Where Does Your Money Go?Usually, our spending can be divided into needs and wants. We need shelter, food, and things to sustain life, and we want lots of other stuff. There is often a lot of gray area between the two. We want things so bad that it is almost a need, or the consequences of not getting it are disastrous. For instance, date night could be considered a want, but I consider a happy relationship a need, so going on a date meets my needs (but I don't have to go on an extravagant, expensive date.)
What Is Non-Negotiable?
Put God First
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi 3:8-10I would rather be on the "pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" end of the deal than the "cursed with a curse" end. Whether the blessings or cursings come in this life or the next doesn't make a particle of difference.
Labor Saving Devices
Our Vitamix and other things were bought on the same principle. If I am eventually going to be buying the nice version that will last forever, I might as well enjoy it now rather than spend money on junk I will eventually throw away.
I understand that this way of buying isn't in everyone's budget, but we were able to do this without going into debt, so it has been well worth it to spend a little extra here and there on important items.
Fun Money (Splurges)
This is the category for things that are clearly in the want category. I don't need to go to Disneyland, eat out at a fancy restaurant or have lots of the latest fancy toys and clothes. But it is still good to have a little money reserved for this category. It helps the quality of life immensely and gives us something to loo forward to!
Investments vs. Short Term Gain
Usually we aren't faced with an "either/or" type dillema in an obvious fashion. But what if we were? I recently read this post which mentions how the writer chose avocados over toothpaste. I remember trying to sell a choir CD to a friend that was in college while I was still in High School. Her response, "Do you know how many gallons of milk I could buy for $20?"
So where do we really want to be investing our money? If you look at buycott.com you can find all sorts of causes that you can support (or not support) depending on the products you buy. Besides the idea of where the money is going, I like to consider where the product is going. I can spend money on a family vacation that will create lasting memories. Worth it? yes.
What about our food? I spend money getting my car taken care of and want the best vacuum for my carpets, shouldn't I be willing to spend to keep my body healthy? This is often a bit more intimidating because my body needs taken care of daily, not just every few months or years. So the cost difference could be substantial. But isn't that all the more reason to invest in it?
My cousins just bought a juicer, and not a cheap one either. They have only been using it for a few weeks but are already noticing the difference. Is it cheap to eat/drink that many fresh fruits and veggies? No. But if it means being able to stop taking medications, reducing the risk of disease and cancer and overall better quality of life it is worth the price.
So how much of your spending is investing in the future. I recognize that a home can be a great financial investment, but what other things can we invest in? How can my spending help my invest money (and time!) in the relationships that matter most? What am I doing to improve my quality of life? What are things that I am willing to give up or change in order to be able to enjoy those things that are really important to me? What can I do to make my spending habits reflect my values and priorities?
I'm still in the process of learning how to apply these principles, but the ideas ring true even if the application hasn't been fully implemented yet. Feel free to ask me if you want to know specific ideas I have for my life. What are things that you are doing to help you spend time and money where it really counts?