Why Do You Hate Money?

What if someone asked, “Why do you hate money?” every time they saw you with a frivolous purchase? Better yet, what if someone asked you this before you bought that $5 daily coffee drink, or gorgeous new shoes, or that fancy new phone? Would that change your spending at all?

What if you asked yourself, “Why do I hate money?” when making spending choices.

What if someone asked, “Why do you love money?” every time you thought about money? Better yet, what if someone asked you this before you checked the stocks for the third time that day, or search for deals or coupons, or took on more side gigs? Would that change your savings at all?

What if you asked yourself, “Why do I love money?” when making financial choices.

Of course, none of the actions I’ve mentioned—from buying a mocha to a car, to checking stocks or side hustling—are wrong. What matters is why we do them, and what we’re ultimately trusting in to bring satisfaction. The casual spender who frequents Starbucks could have a much better relationship with money than the frugal, committed net worth tracker. Or vice versa.

Three Attitudes Toward Money

The Bible has something to say about our attitude toward money: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” The love of money tends to manifest itself in one of the two ways described above. Either you love having money, or you love spending money (what I call “hating” money). Each of us has a natural tendency to save or spend; to love or hate money; to hold onto money too tightly or too loosely.

The Bible also suggests a different perspective on money: it is simply a resource to be managed. If “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1) and there’s nothing we’ve been given “which you have not received” (1 Corinthians 4:7), then it all ultimately belongs to God. The parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25:14-30, illustrates the principle that we are managers, not owners. This view actually motivates me to manage money better than if it were mine to do with as I pleased.

It’s important to note that if money is a resource for us to manage, it isn’t inherently good or evil. In fact, the Bible says wealth can become “filthy riches” or a “blessing” from the Lord. It all depends on the manager’s attitude toward it and use of it.

Breaking Free From Loving or “Hating” Money

Money is neutral, and therefore doesn’t deserve our love or hate. Don’t waste your passion on pieces of paper your government has assigned some value to. Money itself is cold, detached, indifferent. And these should be our feelings toward money.

We manage money well by harnessing it as a tool. A tool isn’t good or bad on its own. Think of a knife. It’s amoral. I can use it for good—to cook a meal for my family. Or I could use it violently, to harm an innocent person. In either case, the knife isn’t right or wrong. The person wielding it is the one we pass judgment on.

We will wield money one way or another. What good can you do with money? The possibilities are endless. Charitable giving, freeing yourself up to volunteer, providing for your family, practicing hospitality, and being available for family and friends come to mind.

So you can go through life prioritizing how to have more money—loving money. You can go through life prioritizing your next purchase that will make life better—“hating” money. Or you can manage well the money that’s been entrusted to you, motivated to please the good and gracious Giver.

Are you naturally a saver or a spender? How does viewing money as a resource to be managed free you up to make better financial choices?

25 Responses to “Why Do You Hate Money?”

  1. Tonya says :

    I go back and forth between being a spender and a saver. I don’t love money, but I like the good things money can provide: security, comfort, healthy food, travel, etc. I guess you could say I’m neutral?

    • Kalie says :

      Sounds like a great place to be, Tonya! I agree that money can provide some good things and it’s great to use it toward those ends.

  2. Laurie Frugal Farmer says :

    Lots of wisdom here, Kalie. I love the idea of asking myself why I hate money when spending it on frivolous purchases. Wonderful plan!

  3. Brian says :

    Love – Money: it is simply a resource to be managed. It’s the way I look at it now. Most times I mangement it well, sometimes not so much. In either case it a tool that needs to be managed carefully, because if not can cause fear and stress.

    • Kalie says :

      So true that it can cause fear and stress when we don’t handle it well. I think even if we are managing it well in the traditional sense, saving and investing and not frivolously spending it all, it can still cause fear or stress if we have an unbalanced view of it.

  4. Ms. Montana says :

    I always say that money is an amazing tool but horrible goal. It can be used to do a lot of cool things, but has never been our end game.

