by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.

“You can’t take it with you!” This fact is often given as reason for enjoying what you have whether that is money or possessions. It’s also all the more reason to make the most of life’s moments and time spent with those important to you.

My inspiration for this column came after a conversation with my husband about money. We have different philosophies. Mine focuses on the joy of spending money.

Mind you, I don’t think I’m frivolous with my spending. But I suspect my husband would disagree — at least some of the time. And perhaps I’m biased in my opinion.

I find it interesting that when I recall the many years of my childhood when money was scarce, my memories are not filled with worries or lack but with joy in everything that we had.

I remember many, many happy shopping excursions with my mom! The amount of money that was in the bank was never a focus of concern. That is, until I got married and had more money in the bank than I ever had growing up.

Whether we had one gift or dozens under our Christmas tree each year, the joy was not diminished or increased by the number. No matter how many new school outfits were purchased, my joy was the same. And along with all the joy, was gratitude for everything!

I always had a job during my high school years. And regardless of how much money I had to spend, I only remember the fun in Christmas shopping for my family. I have always found joy in how much I had, and I loved spending my money.

My mom has been the queen of making a little go a long way. She utilized lay-a-way plans when stores offered that service. She saved one month for purchases she wanted to make the next. When it came to clothes, she also mastered the skill of bargain shopping and mix-n-matching. And she has always had fabulous credit. But regardless of which method of spending money she practiced, there was an appreciation — and joy — for everything she was able to buy.

Money has never been the source of worry for her. If there was a need or a desire, she found a way — eventually — to fulfill it. So I grew up never worrying much about money.

I guess that’s why I could head off to college without knowledge of how the tuition was going to be paid that first year, or even the years that followed. I never doubted there would be a way to pay my expenses — whether it would come from my mom saving money, or from me working, or from a grant or loan, money was never the source of my worries.

There comes a time after years of saving money, when we need to start enjoying the fruits of our labor. And now that my husband and I are well into our 50’s, I say there’s no better time than the present to begin doing just that!

Perhaps it was my mom’s perspective on being thankful for everything that provided the key to our enjoyment of what we had.

So maybe with a grateful heart, we will not only enjoy what we have, we will have what we need. Or we’ll be so happy with what we have, that we’ll believe we have what we need. I think it worked that way for me and my mom.

These days I say instead of worrying about what you don’t have, why not enjoy what you do! That’s my philosophy!