What Does Money Mean to You?
There is nothing cool, fun, edgy or smart about focusing so much on accumulating wealth, that you avoid spending money on people or things that bring you joy. Nothing at all.
I’m not talking about your highest held financial obligations such as food, shelter, taxes, and other bills. I’m talking about non-essential spending. Dipping into your bank account and spending on things that you or your family do not necessarily need, but would like to purchase. That can consist of a family vacation, a home project, extra back to school outfits for the kids, a family dinner night out etc.
Some individuals think the easiest way to tighten their belt is to remove as much non-essential spending from their budget as possible. Cut it out and you’ll save money. That may be true, but I think there is a more effective, less painful way of keeping your spending in check. Both to protect your budget and your joy.
I believe it is wise to become more contemplative or reflective as it relates to our spending. Are there areas we deem non-essential that really are essential? Are there areas that we label essential, that really are not? Before any financial planner can provide recommendations, they need to understand exactly what your budget means to you. What does each line item mean to you, both in $ terms and in a spiritual sense i.e. How does it impact your joy.
I think the tough questions we should be asking ourselves look like this:
In regard to myself or my children, do we have a healthy balance between experiences and savings? What is more important to me?
How would cutting out XYZ impact my or my family’s joy?
Am I applying thought and reflection to my spending?
We’re not here to over think every nickel and dime. However, reflecting on your spending is a great way to better understand your budget and what your money actually means to you!
When someone asks, “What does money mean to you?” I do not turn to the stocks in my portfolio looking for an answer. I look at my spending!