Today's blog post is written by Financial Coach Tonia Peasley
Aligning your finances with your values is a topic that I think could benefit everyone as we head into a new decade. Determining what we put value in is a key component of finding fulfillment with what we have. So how do we do that? A couple suggestions I would for you to think about:
Determine what you put monetary value in.
As we close out another holiday season, I think it is important to discuss the things we find value in. Can I put a dollar figure on spending time with my family? If so, how much do I think that is worth? Do I place value in telling others my job title or having a nice home to entertain friends and family in? Identifying where and what we place value in differs between individuals. We may share some of the same beliefs, but how we rank them with our spending habits, priorities, and long-term goals will differ from those around us. Each of us needs to be able to identify what we put value to before we can truly find fulfillment in life.
Determine how you are fulfilled by your spending.
This is a big one. We all need continual practice on how our spending habits bring fulfillment to our lives. Learning how to distinguish between "external" and "internal" indicators of satisfaction is a key element in helping us control our spending. There are a couple questions I often ask myself when it comes to spending that helps me identify if I will earn true fulfillment from the expenditure:
- Did I receive fulfillment and satisfaction in proportion to the energy I spent? If I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get to a sale (ie. fighting the crowds, being frustrated, missing out on another activity that day, etc.) was that energy spent equal or less than the fulfillment felt by obtaining the item I was searching for?
- Is the money spent really in alignment with my values? For example, is it truly necessary to buy the $300 name brand blender over a $50 knock-off blender? To solve this dilemma, I will often times place both items in my online shopping cart and ponder it for a day or two before I hit the “BUY” button. Generally, I will talk myself out of the more expensive item but, if I do opt for the more expensive item, I won't experience regret because I know I put the time and effort into making the right decision.
- Will I miss the expense if I don't spend the money on it? If I opt to wait a little longer for that movie to come out on Redbox instead of going to the opening night at the box office, will it really make an overall change to my life? Of course, skipping one movie at the box office doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but if you skip 5 movies in a year, you could have an extra $50 to buy that less expensive blender from before.
Accountability is key.
An accountability partner helps you realize what matters to you and stands beside you as you plan for what really matters. Sometimes this person can be a friend, a colleague, or a Financial Coach. However, I caution you on choosing your partner or spouse as an accountability partner if you are in the beginning stages of finding value in your spending. It is important for each of us to learn how to align our finances and individual values before we try to align with someone else's ideas.
Learning how to associate our values with our finances is essential to making better spending decisions. Calibrating your internal guide to measure fulfillment and how expenses affect long term goals is something all of us need to learn early on in life. This exploration can be a lifetime gift to you or someone else this New Year. If you think you would like to explore these types of lessons more, we here at C.L.Sheldon & Company, would like to become that accountability partner you are looking for. We have the tools and resources to guide you on aligning your values with your finances and help you learn lessons that will last you a lifetime.
If you found this article useful, you might like the following blog posts: