Someone once said that a good way to know a person’s priorities is to look at where his money goes.
Say, if your money is mostly spent on groceries and house expenses, you’re either a breadwinner who values family; or you’re living independently and you put a premium on living well.
If your expense sheet is all about eating out, that may mean you’re a foodie or that you value discovering new recipes and restaurants.
If you look at your expense tracker and see that most of your money goes to shopping for new clothes, makeup, endless pairs of shoes, and knick knacks (half of which you may not even remember), well, let’s just say that it’s time to re-evaluate the things you spend for.
Now, how do we determine we’re spending for the right things?
1. List down every single expense and identify where they fall under. A personal trick I can suggest is to key in every single expense. I do this on Google Drive on the web when I’m at my desk; or, if I’m on the move, via the app which syncs everything.
Each expense is categorized as Must Spend On or Want to Spend On. Each category is color-coded. Upon weekly checks, I have an at-a-glance view of everything I’ve spent on and I know in an instant where I’ve allocated my resources. Case in point: I know I’ve done a bit of shopping because my Excel sheets are mostly pink, the color assigned to the Want to Spend On category. Meanwhile, on the Must Spend side, I know that I have not gone beyond spending 50% of my money and as such, I can tell that I’ve spent for my home needs – an expense I’ve anticipated and is something I value.
On a bigger scale, travel has always taken a bigger slice of my budget; same with higher learning, as a means of investing in myself.
2. Write down what you value. Or you can draw them. Or maybe outline them. Whatever works best for you. The important thing is to know just what it is you deem important .
For example, it could be love — which may be in the form of sending your son to your alma mater because you believe in giving your child the same quality of education that you’ve had.
Having security as a priority may be in the form of investing more in a safe neighborhood, which may translate to more expensive charges.
Experience may denote more travels in a year in countries you’ve never set foot in yet.
Freedom may translate to pursuing higher education so that your dream business may finally see realization.
3. Be mindful. After establishing all that’s important to you, it’s time to evaluate each and every expense before you make them. For instance, you’re itching to buy those Martha Stewart-ish ice cube trays just because they’re on sale – but do you really need them? And that luggage you saw on a group-buying site – don’t you have five of those already?
Be aware of your choices and remember that being conscious about your spending habits will help you move towards what your heart truly wants.
And in the end, that’s what truly matters. Spending each peso of our income for what we deem important is a step towards a brighter life.
Image via A Girl A Style