How do values compare to your spending?

I’ve been sitting on this topic for a few weeks. It’s huge. It’s important. There are books, courses and entire blogs dedicated to values. I know what’s in my head, but not entirely sure how it will come out on this blank screen. Let’s give it a go.

If you are following along at home you have been watching your spending for a few weeks. Or, if you are like me, maybe you have been stuck in this spot for a long time.

I regret not writing things down in the early days of my realizations. Now I’m going off memory which of course is faded and I probably only pick out the monumental moments. This is why I’m going to encourage you to write your observations down. See your thoughts. Get it out of your head and on to paper. Make it real.

What are you noticing about your spending? Maybe it’s large generalizations or it’s small tactical line items. Here are some of mine and also what I’ve heard:

  • how is it possible to spend this much per month?
  • why do I _____ (insert thing you dislike here)
  • do I really need a ______ (security system, subscription, this house, etc)?
  • I could probably make changes in this category quickly
  • shit, I forgot we paid $X per month on that wine club
  • wow, I’m not doing as bad as I thought!
  • how do I categorize the things we only pay once a year?

The goal of this observation/categorization period is to lead you down the path of recognizing what is important.

I have two examples of how I was feeling when I decided it was time to give our financial life a kick in the ass.

feels back in 2015

I have always been the breadwinner since my husband and I have been together. The pressures to withhold our lifestyle AND our newly formed family's security was just too much. I was stressed, I was unhealthy and I wasn’t happy.

One day a friend of mine had to quit her job because something became drastically wrong with her eyes and she couldn’t see (it was temporary, thank goodness). I realized my family would be absolutely fucked if that happened to me. I stopped pussyfooting around and this is what lead to the sale of our house.

Now it’s your turn. Write down your values. Write down what you want to be doing with your life. What matters to you? How do you want your life to look? What do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to have?

Compare your values to how you spend.

Maybe it’s just super clear that they don’t align. Maybe it’s not and you write all your spending categories down next to your values and draw lines to each other. Maybe you look at the “trends” category in mint and see you spend 20% of your budget on travel and you’re like “yup.” Maybe you’re traveling solely on credit and that makes your stomach hurt.

Write all that down.

A little NYT inspiration: We do have another option. We can flip the equation. We can put our values first and make spending decisions that better align with our true selves. Spending doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and with a little knowledge and planning, we can end up with statements that reflect a personal manifesto that we’re proud to call our own.

My favorite (8 minute!) podcast of the week. The moments I look back in my life and think, “God, those are the moments that made me,” were moments of struggle.

Please write questions below and I’ll address directly or in future posts. Or if we know each other and you want to talk — let’s do it. If you feel so inclined, use the “clap” to give me positive feedback.

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