Every Sunday evening, my wife and I recap our weekend spending, and then do any budget adjustments required due to higher than expected spending. After the conclusion of this activity recently, I broke the good news that we had stayed well within our allocated weekend funds. As soon as the words left my mouth, they felt wrong.
I was confused as to why they felt wrong, after all isn’t that the goal? Isn’t the goal to live within our means by creating a budget, allocating a finite amount of funds for bills and other activities, and then spend less than or equal to those set amounts? We had seemingly done everything right, but yet something felt off.
We commonly give ourselves a pat on the back for sticking to our budget. We go into the weekend with the expectation we’re going to spend money, so when we spend less than the maximum amount possible we applaud ourselves.
Why do we expect ourselves to spend money?
I’m not going to pretend for a minute that I can go through daily life without spending any money. There are bills to pay, and necessities to buy. But outside of just the basic cost of living, why do we expect to spend money? After the basic cost of living expenses are taken care of, I have a warm home, food in the cupboard, clothes in the closet and countless ways of entertaining myself.
Yet, I enter the weekend with the full expectation of spending money. In fact we go looking for ways to spend money. My wife and I actually have discussions regarding what we want to do. It’s almost like we brainstorm ways to spend our money, and we always succeed. Most of the time we find ourselves with more ways to spend our money than we have funds. We determine which activities would bring the most value to our lives. Which is all well and good, but do you know what has never happened?
We’ve NEVER come to the conclusion that NONE of the ideas for a given weekend were worth of our hard earned cash.
It’s never happened. Ever. Look, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spend money on things that bring us enjoyment. But it should be hard to separate you from your hard earned money. Really, really hard.
It’s time we changed our perspective on how we spend our money. Instead of acting like a five year old on a Friday afternoon with allowance burning a hole in our pocket, let’s treat our money like a business person looking to invest in a business proposition. If a business person gives their money to a questionable investment, it may fail and then the money is lost forever.
Think back over the last week.
What did you spend your money on?
Do you have any regrets?
If you had to do it over again, would you make the same choices?
If that same business person gives their money to a sound investment, it may grow and bring rewards that last a lifetime. Those are the spending experiences that are worth it.
I’m challenge myself to change my spending perspective. This week, I’m not going to assume I’m going to spend money. I’m starting with the expectation that I’m going to spend absolutely nothing. Before spending a single dollar, I will have to PROVE to myself that it’s worth it. Then, at the end of the week, I’ll celebrate how close I came to spending zero.