What Can Nature Teach Us About Our Money?

Nature has an interesting way of teaching and inspiring. What if nature’s lessons could inspire how you manage your household budget? Let’s take a look.

Nature’s Lessons:

1. Zero Waste

In nature there is no waste. Take a walk in a forest. Observe the new growth sprouting out of old rotting tree trunks. Nature has a purpose and use for everything. Could you move toward a zero waste household with your budget? Notice what portion of your budget goes to groceries each month? Now pay attention to your garbage. Is it regularly filled with leftovers after a week of no takers? Do your carrots and celery stalks bend from old age, and eventually end up unceremoniously next to the leftovers in the garbage? Any shopper these days knows that food is not cheap! Yet, when tossing out food, do you consider the cost and the waste? Why not take fists of dollar bills and simply throw them in the garbage?

Action Steps:

Know your family. 

Buy only what everyone eats.

Forget about overstocking. Stores and sales are always available.

Then check how the balance in your bank account is increasing.

2. Adapts to Circumstances

Organisms in nature find ways to adapt to their surroundings. If you ever walked along the seaside and noticed those tidal pools with starfish sometimes being “high and dry”, you might wonder how they survive the hot sun without getting overheated. Starfish adapt. When the tide comes in, they fill all their little cavities with cold water and survive the next low tide heat spell until covered again with cold water. Adapting with your household budget could be as basic as coming to terms with your finances and learning how to live within your means; meaning not counting on credit cards, pay advance, or payday loans to get you through the month. Or it could mean adapting your finances when complicated circumstances arise; reduced hours at work, your elderly parent moving in or the arrival of a new baby. 

Action Steps:

Review and modify your budget.

Adjust your spending mindset and habits.

Explore other temporary income sources using your skills, connections, entrepreneurism, or items to sell.

3. Resourceful

Everything about nature is resourceful. Take the hungry spider who weaves a sticky web, but has poor eyesight. The clever spider depends instead on vibrations of the web strands to locate its tasty prey. Being resourceful with your finances, means finding creative ways to get your needs met without going into debt or deprivation mode. One woman loved taking Spanish classes. When her financial circumstances changed, she chose to eliminate the expensive classes and found a Spanish speaking organization to volunteer instead. The new experience was even more satisfying than her beloved classes.

Action Steps:

Be creative

Leverage your DIY skills

Stay proactive vs. reactive

4. Perseverance

After years of lying dormant under the ground, beautiful lilies and other plants will choose to resurrect themselves and pop out of the ground showing off their beauty again. If you’ve been having a dormant spell with your financial life, no pay raises, no exotic vacations, remember the power of perseverance. Knowing your monthly limits, tracking and paying attention to your expenses on a regular basis, taking classes part time for a job change, may all seem pretty lame for getting ahead. But like most great accomplishments, it’s the steady repetition and persistence that ultimately can bring you to your desired outcome.

Action Steps:

Keep up the consistent savings, even the tiny amounts.

Continue to chip away at the debt.

Outline and follow your realistic monthly budget.

Relish your ultimate accomplishments

Next time you watch a nature show or take a walk in your local park, pay attention with new awareness. Think about those different financial habits, decisions and events in your life and ask yourself “What CAN nature teach me about my money?”

8/1/2016 9:00:00 PM
Judy Lawrence
Written by
Judy Lawrence, M.S. Ed., is a Financial Counselor in Albuquerque, NM, founder of MoneyTracker .com and author of the best-selling book "The Budget Kit: Common 6th Ed". Judy shares fundamental money management tools, concepts and behavioral psychology developed and gleaned for years from sitting at thousands of kitchen ta...
View Full Profile Website: https://www.moneytracker.com/

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