Often, we think about spending in terms of whether or not we are getting a “good deal,” or whether we are going to use the item we are buying.
Sometimes we forget that we will feel better about different spending decisions we make based on our values.
Take a few minutes to consider your values, and whether or not your spending is in line with what’s important to you.
What Do You Value?
Honestly evaluate what you value. Do you like to help others? Do you enjoy time alone? Do you want a more secure financial future? Think about what you prefer to do with your time, whether it’s hang out at your favorite restaurant, volunteer at the local food bank, or sit in a comfy chair surrounded by your family.
There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. This exercise is supposed to help you pinpoint what is important to you so that you can determine what sort of lifestyle you want.
Think about what you like to do now, and what you would like to do in the future. Sometimes, what you are able to do now is different from what you plan to do down the road. If you want to make your dream a reality in the future, you will need to make sure that your money choices now reflect the values that will help you reach your goals, whether they are savings goals or spending goals.
Take some time to think about it, and then alter your habits to reflect your values.
Changing Your Spending Habits
Once you know what you value, it’s time to examine your spending habits. If you keep track of your spending with the help of personal finance software, this is fairly simple: All you have to do is make a report that breaks down your spending for the last couple of months.
If you don’t have personal finance software, you can look at your last few bank statements, or start a ledger to keep track for the next two months.
Look at where your money is going. Do your expenditures help you reach your goals? Does how you spend your money reflect what you value? Not too long ago, I realized that I didn’t care very much for trinkets.
What I really value are experiences. So, instead of buying things, I have decided to put more of my discretionary spending toward experiences, like eating out and travel, that I enjoy. If you value financial security for the future, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on a huge new TV if you haven’t maxed out your IRA.
Consider your financial goals, and prioritize your expenses. Change your spending habits so the things you value are taken care of first. Funding your emergency account, donating to charity, and purchasing a new board game for your family should be the things you take care of first if you value security, helping others and quality family time.
If you take care of funding your values first, then you won’t be so disappointed at the end of the month when you don’t have money for the things that aren’t as important.