Too Focused on Money and Losing Focus on Enjoyment?

Ever since July 2012, I have been focusing on building my savings account, my investments, and my net worth.  Everything that I do has been focused on building my wealth and getting on track for retirement.  I have been so focused on making more money, saving money, and getting on track that I have forgot to focus on things that I enjoy.  I have kept a sharp eye on finances and got blurry vision on my hobbies.  I need to get back on track and open my eyes completely.  I need to refocus my energy toward my hobbies.

For the last couple of years, I have been a big fan of Jeep Wranglers.  Not new ones, but ones that are older.  I like the idea of working on them in my garage and getting them running and then building them up.  Working on cars is fun for me and I really enjoy it.  The big problem with any automotive hobby is that it is expensive not matter what way you turn the screwdriver.

1990 jeep wrangler
This is a pic of when I got my Jeep. It wasn’t running.;

My current project is my second Jeep Wrangler and it has been in my possession since November 2011.  I bought it from someone that couldn’t afford to fix it.  They wanted a lot of money for it and they were talked down to nearly nothing.  After 2 weeks of work on the wiring, I had the Jeep started.  I have done a lot of work on it so far, but I have a lot more work to go.  I want to rebuild it from the suspension upwards, including putting in a different motor.  All of these things cost money.  Money that I didn’t think that I wanted to waste on my Jeep.

A few months ago, I was planning on selling the Jeep because I was afraid that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to getting it fixed.  I also knew that money would have been an issue because of the baby.  I thought that getting some money for the Jeep would have helped with the down payment on our next house or a great way to influx some cash into our son’s 529 account.  Either way, I just wasn’t sure if owning the Jeep would have been a good idea in the long run.

 Words of Wisdom

Sometimes my mind can become cloudy with too much thinking.  I think about things a lot and can very often over-think them into oblivion.  It happens, but luckily I am married to a wonderful woman that keeps me grounded.  My wife injected some great words of wisdom just in time for me.  I was preparing to take pictures of my Jeep and put it for sale on Craigslist.

You need to be happy and you need to do what makes you happy.  Keep your Jeep and continue working on it.


This was a little of what my wife said to me while we were driving somewhere.  Along with this, she made a lot of sense through the whole conversation.  I needed to invest in myself and in things that I enjoy.  While working on cars is not inexpensive, I truly enjoy it and think that I am not wasting money, but investing it in my future self and my enjoyment level.

We can’t always be driven by money.  We need to be driven by happiness and enjoyment with money and finances in the background.  There are many that make money to enjoy the things that they love.  I want to be that guy again.  I don’t want to think about money all of the time.  Do we make enough?  Can we pay this?  How can I make more money?  I am tired to racking my brain about money.  I want to go in my garage, put on my work gloves, and turn wrenches.  This is what I enjoy and this is what makes me happy.

I am done being driven by money.  Not everything should be driven by money.

What about you?  Is your entire life driven by money?  Have you forgotten about your happiness and enjoyment?

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  1. Great post Grayson. It is really easy to get wrapped up in all the money and the numbers…especially when we are writing about it every day. We also need to be finding happiness in our life and keeping it all in perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yeah, as we work hard to try and come up with topics for posts, we focus on money. This why I want to come up with a nice middle ground.

  2. Good post Grayson! I have found myself in similar situations before and it can be difficult, especially when you see that getting rid of that hobby or, in your case, selling the Jeep would mean “X” in terms of savings. It is a balance though and one that can be difficult at times to find. I am right with you in terms of saving, investing, etc but life is also meant to be enjoyed. I am thankful for my wife because she is the one that often speaks wisdom to me when I get tunnel vision.

    1. Thanks John. Though selling the Jeep would have provided me a small influx in cash, I wouldn’t get the enjoyment from selling it. That alone makes it not worth it right now.

  3. Very timely post, Grayson. I definitely think I have become too wrapped up with career development, side income development, and figuring out how I can make more money in general. I definitely think I need to re-evaluate how I spend my time and make sure that I am spending enough doing things I enjoy as well as making time for family and friends.

    1. We can get caught up with things revolving around money. Sometimes we need to step back and find a happy medium. I plan on doing so.

  4. Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    I have the exact same problem where I over think things all the time. My wife is the exact same and she regularly keeps me focused on the things that matter.

    1. I over think things way too much. If I didn’t have my wife with me, I would still be processing things from a few years ago.

