When you spend your money mindlessly, dollars slip through the cracks, and you wonder why you’re having trouble making ends meet.
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We’ve all experienced buyer’s remorse. You think you’re making an awesome purchase, feel good about it in the moment, and then later ask yourself, “What in the hell was I thinking?”

Many things seem like a great idea at first – ordering a $14 cocktail, buying that amazing outfit you really don’t need, ordering the newest iPhone – you get the point. Then, after reality sets in (or you see your bank balance), you realize you made a mistake.

What if you spent your money intentionally on things you actually value? Buyer’s remorse, and wasting money, would become a thing of the past. Value-based spending can help you save money, and it’s super easy to do.

How to get clear on your values

Many times, mindless spending is a result of letting the opinion of others weigh heavily on your decisions. The easiest way to separate what you value from the influence of others is to take a look at your past spending. Critically evaluate each purchase that isn’t necessary to your survival.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How excited was I to make the purchase?
  • Did that excitement wear off after a few days?
  • Did I actually need what I bought, or could I have survived without it?
  • Have I thought about returning it?
  • Have I wished I could have spent the money on X instead?
  • Am I kicking myself for spending that much money on X?

If you’re not happy with how you used your money, it’s a sign that you weren’t focusing on your values. You might have been influenced by friends, the media, or even a sale, causing you to neglect how your purchase would affect you.

Once you’re done going through a few months of transactions and have narrowed down what you do and don’t feel good about spending on, make a list of what you were truly happy to purchase.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical item. Maybe you were happy you spent money on train tickets to see old friends, lodging for an upcoming vacation, a spa day, or a ticket to a game. Or maybe you were happy you saved $100 toward your “new car” fund.

The point is you value things like family, friends, travel, relaxation, sports, and *gasp* saving money. You should spend on these values because spending money in a way that makes you happy is the best way to use it.

How to make room for values in your spending plan

Okay, so if you’re giving yourself permission to spend on your values, that means you need to make sacrifices in other areas. The good news is that it won’t feel like a sacrifice.

"Many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck because they’re spending their money mindlessly."

Many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck because they’re spending their money mindlessly. That’s what happens if you don’t check in with your finances. When you spend intentionally – in line with your values – you’re bound to find “free” money.

It’s a matter of priorities. If cable, shopping, and coffee aren’t what you value, then cut them out; redirect the money you’re saving to your values.

Think of it like a puzzle. You’re removing needless obstacles and saving money in the process. The pieces will fall into place once you stop spending on things that don’t make you happy.

Why spending on values will make you happier

When you spend your money mindlessly, dollars slip through the cracks, and you wonder why you’re having trouble making ends meet.

Spending on what you value will make you and your wallet happier, and it’s one of the easiest ways to save money because it’s meaningful to you. You’ll easily ward off any temptation that’s not in line with your values and keep the focus on what matters most to you.

 

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Posted 05.24.2016 - 04:46 pm EST