consider status in other areas of our lives, such as the school we attend, where we live, and what job we have. These items can convey a subtle status that can help people “in” their status. It may reveal something about their income, personal style, or taste.
Loyalty cards can be used to get extra benefits such as better rooms, cashback, free travel, or other benefits. A higher status can mean thousands of dollars in annual savings.
These are just a few examples of the social status of Money Dial.
“I had a vanilla wash and wax scheduled for Sunday. Instead, I asked them about their highest level of service. They said they prepare cars for dealer rooms or car shows, including antique and high-end cars. They can also do full paint jobs, mirror shine polish, and even complete painting. They did a complete paint correction and many other things. I paid them about $1,000. Three men rubbed my car for 8 hours. It was a very unpleasant experience.
Three months ago, I signed up for Rent the Runway’s $159 monthly subscription. This designer clothing site sends 4 pieces per month to you to keep for as long or as you like. I find that I spend less time making clothes decisions, feel better, and look better in well-made clothes. I also have a lot more fun with my closet. Although it feels extravagant, it is so worth it.”
“I purchased a $1500 full-canvas, tailored construction suit in the U.S. You can buy off the shelf and have them adopted. My VP said it be the first time I wore tailored suits. People assume that you take yourself seriously when you make the above purchase. This is far more valuable than a few hundred dollars.
“I pay $450/year to Chase Sapphire Reserve to have access to an airline lounge for comfort and relaxation, plus car rental status to get any vehicle off the lot (from Corvettes up to SUVs, and I only pay for the midsize)
Money Dial #10 – Self-improvement
There are many ways that people can spend their money on self-improvement.
You can take an online course in copywriting or social skills.
Register for an in-person class (public speaking or dance)
A trainer can be hired at the gym
I am a huge reader. I try to read at least two books per week. I invented “Ramit’s Book-Buying Rule”. If you find a book to be even remotely interesting, then buy it. Don’t even waste five seconds debating it. It is worth it if you only get one idea out of the book. This idea might be the one that transforms your life or challenges long-held beliefs. These moments can be a great help in your growth.
A great way to think about self-improvement is the “Hotshot Rule”. It was developed by Kat Cole, former Cinnabon president. She would travel somewhere quiet and reflect on the state of her company four times per year. Then she would ask herself, “Let’s suppose a hotshot takes my job today.” What are the three or four things that a hotshot would look at to say “That’s unacceptable!”?
This is a great rule for business and life in general. What would you say if someone looked at my life, including my food choices, relationships, and health? Identifying these areas will help you focus your efforts on making improvements.
These are some examples of readers who have shown us how self-improvement can be their Money Dial.
“Ski instruction. It is something I do every day. It has improved my abilities and you have better experiences (views of the terrain, thrills, peace, etc.) in the mountains.
“I spent $15k to hire a sales coach. It turned out to be one of the best investments I have ever made. In less than one year, I doubled my income. I was promoted and then headhunted for a great job. It was paid for by work 9 months later. My new boss has sent the other managers to similar programs. It’s something I regret not having done sooner.
“I love spending money to improve my electric guitar skills and take lessons from great people. I had the opportunity to learn from the guitarist of a Bay Area heavy-metal touring band. These guys have been an inspiration to me for many years. My abilities have skyrocketed.
What’s your Money Dial
You may have noticed that many of these Money Dials overlap. Some things we spend money on appear in two categories. A Rolex, for example, can serve as both a luxury item and a way to show off your social status. A trainer could be hired to improve your health, fitness, and self-improvement.
You can identify which primary category a product that you spend money on if it appears in more than one category. You can also look at the other items you spend money on to confirm. Do they belong to one of these Money Dials?
Your #1 Money Dial will flow through your life and affect everything you do with your money. It is your strategy. The tactics you use to implement your strategy are determined by how much money you spend. Now you are the CEO of your own life.
Money Dials is my favorite feature. Once you have identified yours and accepted it, you can zoom in to see what you love by turning up the dial-up.
It might seem extreme for some, but it is for me a no-brainer. Because I am familiar with my Money Dial and can focus on it when I need to, I have more time to invest in my business and make even more money.
Money Dial challenge
Here’s my challenge: Take $500 and spend it lavishly on something that you love.
This is going to cost you a lot, but it’s what’s important. It can be difficult to spend money on things you love at first. This is especially true when you consider the “Invisible Scripts”, the universal assumptions we accept in our lives, and the noise surrounding spending.
You’ll be able to feel the value of these items once you do. This allows you to adjust your spending so you can live your Rich Life.