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The Meaning of Money - How Has it Changed?

As financial concerns grow with inflation rising, increase in taxes and cost of energy bills rapidly increasing, people's perception of money and expenditure are shifting. Cost of living is shaping people's habits and behaviours toward spending and attitude toward disposable income.

What does money mean?


Overtime, money whether being represented as a coin, a piece of paper, plastic or a string of code managed by a computer, has always held value to people. It allows people to trade goods and helps communicate the worth of goods and services.

It is suggested, money makes the world go round.

Furthermore, money is a part of everyone's daily lives from earning via jobs to spending on products and services. As a part of society, it is a necessity and has always been perceived as a symbol of exchange. In fact, money has been so normalised into today's society that it has advanced with everything else in this modern era, with cashless transactions and online banking making money more accessible than ever.


Despite money being so normalised, why do people perceive it so differently?


Why is money perceived so differently?


Interestingly, money can have varied attitudes among different people. For example, some may see it as opportunity while others may see it as a burden.

It’s worth thinking about money as something with which you have a complex relationship. Your money (and more broadly your personal finances) is not a fixed entity, but rather a complex of data points, challenges and opportunities you circle around, interact with and have feelings about.

There are 3 key factors behind people's personal relationships with money:

  • Emotion

  • Anxiety

  • Psychologically

Arguably, emotion plays the most important role in shaping people's perception of money with most emotions being: fear, shame and envy,. Fears are common in relation to spending habits as there is always the fear of not having enough, and not being able to live within your means. People tend to use their fears to influence their perceptions on spending habits to help them in future and live sustainably.


Despite the negative perceptions of money, it is suggested people with positive perceptions see money as a tool to help them reach their goals and success.

They are more likely to be goal oriented with a long-term focus and appreciate what they have. Optimism often leads to financial success.

But the truth is, no one is entirely rational when it comes to money, some may see it as something reckless and to be spent without thought, while others may see it as something to budget and spend wisely. There is no correct answer. This heavily suggesting there is no correct way to perceive money or correct attitude toward it.


However, there are factors that may influence perception such as, the cost of living crisis and the economy.


How has the 'Cost of Living Crisis' affected perception of 'Money'?


With rising living costs, people are taking precautions toward their regular spending habits and changing their perceptions of money to be able to afford essentials such as, the rising energy bills.


Just over half (54%) of all UK adults say day to day living costs will have a high or very high impact on their daily lives over the next 12 months but other financial pressures aren’t felt evenly across all age groups, with 18-34 year olds anticipating the greatest impact.

In order to save money, people have less disposable income and higher outgoings monthly on basic needs such as, food and bills. Therefore, people have also had to cut down on holidays, leisure and shopping to be able to afford basics.

46% of people say they have already stopped or reduced the amount they eat out and 34% are shopping at a cheaper supermarket.

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