In April I wanted to do a money inventory. Budgeting, recording, penny pinching – none of these things are new to me. Over the last five years of my life I’ve gotten fairly good at sticking within budgets I’ve set, so I wasn’t really interested in how much we spent, so much as I was interested in the ways we spent it. After all, you can tell a lot about what a person values by observing their spending habits.
Well, these are some of the things I would say I value that I think money can buy:
Preparedness and Peace of Mind
But, as it turns out, do I spend my money on these things?
When it comes to Peace of Mind – I spent a fair amount of money this month buying up tools for organizing the house. I mentioned that I read some books about organizing, and after doing the types of assessment recommended – such as figuring out problem areas – I purchased some storage containers and made plans to buy a cart to store our “current projects.” It turned out organizing gave me a lot of peace of mind. I had been thinking we needed to move before we could deal with some of my house woes. Actually, some of them were just the result of, to put it one way, bad design.
We spent money on friends when we went out to eat once, and when we took a hike in New Hampshire to celebrate my birthday. But… that was it, and it wasn’t that much. Actually, seeing how few times we spent money buying gifts for others or taking others out to eat (or even inviting them over to eat) made me remember that I want our main family mission to be hospitality – and we’re not living up to it. We can do better – we just have to figure out how.
Healthwise I finally buckled down and made a purchase during the last week of April I’ve been contemplating for about 6 months. I bought the p90x DVDs used on Amazon. This is cheaper than a gym membership and the odds of me doing it are very high. I’m pretty motivated when it comes to doing exercise DVDs, and I’m planning to start the program on May 14th.
But… we didn’t spend much on family memories, community, and education. When Steve and I first got married we joked about eating ice cream every Monday at the ice cream store for the rest of our lives. We had just spent a blissful summer doing that and it is a really good memory. Thinking back on that I really want to bring it back.
We could certainly spend more money in our community – not just by giving to charities but by purchasing more things downtown. In Salem I bought a few things at Scrub, Lifebridge, and of course my weekly coffee break at Jaho, but not too much more. As I’m looking to upgrade my wardrobe this year, I want to make more of an effort to purchase clothes at some of the boutiques downtown. I probably also need to look into some of the other non-tourist non-eatery type businesses downtown as well so I can get an idea of what else I could buy there, instead of at Target or on Amazon. Spending money within the local downtown helps out businesses and the community. If you want to know more about this, I wrote a post about it here.
How do you match up your values with your spending? What areas could you improve on?