3 tips for spending according to your values

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Finding ways to maximize what you can do with your income is an important part of money management. While it’s easy to assume this means sticking to strict budgets, improving your finances doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop buying unnecessary products altogether – you just need to make sure that you avoid frivolous and senseless spending so that you have room for purchases that you really love and care about.

Of course, not every purchase needs to have meaning, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of impulse buying for instant gratification that you won’t even care about after a short period of time. All that money can really add up and before you know it, you won’t have enough money for the experiences and things you really enjoy.

“Spending on your values ​​means making choices that reflect what’s important to you,” says Maia Monell, co-founder and chief growth officer of Nav.it app. “It means investing in the things that will bring you joy, satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and purpose.”

Keep in mind that spending money based on your values ​​may look different for everyone. For a person, making a satisfying purchase may mean splurging on higher quality ingredients because cooking a great meal is their favorite part of their day. For someone else, that might mean paying a premium for sustainable fashion items because they like supporting businesses aimed at helping the environment.

The ROI of a value-based purchase isn’t always tangible – sometimes it’s more about gaining knowledge, having a stronger sense of community, or using your creativity. It’s important to distinguish between the things you enjoy buying and the ones that just eat up your cash.

“Spending money on things you’re not interested in can mean you’re missing out on opportunities and experiences to invest in the things that really matter to you,” says Monell.

Below, Select shares some of Monell’s top tips for making sure you’re spending money with your personal values ​​in mind.

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1. Have an idea of ​​your values

“The first step is to clarify what matters most to you,” Monell says. “It can range from family to travel to financial security. Once you know your values, you can start making choices that reflect them.”

For example, if being with family brings you the most joy, the amount you spend on family activities may be more than what you spend on other areas like shopping or personal care. And if health and fitness are the most important parts of your day-to-day life, it makes sense that you spend more money on higher-quality groceries or exercise expenses, like a gym membership. or personal training.

Your values ​​may also change depending on the stage of life you are in. Personally, when I was living at home with my parents, I enjoyed spending the most money on traveling and having dinner with friends. Now that I having my own apartment, the purchases that make me happiest tend to center around home decor and anything to make my space more comfortable.

This makes sense considering that I spend the majority of my day in my apartment and therefore want to improve the place where I work, study, eat and relax – it’s important to me that the things I buys improve my experience at home.

If you want to clarify your values, a good place to start is to think about the kinds of experiences you enjoy, the kinds of indulgences you enjoy, and the ways you seek to improve your day-to-day life.

2. Track your expenses

It can also be helpful to track your progress and make sure you’re actually sticking to the ground rules you’ve set for yourself. The best way to do this is to create a budget or spending plan to know exactly where your money is going.

“Once you have a budget, start tracking your actual spending to see how well you’re sticking to it,” Monell says. “This can be done using a simple spreadsheet or even a notebook. Keep an eye on your progress so you can make any necessary changes.”

Tracking also makes it easier for you to notice if you’re still spending too much money on areas that aren’t meaningful to you. This way, you can take steps to reduce or completely reduce these expenses.

Select ranked on mint app as the best free budgeting app because it easily connects to your bank and credit card accounts and automatically categorizes your transactions for you, although users can also manually change these categories if needed. YNAB (you need a budget) is another solid option for those who want to make sure they’re giving every dollar a job to ensure you’re getting the most out of every paycheck.


Information about Mint was independently collected by Select and was not reviewed or provided by Mint prior to publication.

  • Cost

  • Standout Features

    Shows income, expenses, savings goals, credit score, investments, net worth

  • Categorize your expenses

    Yes, but users can modify

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank cards and credit cards

  • Availablity

    Available in the App Store (for iOS) and Google Play (for Android)

  • Security functions

    Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication and Touch ID mobile access

You need a budget (YNAB)

Information about You Need a Budget (YNAB) was independently collected by CNBC and was not reviewed or provided by YNAB prior to publication.

  • Cost

    34-day free trial then $84 per year or $11.99 per month (students who provide proof of enrollment get 12 months free)

  • Standout Features

    Instead of using traditional budgeting buckets, users allocate every dollar they earn to something (known as a “zero-based budgeting system” where no dollars are wasted). Every dollar is assigned a “job”, whether it’s to pay bills, savings, investments, etc.

  • Categorize your expenses

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank cards and credit cards

  • Availablity

    Available in the App Store (for iOS) and Google Play (for Android)

  • Security functions

    Encrypted data, accredited data centers, third-party audits and more

3. Allow yourself to be flexible

Whenever you make changes to the way you manage your money, remember to give yourself a little grace, because making lasting changes takes a lot of patience and practicality. There may be times when you are tempted to revert to your previous drinking habits or find yourself in certain social situations where it is easier said than done.

“Remember, your spending should align with your values, but that doesn’t mean it has to be perfect,” Monell says. “If you make a purchase that’s not quite within your budget, don’t worry. Just try to think about why you made that decision and if and how you can improve next time. Donate give yourself permission to be imperfect, and congratulate yourself on your efforts to improve.”

Check out Select’s in-depth coverage at personal finance, technology and tools, The well-being and more, and follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

About Valerie Wilson

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