Live and Learn

Personal finance topics with a real world touch... 
and puns, because they make everything more amusing.

What really matters?


What’s most important to you? Are you sure? OK, let’s put it to the test. Take a look at how you spend your money. Don't worry, I’m gonna do it with you. If you don't track your spending, this is going to be a tad more difficult, but thankfully most banks and credit cards do a pretty good job of it for you. Some even hand it to you in a nice little pie chart!


I pulled up my monthly plan for all of 2020 and lumped each line item into larger categories. The fewer categories the easier it is to see patterns, but then you lose some detail. I ended up with 17. I could have lumped all savings in together, but since it’s 70% our income right now, I wanted to leave some detail. Here are mine. Yours will differ of course.


I have shown the % of our total spending/saving for the year and sorted by that. Please don't judge me for spending more on my cats than on gifts for my family. 😹

Clearly, the things that I value are security (hello retirement and miscellaneous savings), travel, and good food (that was a bit of surprise, but then not really... 2020 didn’t leave much else to do!) I'm OK with that.


Because I believe in transparency (without compromising privacy), I want to note that our current financial situation is not typical for us and it will end when we move back to the US at the end of the year. We have our housing and utilities paid for us here in Abu Dhabi. That means the rent on our home in Virginia goes in my new kitchen fund. Plus there is extra pay involved with the hubby’s job because we are overseas. Additionally, we are fortunate that a series of events allowed us to pay off the mortgage about five years ago, so of course that impacts our finances significantly. I share this info not to brag, but in an effort to open up the talk around money. There are a lot of feelings wrapped up in what we make, what we spend, and what we show to others. I think it’s important to see a little of the path that someone took to get where they are. (Anyone else think that the most fascinating part of House Hunters is when we find out what the couple does? Hey, professional crayon-sharpener and doggie aura reader… how do y’all afford a $1million dollar home??)

Anyway…. Does your spending actually reflect what is important to you? For most of us, basic needs are at the top of the list-- food, shelter, health. But once those needs are met, how do you choose to divvy up the rest of your income pie? Either it’s in alignment with your values, or it’s not. If it’s not, I’m not judging or telling you to change. You just need to be aware of it and decide if that’s how you want it to be.


Please note that spending in accordance with your values is a long term strategy. It is not a short cut to bypass having a plan for your money. There are plenty of articles that will tell you not to worry about budgeting and just think about your values when you spend. "It will bring you joy to spend that way", they say. Pffft. Great in theory... but what happens when you start saying yes to every purchase because it feels in alignment? You will run out of money someplace else.


If you want a little guidance and support in getting your spending aligned with what’s most important to you, I’d love to chat. I offer 1:1 coaching with a program designed specifically to help figure out your relationship with money and get your goals and spending aligned.