I made it to the end of my “No Spend Month”. You can read my introduction post here. Today I wanted to write a little summary of my experience this past month, my money goals for the next few days and months, and how this exercise links to my core values and longer term goals.
I find it both amusing and frustrating that financial planning doesn't come easily to me. Way back in the day, I took a very intensive course and worked as a “financial planner” with Primerica for a short time. I think as with many things, it was easier for me to talk to other folks about their money than it was for me to figure out mine! The job was mostly sales and I am a terrible salesperson, so I didn’t last long there. My family never openly discussed money when I was a kid, but they didn’t hide it either. I had a savings account, received an allowance, and made a lot of trips to the bank with my Dad when I was small. I attribute my inability to figure this shit out to a combination of factors. And I have come to terms with the fact that these struggles are just part of my life now, and I am very lucky to be able to worry about this intellectually from a stable place.
HOW TO MEASURE SUCCESS
Overall, I think I had a successful “No Spend Month”. I checked through my bank and credit card statements, and there were no impulsive, unplanned purchases. However, this was not surprising to me. I can safely say now that before my divorce I had unhealthy shopping habits. I shopped a lot at Value Village and online, never set a budget for myself, and relied on my ex to pay for the big household expenses and used my income to fund my habits.
Since my divorce I have become hyper conscious about spending money and yet continue with bad shopping habits. This time in the other direction, struggling to purchase even things that I really need. I either spend eleventy billion hours agonizing over my decision and stressing myself out or I don’t spend enough time thinking first and I regret the purchase immediately. There has to be a happy medium, and I try to use no spend months to regulate and examine those feelings. And work on finding that balance.
Success around money looks like different things to different people, and that’s great! For me, success looks like:
Short-term and long-term savings
Less anxiety around spending money on things I need
Less anxiety and more conscious spending on things I want
I require consistency and help working on those last two points. Examining how “decision fatigue” plays a role in how I spend money is on deck for the short term, while continuing to break up my money goals into itty-bitty steps is important for my long-term growth.
CORE VALUES AND LONG TERM GOALS
I have very firm core values around money, and some huge long term goals that are heavily money-dependent. Some of my values around money are:
Anti-capitalism and the sharing economy
Financial education and modeling behaviour for Lucas
Open discussions with my Partner and setting family goals
As I currently live in a capitalist economy, that first one is tough to realize, but I do my best. And I have plans I’d like to put in place this year, especially as it connects to the second core value.
My biggest long (long) term goal around money is kind of depressing, but I also feel very empowered just thinking about it. In the next 40 years - if I live that long - there is a high chance that I will be diagnosed with dementia and require more care and support. I would prefer to receive that care in my home, so I am going to start planning - and saving - for it now.
Does it help you to see someone else chatting openly about money?