  5. DC YAM says :

    Attitude towards money is so important. For me, I side hustle to get out of debt faster and to build up a financial foundation so that I can eventually leave corporate to run a startup. Some may say I work too much or I’m too focused on money, but I’m focused on being responsible while freeing myself up to pursue things I am passionate about. It’s all about attitude and perception!

    • Kalie says :

      That’s cool that your goal is to run a startup. I really admire entrepreneurs, and you seem well-suited for it.

  6. Holly Johnson says :

    I am a natural saver, but I’m also okay spending money when required. I refuse to be as frugal as my parents were – or to skimp on parts of our lives that bring value and certain creature comforts. To me, money is just a tool to build the kind of life we want. I try not to give it any more power than that.

    • Kalie says :

      I think knowing where to draw the line both for spending and frugality is important. Otherwise it’s too easy to just let those decisions happen in the moment and not serve your bigger goals of building the life you want.

  7. Amanda says :

    YES! This has been on my mind so much lately (I actually wrote a post on the topic for this month too). I think treating money as a tool, or resource, can completely change our mindset. It strips it of it’s power, and allows us to detach and see it for what it really is. It’s definitely a more healthy way to look at it. Great post!

    • Kalie says :

      Yes, being able to view money choices more dispassionately is really helpful, though hard to do. Looking forward to your post, Amanda!

  8. Harmony says :

    We used to be spenders, but now are savers. While we’re certainly motivated by enjoying freedom in the future, we have good intentions for our time once we reach that point. We are a charitable family and like to help others. However, if we’re successful, we will have so much more in terms of both time and financial resources to do good things in this world.

    • Kalie says :

      That’s great you’ve been able to make the switch from spenders to savers. It’s also pretty cool you’re aiming for greater freedom even while having a large family and helping others.

  9. Mustard Seed Money says :

    I love the title of this post. I definitely agree that money is neutral. It doesn’t care how you view it. I like to think of money as something that can free up my time to do things that I prefer in life. So as a natural saver I am looking forward to investing the money and watching it grow. Hopefully it will grow big enough where I can reach FIRE early and pursue my passions in life 🙂

    • Kalie says :

      I agree that in some ways having money can free up your time. I also think it’s significant what you’re freeing yourself up to do. It’s important that it’s something that can provide real, lasting satisfaction. I imagine that’s what you’re after 🙂

  10. Fruclassity (Ruth) says :

    I have come to look upon my previous harsh opinions of “cheap” people as a defense I used to have against an honest assessment of my own chaotic money management. But I’m realizing that there can be an obsessive sickness about money among those who, practically speaking, are very good with their finances. I want to steer clear of that extreme (no danger at this point) while still striving to be a better financial manager. And “manager”, according to what you say here, is a great word to use – a worthy goal to strive towards. Thanks for another great post!

    • Kalie says :

      What a helpful insight to understand why you once had harsh opinions of those who handled money differently from you. I agree that either extreme is unhealthy, and it’s good to understand that about both your own tendency, and the opposite extreme. Thanks, Ruth!

  11. Revanche (A Gai Shan Life) says :

    I’ve always loved money: saving it, managing it, investing it. As a kid, it was a really neat toy. As an adult, it’s become a great tool and a fun goal that kept my focus off things and more on the important things in life.

    The period when I didn’t have money ruled my life in a way that having money hasn’t, so my goal will always be to manage it in a way that we can make decisions based on our values, not just on the money.

  12. dave says :

    I only spend or treat myself occasionally. The law of diminishing returns kicks in on further purchases. For example after two or three ice cream cones the satisfaction I get from eating an additional ice cream cone falls dramatically. In fact, after 5 ice cream cones I almost feel sick. This can be applied to all cases where I spend too much.

    • Kalie says :

      It’s so true that the law of diminishing returns applies to many types of purchases. The occasional splurge is so much more effectively than constantly “treating yourself,” because it stops feeling special.

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