It’s time to put on your time traveling hat, because we’re taking a blast to the past to learn about the history of money! Just call me Ms. Frizzle and please stay in the school bus for the entire ride.

5000 BCE

We’re going back to 5000 BCE, where the most exciting thing happening was that there was a human population of about 19 million. Oh, and it was also when historians believe metal objects were first used as a form of money.

When communities were small, it was fairly easy to trade things with other members of your community. If you grew wheat, you could trade your wheat for cows, tea, and whatever your 5000 BCE heart desired. But some issues started to arise with this method. What happened if you needed salt, but the seller didn’t need any wheat? That means no salt for you.

Eventually metal coins were created so that you could buy the salt even if the seller didn’t need wheat. The system worked because as a seller, you could get money and then buy something that you value more than what the other person could trade.

Marie Kondo

But you came here for Marie Kondo. I get it, there’s not much to do here in 5000 BCE other than trying not to die. So let’s come back to the present day. The big lesson here is that you should spend your money on things that give you the most value. We should be applying the exact same principles of why money was invented to how we should spend our money today.

We only have a certain amount of money. The purpose is to get away from buying for the sake of buying, or buying impulsively. You want to be mindful of where you spend your money, and you should spend the most money on things that bring you joy.

Picture of woman sitting on couch saying that SPending according to your values sparks joy, and the same woman saying that impulse buying things you don't value does not spark joy

If you enjoy dining out with friends more than you enjoy ordering food from Uber Eats as a dinner for one, then you should try spending more money on dining out with friends. This isn’t to say cut out Uber Eats completely, but just make sure that you’re more mindful of when you order. This way you’ll experience more joy because you’ll be consciously spending on things that make you happier. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time I take this anthropomorphic school bus to find out more about the first instances of paper money.