Financial Friday: Personal Value

by Der Etienne

It’s been an interesting week at our house.  We have been assessing our finances.  This is happening for various reasons but all our looking at spreadsheets and talking keeps bringing us back to this question:  What is most important to us?

What we choose to do with our money says a lot about who we are.  If a stranger opened your check book ledger right now what would they say is of greatest value to you?

If you were to look at my checkbook you would say that food is what is most important to us.  Food falls under the list of “essentials” (food, shelter, clothes)  so I am ok with that. Add in my son’s need for a special diet and the fact that my husband is a chef and I’m even less surprised!

Make a list of your top 3 spending categories. 

Mine are:
1. Food
2. Rent
3. Debt

Now what do these three things say about what you value?

For us our first two categories are life essentials.  Our debt is school debt so it reflects that we place a high value on education.

Now, make a list of your top 3 personal values.

Mine Are:
1. Faith
2. Family
3. Friendships

Put your two lists side by side.  Does your checkbook reflect your personal values?

For us:  I see our faith reflected in realizing that we are fed and sheltered, something we believe God always does for us.  I can also definitely connect life essentials to family.  But to have debt so far up on my checkbook values list does not really reflect my heart.

As I was doing this exercise I realized something:

I sometimes value financial freedom over my friendships.

The reason debt is so high on our list is  because we are trying to aggressively pay it off.  Any “extra” money goes straight to debt.  I think that paying off debt before it is due is a wonderful goal but is it taking priority over my friendships?

I am really sitting with this.  I have said no to doing things with friends for financial reasons.  Even if I don’t have the cash on hand I have failed to be 100% honest with those that I call friends as to why I am saying no thank you.  I could even take a step to offer an alternative activity.  If I call them friends they already accept me for who I am and where I am in life.

As I wrestle with this new discovery in my life what have you discovered about your life today? 

Does your checkbook reflect your personal values?  If it doesn’t what are you going to change?

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