Supporting Your Vision Part 2 – Does Your Spending Actually Support Your Vision?

Last time, I shared questions to help you explore how you might spend your money to help you bring more of your No-Brainer set of qualities into your life and business.

As promised, today we’ll look at it from the other direction: Looking at the money we spend to see what qualities our choices are increasing (or decreasing).

Still with the big fat caveat

I said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when looking at how we spend our money. Our stuff gets triggered, shoulds get louder, our hindsight tells us we could have done better…it happens to all of us.

We’re just gathering information with no expectation of making changes. So that we can have some clarity around what our money is doing for us in terms of supporting our vision (or taking us away from it).

The questions (with my own answers)

Pick two or three things you currently spend money on regularly, that you believe aren’t necessities. What qualities do they bring or what needs do they fulfill?

Going out to eat and ordering take-out – I guess this brings the qualities of ease and support. It means we don’t have to cook. Perhaps it also brings luxury or, well, whatever the quality is for indulging my sense of taste.

Starbucks – Partly the taste thing again. Sometimes connection when I met people there. But my history with lattes is that they were something I picked up on my way to the office, so it was more about “making up” for the fact that I had to go somewhere I didn’t want to go.

Renting DVDs – It brings fun, sometimes creativity if the movie sparks ideas for me. Connection with my husband when we discuss the movie.

More-than-basic cable & DVR – Sometimes fun. The DVR brings ease (I guess) or efficiency (!), in that we’re not forced to sit through commercials. Connection if we’re watching something together.

What I’m noticing: For all of the items I listed above, I’m feeling like I need to defend the money I spend on them. I also notice that these things can be used for good or for evil. Yes, movies and TV can bring fun and connection, but sometimes I use them to numb out when I’m overwhelmed. Sometimes they bring dis-connection, because it’s passive entertainment.

For the qualities and needs you listed above, what other ways could you receive them while spending less money?

I could replace the ease of ordering out with simple recipes that leave us with a few days of leftovers. Bonus points if the recipe tastes really good. Usually I’m okay with leftovers (even boring ones) because they’re so easy.

I could also start working on my pattern of using TV to numb out when I’m overwhelmed. I’m sure there are much better ways to unwind and recharge, but this is a habit that spans decades, so it might take a while to unravel it all.

I could increase the fun and connection from renting movies with a board game night sometimes.

My Starbucks habit has already dropped off considerably now that I’m not going to an office. Plus, we make really good coffee at home.

Are there better ways to receive those qualities, even if it costs the same or more money?

Note: the point of this question is to encourage you to consider how you’re meeting your needs. Something more expensive might give you a lot more of what you’re wanting, compared to the cheaper thing that only gives you a very small amount.

Instead of reverting to movies and TV together all the time, we could consider signing up for a class together. Swing dancing, or painting. My sense is creating shared experiences would do a lot for increasing the qualities of connection, creativity and fun.

What comes up for you when you think about some of your spending and the ways you could change it?

I see quite a few things that I spend money on due to inertia – it’s easier to just keep it the way it is than to address it.

I’m also noticing that sometimes giving ourselves what we really need and want, rather than choosing the convenient options, is its own form of work. Sad but true.

Now that you’ve explored your spending and the qualities it brings, are there any changes that feel like a “No-Brainer” to you?

I’m definitely going to work on ordering out less, because I realize now that it just doesn’t give me that much of the qualities I’m wanting. I’d like to go from ordering out twice a week to twice a month. I can even try to find some fun recipes to try.

Until next time…

I’m thinking it might be time to talk about that elephant in the room, Necessity.

What about you?

Any aha moments from looking at the qualities your spending is bringing you? Any No-Brainer changes you’d like to make? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Oh, and feel free to share your No-Brainer recipes that you think I should try!

Enjoying this process of using qualities to direct your investments of time, money and energy? My upcoming course will be using the same approach to help you get clarity and create structure in your business. I’m offering a $200 early-bird discount until February 11. You can get the details here.

6 thoughts on “Supporting Your Vision Part 2 – Does Your Spending Actually Support Your Vision?

  1. Bridget Pilloud

    Have you heard about Michelle Singletary’s 21 day financial fast? I’ve tried it and liked it because it helped me look at my emotions around spending. Essentially, you only spend money on essentials and you only use cash (except for your mortgage and utilities).
    I became conscious of how much I spend on coffee and trinkets, bits of inexpensive jewelry on etsy, little bits of artwork, whatnot. I noticed that when I felt compelled to spend it, it was either convenience or to soothe a little lowgrade anxiety. Nothing soothes anxiety like a pretty.
    After my latest round of this, I took some of the money I didn’t spend on coffee and spent it on a picture to remind me to listen in to my inner consciousness. It’s one of @leah_art ‘s prints.
    You’re right, money can be an investment or it can be something that we use instead of zeroing in on the need it is fixing in the short-term.
    I love your smart.
    .-= Bridget Pilloud´s last blog ..Feelings are Not Pizza Toppings- Safely Handling Emotions Pt. 2 =-.

  2. Beniaminus

    This is a great way to look at money, Victoria. Last week, my wife and I did a rather boring budget, and we tried to make ourselves cut back on coffee out together. But after reading your post, I can see that the money spent on coffee actually contributes hugely to my value of having spontaneous, quality time with my wife.

    Thanks for the perspective shift!
    .-= Beniaminus´s last blog ..WordPress Creator Matt Mullenweg Gives Tips on Public Speaking =-.

  3. Victoria Post author

    @Bridget – Funny – the financial fast article came my way last week, I think, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’d better bump it up higher on my “to read” list! :) And, yes, it’s those little anxiety-soothers that can really add up. I think it’s awesome that you noticed that pattern and then gave yourself something wonderful like a piece of art to help you listen to your inner consciousness.

    @Beniaminus – YES! You get my point exactly…it’s not about what we spend our money on, but about using our money to meet our needs as well as we possibly can. So if going out for coffee is adding to your quality of life (however *you* define that), then cutting it out isn’t necessarily the best choice.

  4. elizabeth

    This has inspired an idea for a blog post around all my shoulds on cooking. One of the things I would like to spend money on (but feel guilty when I do) is more prepared food from the local market’s deli. It really goes along with my quality of support (thanks! that totally works for my needs around movement and self-care, I was thinking of it more along the lines of person-support or business-support and forgot that it can have other meanings); I eat better and take care of myself better when I buy it because when I am hungry, there is something “quality” in the house that is ready for me to eat. It really doesn’t add hugely to my food costs – it’s just that I think it does, and I think that I should be cooking. Except then I don’t want to, and end up hungry or eating meals that aren’t as high quality.

    This series is immensely helpful. Thank you for sharing it.
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..ode to joy, volume 5 =-.

  5. Shannon Wilkinson

    Great post Victoria! I was just thinking of writing out something like this to share with a client, and now I don’t have to. It really isn’t so much about spending money equals good or bad, but whether you’re getting what you want to get out of it (or think you’re getting). And then, making a change, or relaxing with your choice!

  6. Lydia, Clueless Crafter

    This evening my husband and I went out for a spontaneous dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. After reading this post, I recognize why the spontaneity was worth the evening’s out weight in gold. As has been said before, it wasn’t about what we spent the money on (which is usually my concern) and how much we spent (also my concern) but the value we received back.

    The evening felt lighthearted, joyous, youthful. It felt good to spend money in this way.
    .-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last blog ..Auction Connection =-.

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