  5. My life is very driven by money, as I plan to retire about 30 years early lol. We limit ourselves to $300 of discretionary spending every month. If the end of the month nears, and I still have money left, I can blow it on whatever I want. I have hobbies as well, and I don’t feel bad about blowing money on them. I just won’t blow my budget on them.

    1. I appreciate your honesty. It is nice to see. Good luck to you retiring early. That has never been a goal of mine, so I am planning on enjoying my money throughout my life and not just in retirement.

  6. I LOOOOOOOVE your Jeep. Great post. Life isn’t all about money, you can spend some and have fun too.

    1. Thanks Michelle. It has come a long way and looks better now. I have done a lot of modifications underneath the hood, but I want to do a lot more.

  7. From time to time I do the same thing. I get wrapped up in building my business and lose sight of the rest. I have been doing a better job as of late, mainly because I work for myself full-time and I have more time on my hands. Sounds like you have a great wife who wants you to be happy, that is the best part of the whole deal in my book.

    1. You are spot on with that assumption Deacon. I have an awesome wife that is always looking out for my best interests.

  8. I think having a hobby is an essential part of life. One for me is playing guitar. I use to play in rock and roll band back about 10 years ago and like to pick up my guitar every now and again to play around with it and see what I can learn on it.

    On the other hand though I’ve also gotten a pretty good hobby going with build my blog out and other niche websites over the last 5 years which for me is a lot of fun too. The problem I have is just like Deacon says I can get a little wrapped up in things at times and lose track of what should have more priority.

    1. yeah, I consider building websites a hobby for me, but since I work in front of a computer all day, there are many days that I don’t want to go home and jump back on. Great to hear about your rock and roll days Chris.

  9. I love those little Jeeps too. You are right to spend money on what brings you enjoyment, if it doesn’t drive you away from other goals. When I was working towards early retirement like Johnny everything was very lean but I always kept a travel budget because that was the most important thing to me.

    1. Yeah, I have a small savings account for things that I want to purchase for the Jeep. I wait until I have the money in there before I go and buy parts.

  10. This post comes at a great time. I played my guitar this weekend for about the first time in 2 weeks. I’m finding that almost all my spare time is going towards life, work, the blog, money obsession, etc. Sometimes we all just need to chill and get back to what made us happy in the first place. Good post!

    1. Thanks MMD. You are right, we can become clouded with the idea of success and forget about enjoying life.

  11. I am not driven by money although I did choose it as a profession. Finance and accounting is all about money although it could be other people’s money. I am very goal oriented. I need to accomplish goals and I generally do. Sometimes the goal is money, but in most cases it is just the accomplishment.

    1. That is great to hear. I know that not everyone is driven by money, but lately it seems that I talk to more and more people that strive to make it their life.

  12. I would say I am driven by money because it is the tool we use to get to experiences. We save for something, spend our money and enjoy our something and repeat. I don’t think it is a bad thing at all. Now if were only focused on saving and never spending, then I think we would have a problem.

    1. Money is a tool, that is very true. If you are using it to reach goals and are enjoying it, then keep it up.

  13. Girl Meets Debt says:

    I still have debt so unfortunately some expensive “hobbies” have to be put to the side while I try to find new ones that are more wallet-friendly like hiking but since you no longer have debt, I say enjoy your life Grayson! Money is no fun if it means that you have to lead a boring life because than what would be the point? We only have one life to enjoy 🙂

    1. Preach it! I didn’t partake in this hobby as I struggled to get out of debt. I did have a Jeep when I was doing it, but it was on the back burner.

    1. I will have to agree with you on that one. My wife is one special lady!

  14. Money does not equal happiness (although it can help, especially if you have an expensive hobby). But your right, we should focus on things we like to do , not things we have to do to make money. I love to dive and I can get out and do a few dives relatively cheaply, I also love DIY and like you, am happier when turning a wrench than when crunching $$ numbers.

    1. It does help us reach a state of happiness depending on what you enjoy. Glad to hear about diving Jose. I have a few friends that have been looking to get into that.

  15. I love this post, Grayson. Sometimes, all we think about money and how to save money and we forget to do things that we love in quest to rid ourselves of debt and/or grow our net worth. To me, you’ve hit the sweet spot when you’re financially free and focused on doing what you love (whether it’s your full-time career or not). I’m glad your wife was able to influence you and you kept your jeep.

