If you've ever blown your budget on eating out, shopping or entertainment, you know some of the biggest financial issues we deal with can stem from a basic lack of self-control. With July being National Savings Month, we are all encouraged to take a look at how we spend our money – and on what. If you're hoping to boost your savings, focus on your investments, or simply get out debt, curbing or completely eliminating impulsive purchases seems like the most logical solution, right? But simply banning yourself from doing something might not be the most effective option.
Here are a few tips on how to approach all aspects of your finances (earning, saving, spending, borrowing and giving) by using a values-based budgeting system. Values-based budgeting is about more than recategorizing how you spend. It’s about changing your relationship with money and being more intentional about how you spend.
How to start setting up a budget based on your values
Figuring out your financial values involves understanding your own personal beliefs, priorities, and goals around money. Here are some steps to help you determine your financial values:
- Reflect on your goals: Start by considering your short-term and long-term financial goals. What are you aiming to achieve financially? Do you want to be debt-free, save for a down payment on a house, start a business, retire early, or travel the world? Clarifying your goals will help you identify your financial values.
- Identify your priorities: Think about what matters most to you when it comes to money. Is it financial security, freedom, independence, or providing for your family? Consider the aspects of your financial life that hold the greatest importance and influence your decision-making.
- Assess your beliefs around money: Reflect on your beliefs about money and wealth. These beliefs may have been shaped by your upbringing, culture, or personal experiences. Do you believe in living frugally, investing for the future, giving back to your community, or enjoying the present moment? Understanding your underlying beliefs will help you align your financial values with them.
- Evaluate your spending patterns: Review your spending habits and expenses over the past few months. Look at where your money goes and whether it tracks with your values. For example, if you value experiences and travel, but most of your income goes toward material possessions, it may show that there is a disconnect between your values and your spending.
- Think about your lifestyle choices: Examine the choices you make about your lifestyle and how they relate to your financial values. Do you prioritize saving and investing over instant gratification purchases? Are you willing to make sacrifices now for a better financial future? Analysing your lifestyle choices will reveal the importance you place on different aspects of your finances.
- Seek inspiration and guidance: Look for resources, like books and podcasts, or find a financial advisor, to give you insights into your personal finance and values. Learning from others' experiences and perspectives can help you shape and refine your own financial values. You can sign up for the values and money course here.
- Revisit and adjust as and when you reach your targets: Your financial values may evolve over time as you gain new experiences and perspectives. Regularly review and reassess your financial values to make sure they are still aligned with your current goals and priorities.
Remember that financial values are personal, and there is no right or wrong answer. It's essential to define your own values based on what resonates with you and supports your overall well-being and financial aspirations.
We are all trying to avoid getting into debt. Instead of saying no to every single "indulgence" it's better to be responsible in how you spend – and this will inform how you invest, save and, ultimately, indulge
Bonolo is a multimedia journalist and content creator at Heartlines. She has experience in online and radio media production and helps spread the Heartlines message on multiple platforms.
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