Music speaks when words fail. We turn to music whenever we’re in a mood—whether it’s mellow lo-fi beats to help us concentrate, a catchy pop tune before hopping into the shower or perhaps having “So Sick” by Ne-Yo replayed for the thirteenth time after a tragic break up.
Bottom line is, music pervades our daily lives as much as money does. This close association is probably why countless artists have written songs about money and how they need it, want it and spend it.
But did you know that the music we choose to listen to also affects our emotions and decision making? So, whether you’re a music lover, passive listener or a skeptic trying your luck, we’ve come up with a list of money-centric songs you need in your playlist if you want to subliminally improve your money habits.
Music and money decisions: there’s a link?
Rock bands in the past were accused of using their songs to hypnotise fans into cult-like behaviour. While this extreme belief has been debunked, researchers have confirmed that music does in fact stimulate parts of the brain which influence our physical, cognitive, emotional and social behaviour.
Music is so dynamic that it has even been harnessed to treat pain and certain medical conditions through music therapy.
If you’re still unconvinced of music’s psychological prowess, it’s good to know that even if songs don’t significantly change your circumstances, they can certainly teach you valuable lessons. So, now might be the time to reconsider the tunes you’ve been liking on Spotify.
Songs with good money habits
Here are some of the latest hits that allude to great money mindsets. From rap to pop, here’s the top three we’ve picked out:
Thrift Shop feat. Wanz by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
“Savin’ my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain
I’mma take your grandpa’s style, I’mma take your grandpa’s style,
No for real, ask your grandpa can I have his hand-me-downs?
Velour jump suit and some house slippers
Doukie brown leather jacket that I found diggin’
They had a broken keyboard I bought a broken keyboard”
Venturing into the colourful world of thrifting
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’d be familiar with Macklemore and crew’s iconic single which soared the charts back in 2012. Many, however, don’t realise how the rapper subtly lauds the art of thrifting in his lyrics.
Taking his words at face value, we can see how second-hand shopping will always be in style (That’s why you’re considered cool now if you thrift). I mean, someone once said that money can’t buy taste. In fact, with fashion fads from decades ago circling back seasonally, you don’t have to worry about copping “off-trend” clothes at charity shops. Rock that grandpa/grandma style!
While you have to be more careful about choosing accessories or furniture at such places, with a little “diggin’” (to quote Macklemore), you’ll certainly be able to find items of quality.
Read more: Not sure where to start your thrifting journey? Read our all-in-one guide on thrifting in Singapore
Money On My Mind by Sam Smith
“When I go home I tend to close the door
I never wanted more, so sing with me
Can’t you see
I don’t have money on my mind
Money on my mind
I do it for
I do it for the love”
Do it for the money but not at the cost of your own happiness
This soulful pop-ballad by Sam Smith is a self-reflective piece detailing the singer’s career motivations. As he sings, he does what he does “for the love”.
Thus, the money lesson here is that while we may hustle to pay the bills, we should always recall our roots and passions.
Financial stability can be built slowly, but the same assurance can’t be said about being stuck in an unenjoyable work cycle. If you love your craft, it shows clearly in your work ethic and this’ll keep you going even in tough times.
Finding the sweet spot between what pays and what interests you is never easy, but at some point, you should ask yourself: Which of these do you value more?
For students who are exploring these waters, one way to monetize your hobbies would be to start a side hustle. Of course, you can choose to keep them as strictly leisure activities, so to each their own.
Love Yourz by J.Cole
“Always gon’ be a whip that’s better than the the one you got
Always gon’ be some clothes that’s fresher than the one’s you rock
Always gon’ be someone that’s badder out there on the tours
But you ain’t never gon’ be happy till you love yours
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours (Love yourz)
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours
No such thing, no such thing”
Rapper J. Cole reminisces about his rise to fame in his heartfelt track “Love Yourz”. His lyrics are painfully human, alluding to our lesser praised traits like jealousy and greed. But the clever lyricist turns the poignant mood around by highlighting how these emotions can be conquered if we appreciate what we have.
