At first, reading about titles , articles and books about the fulfillment curve did not interest me at all.

But after reading The Simple Dollar’s post about it and considering applying it in my own life, I have never looked back nor have I had regrets in trying this out. Take time to read and learn all about it here. In real life application, you’ll gradually see how it can change your spending and your perspective in achieving fulfillment.

I want you to analyze the 2 scenarios below.

Scenario 1:

It’s payday again. You’ve been toiling on and on at work all week  just so you could keep yourself alive for the next few days until the next payday comes again. It’s a cycle, you’re used to it. Work, eat, sleep, pay bills, work again, and the cycle goes on. You’re hoping that someday you won’t have to worry about where to find money to cover your needs. After all, it is really tiring to always think about paying rent, paying bills, paying your child’s tuition fee, or how to minimize your debts that seem to be never ending.

Seriously, it’s not the happiest place to be.

Scenario 2:

Let’s say lady luck has been on your side. Now you have more money than you’ve ever dreamed about. But you have your assistant calling you to remind that you have a business meeting with a VIP in an hour yet you are still sitting in your desk with all the paperwork  you have to go through. Coincidentally, it’s your son’s birthday tonight and you promised you would be at the party at 7pm sharp. After the meeting you need to rush over as fast as you can just so you won’t  upset your son and your wife as well.

Everyone thinks you are living the life. You have all the money to cover your needs. You have the money for buying everything your family wants in a snap. But you don’t have time for shopping, family nor leisure time anymore.

Seriously, neither is this the happiest place to be.

Now the BIG question comes in.  If you’re unhappy with little money and you’re still unhappy with lots of money, then where do you stand? Is there a direct correlation between fulfillment and money?

 

THE FULFILLMENT CURVE

Can you really be happy and do financially well at the same time? Is there really a balance?

This is where The Fulfillment Curve comes in. Basically, it is in a graphical form and argues that there is a sweet spot between fulfillment and having lots of money just to achieve that balance one needs to live a fulfilling life. It’s more of a perfect balance, akin to riding a bicycle.

We’ve always known this for years- too much of a good thing is bad. It’s not good to have too little, but it’s also not good to have too much as well. Having too little money won’t give you the satisfaction you need to  cover your family’s needs. But having too much money won’t give you that satisfaction either since you’re preoccupied with numerous things to keep up with your lifestyle, you still can’t enjoy life.

Applying the Fulfillment Curve in real life.

Take a look at the graph above. Do you see that point where you just have ENOUGH? That peak of the arc is the spot where we want to be in. Applying it with the 2 scenarios, it’s the spot where you have sufficient money to cover your needs, spend on some of your wants, but not too much workload that makes you miss out on the important things in life such as time with family, friends and time for yourself. It’s having enough to sustain your happy and comfortable lifestyle without having to work day in and day out.

Here’s another visual example of how the fulfillment curve works:

This where these numbers place you in terms of Having a Home. Read these as you analyze the graph above:

Pt 1. You’re essentially homeless. You live beside a dump truck

Pt 2. You live in a small, old and cheap apartment. There’s barely enough room to sleep and to especially have guests around. You’re embarrassed to invite your friends over

Pt 3. You live in a bungalow. Not too big, but not too small either. There’s enough room for everyone. You do have some friends over but you’re still not that confident with the interior. The walls need painting and there’s a lot of finishing to do. You still can’t throw a party at you’re place.

Pt 4. You have a 2-storey house and the interiors are exquisite. You’re glad to have guests over. The housework doesn’t overwhelm you and the bills are still manageable

Pt 5. The house is big and slightly exceeds what your family needs. Bills are sometimes painful to handle. You spend most of your weekends doing housework and maintenance of it. But the good news is, you’re really proud to hold dinner parties at your place.

Pt 6. You live in mansion. People are amazed by how big and spacious it is. The bills have increased and you have to work double time to keep up, you barely have time to enjoy life. Since everyone’s too busy to clean the house, you hire a helper which of course is an additional expense to your overflowing bills.

Pt 7. Your house is mind-blowingly enormous! Anyone would dream to live in it. But the bills have gone out of hand. You have no equity left since you spent it all in achieving this dream house. But now it is being foreclosed. You wish you never ended up here.

Did you notice that beginning at Pt  5, you are being pushed off the peak. As your spending increases, your fulfillment decreases as shown in points 6 and 7. Certainly, bigger is not always better.

 

Thoughts and Strategies about the fulfillment Curve

1.This basic principle applies to every aspect of your life, be it food, clothing , shelter or even hobby-oriented activitiesRemember that spending too much reduces your fulfillment. The point of maximum spending is not the point of maximum enjoyment.

2. Your fulfillment curve peak may actually come with no spending money at all.

The Fulfillment curve peak can allow you to not spend anything at all. In my experience, I  sometimes crave for that “me time” and I’ve always wanted to go to the mall , catch a movie  alone and enjoy my own company. But then I realize I can do the exact same thing in the comfort of my own home. I just pick a great movie, turn the tv in full blast, draw the curtains close resembling the darkness of the movie house and  just enjoy  every minute of my time alone. It didn’t cost me anything, plus I get to lie down in the couch with my unlimited popcorn.

Find areas where your fulfillment peaks at minimal to no cost at all.

3. Guilt is the surest sign that you are spending way more than your natural fulfillment peak.

If there are any aspects in your life you feel  guilty about money, it’s a result of spending too much to chase your fulfillment. Using the chart above, this means that you are trying to justify the spending that is pushing you to move out of the “ENOUGH” zone.  Try to pull back on that spending even just a little bit and you’ll find that things become more enjoyable as a whole.

4. Small but routine purchases can still push you off the peak

If you’re always focusing on the big expenditures then chances are you might not notice the

small frequent purchases you make  every day that can still push you off the ENOUGH zone and can cause an impact to your overall spending.  Having you been buying coffee every single day before heading to work? Why not try brewing your own coffee at home or take advantage of the brewed coffee at work? It’s a lot less expensive but the taste is just as good as the one that is store bought.

5. Spend time reflecting on things that really fulfill you.

Take some time off and really think about what can really give you long term fulfillment.  From this point onwards, you can really assess what’s worth spending on and what’s not.

When you have mastered applying the fulfillment curve in your every move, that’s the time you will be able to balance your fulfillment and your spending.

 

Reminder

Please be reminded that the Fulfillment Curve is just a guide especially in maintaining your finances. This should not be the sole basis in everything you do but certainly it is a reliable guide to balance your happiness while spending.

Good luck in applying the fulfillment curve in your own life! 🙌☺

-TheThriftyPinay

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By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.