My mentor on personal finance would often say, ‘Show me your checkbook and I’ll tell you what you truly care about.’ For those of you who don’t know what a checkbook is let me rephrase, ‘Show me your online account statements and I’ll tell you what you truly care about.’ So, what does your spending reveal about you?
Our spending records don’t lie. They tells the facts as they are. We might say, ‘I eat healthy’ or ‘I care about the poor and needy’ or ‘My family is most important to me.’ However, if our spending shows us eating at restaurants several times a week, rarely giving to the poor, and spending more on our hobbies than on our family, then our values and our spending are out of sync.
What you spend your money on reveals the truth of what you really value in life.
Recently, I was personally challenged to take an inventory of my 2017 spending to see what my spending says about my values. The information was both convicting and encouraging. Encouraging because is some areas it proved I’m living out my true values. Convicting, because I see other areas that I can do better in.
I’m not writing this to bring guilt or condemnation on anyone. I refuse to fall in that trap myself. Life is meant to be enjoyed! But there’s a real temptation, especially in our consumer driven culture, to spend on things that entertain and satisfy us in the moment without considering the long-term effect.
It goes back to what I said in a previous blog, that true fulfillment and happiness can only happen when we use our money for a greater purpose. It’s about living on purpose and making spending choices that align with our deepest and the most important values we hold.
I challenge you, as I continue to challenge myself, to allow the record of your spending to reveal the truth. To cause you to ask some important questions and make the appropriate changes.
Ask Yourself these questions:
What do I really value in life?
What’s most important to me?
Does my spending show I'm living out my values or do they prove otherwise?
Perhaps you’ve never looked at your spending and considered what it says about your values. Now, at the beginning of a new year is a great time to get clear on your values and set a plan [a spending plan] to start living out your values on purpose. Don’t risk looking back on your life with regret, realizing too late that your choices were in contrast to what you really valued and desired to accomplish in life.
Money is good for the good it can do
According to Jesus, the greatest commandments is to love God. And the second is like it, to love others. Those who struggle with faith in God will understandably have difficulty with the first commandment, but I don’t know anyone that doesn’t believe loving others is right and good and should be taken to heart.
I see no better use of money than to do good with it as long as I am able. It starts with my family, but it doesn’t end there. I challenge you, do good with every resource you’ve been given.
I’d love to know what you value the most in life and how you’re spending is increasing that value in your life. Please share in the comments below!