Today I want to encourage you to carefully reflect on what it is that you value. Work out what is important to you and then you can start to align your spending with the values and priorities you have as a family.
One of our favourite treats is a visit to the coffee shop and we also love to travel but now that we have become more intentional about money, both are accounted for in our budget. We value experiences over things and since spending time together as a family on adventures big and small is a top priority, we feel happy and relaxed about spending money to do this.
We also want our daughters to be involved in sports and arts activities. This is something we value, so we allow for it in our budget too although we have cut back on this in recent years since our girls stopped gymnastics. At the moment they take dance classes and while there are so many extra dance opportunities available we keep these to a minimum because overall having a balanced life with education and family time at the core is our priority at the moment.
To ensure that our money stretches to cover what we value the most, we have cut back in many other areas. We rarely go out for dinner, do not drink alcohol apart from on very special rare occasions and live pretty simply. We no longer go shopping out of boredom and try to use up what we already have because we would rather use our money to work towards wider goals and values.
The aim is to be intentional in making what you have fit what you want for your family. For that reason it is vital that you take the time to identify what that really is. Maybe investing in your home or keeping up to date with fashion is something you particularly value, maybe private education is important to you, maybe it is keeping up to date with technology. Maybe you want to offer your children as many opportunities as possible. The point is to determine what you actually value when you strip away everything that society wants to tell you that you should value because then you can work to make what is most important to you, the priority in your budget.
Once I realised that I would rather spend money on travel than on new clothes and shoes it was much easier to just stop buying them. I rotate the same outfits again and again and feel perfectly happy about it because I know that the money I don’t spend on clothes and shoes helps our travel budget grow. On the flip side, once I realised that my life would be less rich without coffee in it, I no longer felt guilty when purchasing my favourite latte.
We all have finite resources, so the key is to use what you have, to work towards what it is you really want. This is living mindfully instead of mindlessly and is the key to contentment, simplicity, happiness and peace.