The good news, as your money coach I’m not here to tell you not to spend, in fact I intend to share how to spend, with intention in two easy steps.
I’ve run two group coaching workshops this week and absolutely loved listening to so many different money stories.
What struck me was that over half of the people I spoke to said their biggest money pain was spending, or rather spending on things they didn’t need or want or hadn’t budgeted for. They also all expressed the same feelings of post-purchase guilt or regret along with a sense that spending was somehow ‘wrong’.
I’ll delve into the emotional drivers behind unplanned spending another time because today I want to challenge this ‘spending is wrong’ myth.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending your money. In fact I’d go as far as to argue that money is meant be enjoyed and spent.
The Two Keys to Intend to Spend
So this isn’t a green light to logon to ASOS or Amazon and add everything to your basket, but it is a reframing approach to free you to enjoy what you buy. The trick is to spend on the right things, at the right time and the two keys to this intention are Time and Purpose.
First let’s look at Purpose
Purpose is simply a reason, what is the reason for this spend? But that’s not quite enough, your purpose has to be toward a goal, it has to be an intention and that intention has to be valuable to you.
So the starting point is to identify What is important to you.
Start big with this exercise! What are your values? What are you aiming for? What is valuable to you that is worth you using your money toward? What are your dreams, big, small and in between? What brings you joy, real joy? What are the most important things for you?
For me ‘Raising my family up’ is a huge cornerstone Value.
My Goal attached to this Value, is to create spend that supports my three children to become self-sufficient, grounded adults who can confidently step-forward and achieve their full potential with joy.
This doesn’t mean I buy everything for them and bail them out… absolutely not! Ask any of them! They are expected to use their own skills and potential for that.
However, I will spend on meeting them part way on their education, matching their own efforts for saving and investments. Treating each of them to a long weekend exploring together or a self-development book, subscription or course.
This spend has a clear Purpose and is firmly anchored to my Family Value.
Now I create a very deliberate spend (and save) plan so I can delight in spending on this purpose.
Take some time to consider how important the following are to you Family, Health, Career, Spirituality, Self-Care, Personal Growth, Wealth, Social-circle.
Score those, and any other you think of, out of 10 and then prioritise them so you know which are most important to you.
Now add goals to each of your key values, as I did in my family example.
If self care or health is high on your Value list then your goal maybe to make a quarterly trip to the spa, hairdresser or annual yoga retreat.
Where personal development is a key value and maybe you love Tech, make space to buy the courses or kit that enriches and enhances your experience of life.
For those where family time is your North Star include a goal to create those memories and spend time together.
But plan to spend on those and stop spending on items that don’t support those goals.
Now let’s add Time
The chances are your monthly income isn’t going to fund ALL of your value based goals in any single month so we need to wrap your goals in a time plan.
We’ve looked at the idea of saving to spend before to ensure the ‘must haves’ are met and then begin saving for a later time to spend, so you are free to enjoy, relish, share and smile about it.
For each of your new goals ask yourself ‘When do I plan to spend this!?’ ‘How much will I need by then?’ And set that timeframe to that goal. Each purpose will have a different time line depending on when you want it, how much you’ll need for it and how important it is to you.
It could be a house deposit for your future home, a larger pension for a much earlier retirement, regular short term pots for social love and life or building a contingency fund. It’s yours and only you can decide.
Now apply it
Create your savings spaces around these value-goals so when you spend you know you can, because you’ve allocated it for that very purpose.
Sense check your spending, before you commit to a purchase or a late-night shop ask yourself:
Does this Spend take me Nearer to at least One my value-goalsSpending sense check
If the answer is No, don’t buy it. Don’t let your money go toward something that is not valuable to you and away from something that is.
If the answer is Yes, and it doesn’t compromise the monthly necessities or higher priority goals, then that is your green light to intend to spend.
Direct your money to what you truly value, so you can enjoy the result that spending your money brings. Intend to spend, with purpose – on the right thing, at the right time.