What is the value of a dollar? The actual bill itself is worth very little. That little piece of green cotton cannot be eaten, it can’t filter your water to make it safe to drink, it wouldn’t even make for good toilet paper. The bill itself is kind of worthless.
So I ask again, what is the value of a dollar? Perhaps it is the spending power that the dollar holds, but as we all know the spending power of one dollar changes over time. What I could purchase with this $1 in 1980 would now require $3 to purchase – so the spending power isn’t really what it is worth because that fluctuates. Just ask Greece.
So how do we know what a dollar is worth? I’m not going to get into economics because my understanding of that is about as clear as muck, but here is my theory on the value of a dollar.
Its value is the value that you assign to it. Yes, you. The value that you personally assign to the dollar is what gives it its meaning and its power. Ultimately that piece of green cotton is a symbol for what you most love and desire.
What would happen if you started to look at your money as value? Not just financial value, but as a symbol for what you value. What if the dollar in my hand was a bit of relaxation? What if the dollar in your wallet was a piece of joy? What if your bank account was full of wisdom, courage, humor, and truth? Would you change the way you spend your money?
For example, let’s say one of your top values is health – you really value a healthy lifestyle. If your money is a symbol for your values, then how do you want to spend your health? Are you going to splurge on a new flat screen TV or are you going to save your money so that you can spend a little extra at the grocery store for organic food?
Now it’s important to understand what you most value because if you value entertainment over health, then maybe that TV is looking pretty good. Or, if entertainment and health are both at the top of the list, then maybe it’s time to invest in a Zumba class.
Money is just a symbol. In and of itself, it is kind of worthless. We have collectively chosen to give it power and worth. When you assign your own meaning to your money based on what matters most to you, you take back the power that money holds over you.
If you look at your sparse wallet and stew over the fact that you have to fork out your hard earned money, then you are going to resent paying your waiter a good tip. But, if you see your money as the things you value, then it’s nice to have even just a few pieces of gratitude in your wallet and what better way to share your gratitude then to give it to someone who has served you a wonderful meal?
If you look at a dollar as truly worthless, then you lose out on the opportunity to share with others. Why would anyone give you anything in return for something that is truly worthless? So while you can’t wear a dollar to keep you warm, you can give it to others in exchange for something that will keep you warm.
Better yet, if you know that you are walking through life with a pocket full of love, then you can be on the lookout for ways to share your love. That is when giving to others feels really rewarding. It no longer stings to part with a dollar, because sharing love and appreciation is always a good thing.
You have the power to change your relationship with money by answering the question that only you can answer – what is the value of a dollar? What are you most passionate about? Are those passions represented in your financial habits?