    1. Thanks Shannon. Money does consume our thoughts on a daily basis these days and there is nothing wrong with breaking that up with something you enjoy.

  16. This post came at a great time, Grayson! You are so right, we can tend to limit our view and focus solely on money, bills, etc… We have to have an outlet as well 🙂

    1. An outlet is extremely important and something that I forgot to put into my focus. I am glad I am getting back to it.

  17. I think you have shared some great wisdom here. I had a similar hobby experience when I chose to give up baseball card collecting when we decided to focus on paying off all our debt. I still have the cards and hope to get back to it again one day because I really enjoyed it. I think money is a tool to use for our benefit and at times that includes for things we enjoy. I think we cross the line though when our focus on money leads to an obsession of it.

    1. Good luck with continuing on with our card collection Brian.

  18. Kevin Watts @Graduatingfromdebt says:

    I can totally relate here. For the last year, I have been focused on getting out of debt and learning about personal finance. Because of this many things in my life have been put in the back burner. The way I get through this is that I tell myself this is a temporary moment in life where I have to sacrifice certain things in order to get things I really want.

    1. I have been there and done that Kevin. When I was getting out of debt (4 years), I didn’t splurge on things that I enjoyed. I know realized that I should have done a few things to make the process a little smoother.

  19. Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    I’m at that point at this time. It’s not a whole lot of fun, but right now I think that it’s necessary. Finding ways to pay our debt down and save for the future is my #1 priority. It’s not money that has me strapped though, we don’t have expensive hobbies.
    I’m more strapped for time. With the blog I fell as though I fall further and further behind. I’m slowly finding a balance though.

    1. There are times when focusing on money can be a necessity, but it still shouldn’t be the whole focus. That is the problem these days. You still need to enjoy things in order to keep up your motivation to running lean.

  20. A good reminder that life isn’t worth living it you’re just living to work and make money. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in trying to make and save money and bf has to pull me back to reality.

    1. So true KK. Everyone needs to have a little fun in life.

  21. Well said Grayson, I have been focusing on my finances for a while as well, partially because of the blog, partially because of the winter and my hobbies are outside and not conducive to winter weather. So, I think I will shift a bit of focus to some hobbies outside once the weather improves. It is certainly important to avoid getting wrapped up in fiscal restraint, I have to remember that often. Thanks for the subtle reminder, enjoy the jeep!!!

    1. Yeah, the winter time is a good time to focus on money, probably because we usually spend more of it during that time. Outdoor activities get harder to do and then you focus your time on something else. My Jeep stays dormant during the winter because I don’t like working in the garage when it is cold.

  22. I do view money as critical, and my blogging probably serves as proof of my viewpoint! However, I think it’s only one component, and it’s certainly less important to me than health and important relationships. When we get too focused on money to the point that we lose sight of the 2 other things I mentioned, then we’re going too far in my opinion!

    1. Never said it wasn’t critical because in order to live these days, you kind of need it. I just want to break away from the 24/7 thinking about the greenbacks!

  23. I think I became more driven by money when I started saving for a down payment for a house. Now that I have a house, I am driven by money to have that mortgage paid off sooner than the amortization period, and for retirement. Reading PF blogs and having my own PF blog has also contributed to it. 🙂

    As much as I am driven by it, I still make time for myself like taking naps or watching some mindless TV show.

  24. Great question Grayson. Like most things this is relative to one’s financial situation. If you are struggling to pay the bills how could you not be focused on the finances and working to improve the situation? I also agree that you need to have balance in your life and that means finding activities that bring you and your family enjoyment!

    1. Thanks Paul. Everyone should have a balance, no matter their financial situation. You don’t do any good just thinking about money all of the time.

  25. Ahh, this is what I struggle with as well! Right now we have just begun paying down a massive amount of student loans, and are also thinking about savings for the future, where to cut back, how to limit our spending, etc. It can be incredibly stressful & I’m hoping we will be finding our financial feet soon. My husband does a pretty good job of balancing me out and reminding me that we still have a life to live, but it’s still hard for me to justify any expense when we have debt looming over our heads.

    1. I’ve been there and done that. It’s hard to find the balance when you focus on the money. You want to pay off the debt, but you also want to live. Remember this, we only have one life to live, so we still need to make the most of it. You don’t have to go blowing all your money just to have fun, but you need to have some fun. Life would be boring otherwise.