I'm a bit of a perfectionist. If I'm going to do something, I want to do it well. I would rather not do anything instead of trying and failing. So when I started getting involved in personal finance, I wanted to do it so well that I would stand out above the crowd. I wanted to take my money and utilize it the absolute max. What I've come to learn, however, is that by attempting to be perfect, I've lost something even more valuable along the way – time. Being financially perfect is difficult. There's so many different ways that you can use your money, using it as “perfectly” as possible is a difficult task. It's not far from impossible. It is, however, really close to time consuming.
Think about it. If you want to make sure that you're using your money effectively, you need to know what options you have. If you're investing, for example, you need to know what type of investments are available. You need to know which investments are more likely to get a greater return, and which ones are more likely to fail. You need to know a lot about investing in order to make the best investing decision. Even grocery shopping can be difficult. Should you purchase ketchup now or wait until next week? How long can you go without buying bread? Is milk cheaper here or at the grocery store down the road – and are the savings worth the extra cost in gas money? Are there coupons? When do they expire? What meals will most effectively use the ingredients that are already on sale and already in my cupboard? As you can see, it can quickly become a difficult task ensuring you're getting the most for your money.
So what's the solution? Stop trying to be perfect. I'm serious, just plain stop trying. Don't stop trying to do well with your money, of course, but stop trying to be perfect. Don't worry about where the milk or the gas is the cheapest – it's not worth the gas money, and even if it is, it won't be worth the extra time it takes to drive from one place to other. Unless your closest grocery store is consistently and vastly overpriced, don't worry about making sure you have the best deals all the time. Just do your best, make smart decisions, and let the rest go. Unless your full time job is making sure that the money that you already have is spent correctly, don't pursue perfection. Pursue “good enough”. If there's a deal or a bargain or a sale going on, don't wilfully ignore it, but don't spend your limited time on the earth making sure you are saving thirty seven cents here or there. Money can come and go, but you only have so many hours on this earth. Don't waste them pursuing financial perfection so that you can afford a better TV or another meal out. Spend your time with family and friends watching your crappy TV and eating leftovers.
Do you pursue financial perfection? Where do you “let things slide”