The more we have, the more we spend. It is human nature. I know that in this household we stopped being so aware of the cost of groceries, and whether we had gone over budget or not when our income increased a few years ago. I didn’t hesitate as much as I previously would have when the children wanted money for outings, takeaway or other consumables.
What ended up happening was all potential saving capacity, all that potential to create meaningful wealth, decreased because we got used to spending the higher income and create debts to match. We weren’t any happier surrounded by all the stuff.
Once I realised this, I re-evaluated how we were spending and now practise a certain mindset around money. I ask myself, is what I am spending money on an investment or adding value to my life? If the answer is yes, I do it; if no, I ask myself, do I really want it? Is what I am going to spend money on going to make me money or add value to my life? This is called conscious, or intentional spending.
Conscious spending means we think about and choose what we are going to spend our money on. We analyse where we are currently spending our money and make goal-orientated changes and budget-based decisions.
Whether it is for going out, saving, investing, bills, looking after our health and fitness, holidays, schooling, rent, or mortgage—it is about having a plan that takes us towards our goals instead of feeling limited, restricted, and wasteful.
My husband and I both have various academic achievements, are members of industry-regulated bodies, and I am a keen business networker. We have supported each other in making these types of educational choices as it has proven to be an investment that pays good dividends back into our income increasing capacities.
Some like to invest in education, or antique furniture, or designer clothes, or travel, or property, or into their family and community, and some in wellbeing. As long as it is meaningful enough that when money is paid out there is a feeling of satisfaction and possible future growth and value—then it is conscious spending.
Seven helpful questions to ask when the household income increases –
- Have we shopped around for the best price? (Just because we have money, we can still buy the bargains).
- Are the needs of the household and each family member taken care of before the wants?
- Are we creating memories or debts?
- Are we consciously spending in line with our budget?
- Have we got the right advice, the right insurances, and the right bank accounts?
- Are we investing in ourselves through education or health?
- How can we support our community or a meaningful charity organisation? People who do this often say that doing something for others seems to bring good stuff back to them and a sense of fulfilment.
I am very mindful and intentional of what I spend, make room in our budget to support our community, and love a good bargain. Recently I bought a small coffee machine that was on special. I worked out that I gained back the cost of the machine within a month because I was not buying a takeaway coffee every morning.
I am not saying to steer clear of indulging in and enjoying occasional treats, that big holiday or buying those gorgeous shoes. I am suggesting being mindful and goal-orientated of how money is being spent. Enjoy the longer-term reward for your hard work and effort; and be thankful, purposeful, and masterful around your finances.
Top Tip – Ask the question before each purchase, “Is this bringing value into my life?”
How can you be more conscious and intentional with your spending this year?