This is a post from my friend Jeff at Sustainable Life Blog as part of the Yakezie blog swap. Jeff writes about finances, sustainability, health and self reliance on his blog 3 times per week. You can see my post on the same topic at Jeff's blog.
Lots of spending is value driven. For the most part, if you didnt value that 4th beer on a friday night or that cup of joe before work on Tuesday, you wouldn't spend money buying it. Of course, some of this could be chalked up to habit (or lack of sound decision making poweress in the former case), but usually our spending reflects our values. Before I got my finances in order, I refused to believe this, mainly because I knew where most of my spending went, and it wasnt in line with what I thought my values were. I quickly realigned my spending, and things are going great.
I break my spending down into a few categories, but I get the most value from just a few of them, and for vastly different reasons. One of the things that I spend quite a bit of money on is traveling – usually to visit friends, but occasionally just for vacation. One of the other important things that I spend money on that I get a great amount of value from is debt repayment (lame, I know) but it will provide me with freedom in the future. I'll talk about each of these in greater detail below
For the travel, a lot of my recent travel has been to and from friends weddings and bachelor parties. Even though I was in and out of cars and airports all summer, it was important to me to stand with my friends and be a part of their wedding. Of course, I had a great time with my friends on their big day, created a bunch of memories and ruined a bunch of professionally taken wedding photos (just kidding….). While occasionally the amount that I spent on flights, etc to get where I needed to go dressed in what I needed to wear was high, it didnt matter. Seeing my friends enjoy themselves and be there for them was totally worth every penny.
Thought I'm not (typically) a responsible person or financial blogger, I did say that I get a high amount of value from repaying debt, which is a really lame answer. Debt sucks, and I don't like it, and every time I pay it down, I'm that much closer to being free of monthly obligations, and can use that money to further my goals for the future, instead of paying off things that I did in the past. I don't actually value paying down the debt per say, but I do value what it represents: freedom from financial ties and obligations, so that I can use my money how I want, where I want and when I want, for whatever I want. The freedom that I'll have when I get to a point where I've got no debt is what I value the most.
Readers: What about you? What do you spend your money on that gives you a lot of value? Does your spending reflect your values as accurately as you'd like?
Image by jerandsar.