“Love Yourz” teaches us to be grateful of our circumstances, no matter where we currently stand in our financial journey. This is how we can cultivate a healthy relationship with money.
Carrying positive emotions towards money instead of ill feelings like anger or impatience empowers you to think that your money is within your control. This will in turn aid you in growing your personal wealth at a pace you’re comfortable with.
Reminding yourself that money is not everything will help you sleep easier at night too.
Songs with bad money habits
Along with the better examples above, we’ve also found bangers with not-so-great money experiences which you can learn from:
7 Rings by Ariana Grande
“My wrist, stop watchin’, my neck is flossy
Make big deposits, my gloss is poppin’
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (yeah)”
Learning to differentiate between needs and wants
Ari’s title track glosses over a luxurious lifestyle from the first lyric to the last, but the most noteworthy would be the line: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it”.
As an Arianator myself, it pains me to include this boujee track in this list but alas, not all of us are capable of splurging like a million-dollar celebrity without incurring gaping holes in our finances. Hence, when it comes to becoming financially independent (especially if you’re new to it), one should always make a realistic budget plan and stick to it.
Remember: there is a fine line between wants and needs, and the path to financial liberation can be opened when you learn to differentiate between them.
Hey Everybody by 5SOS
“She maxed her credit cards and don’t got a job
She pays the gas with all the change in her car
It’s not the end of the road
Yeah, we’ve all been there before and it goes oh
He’s walking home cause he can’t pay for the bus
He needs a dollar but he ain’t got enough
It’s not the end of the world
Yeah, we’ve all been there before and it goes oh
Maintaining a good credit score
Aside from highlighting the importance of savings and emergency funds, 5SOS’s inspirational single warns us about the dangers of over-relying on your credit card.
As fun as these sleek babies are, credit cards can lull you into a false sense of financial freedom if you spend thoughtlessly.
Maxing out your card, as the song mentions, means spending extremely close to or over your credit limit. Consequently, not paying up what you owe could hurt your credit score and cost you large sums in interest.
A poor credit score potentially has nasty effects on your future relationship with the bank, for example, if you wish to take up loans or buy big ticket items like cars and housing.
If you find yourself hanging precariously over the edge of your credit limit, try paying down the balance in full or as much as you can. You may also request for a limit increase from your card issuer.
But prevention is always better than cure, so practise monitoring your card usage regularly and be sure of its spending limits.
Additionally, here are some bad habits to avoid when you get your first credit card.
Billionaire ft. Bruno Mars by Travie McCoy
“And yeah I’ll be in a whole new tax bracket
We in recession but let me take a crack at it
I’ll probably take whatever’s left and just split it up
So everybody that I love can have a couple bucks”
The importance of saving and investing
People like to indulge in fantasies about being a billionaire, but have you ever thought of what you would actually do if you came across a fortune yourself?
Besides feeling over the moon and slightly overwhelmed, you’ll probably be tempted to not only spend it on yourself but also on your loved ones.
While that thought is sweet, becoming more financially endowed also means you have to pay higher taxes. It’ll also do you good to be more vigilant about your spending patterns.
Hence, instead of spending lavishly for short-term returns, we suggest saving a portion of your increased income and investing another portion.
Investing helps us grow our finances for long-term gains and stability. This means that you won’t have to worry about fluctuating spending power or retirement plans.
Read more: New to investing? Check out our beginner’s guide to investing
What’s your favourite song about money?
Songs can be something we listen to for pure entertainment or they could be pieces of poetry imbued with life lessons that carry some weight.
Whichever way you prefer to view them, the songs we’ve listed remind us that money is an essential part of living. And how we choose to perceive it, spend it and earn it is ours to control.
Making responsible money decisions and cultivating prudent lifestyles start with you.