Intentional Spending? Happier self? Okay, Let’s talk about finances.
If there’s really one thing I’m highly passionate about, it is money! HAHAHA Isn’t that obvious? TEKA LAAAANG, don’t judge me.
I’ve always see myself as the street-smart-hustler especially when it comes to making the most of my money. I’m very practical. Anything that comes free, I take advantage of it and anything that helps me save money (and energy and time), I do it.
I’m DEFINITELY not cheap. I care about value. If I were to choose between quality over quantity, I will always choose BOTH. Hahahaha! Yes. Why choose when you can have both?
Frugality is an art that I (believe I’ve) mastered over time. Living alone with bills to pay that’s almost equal to my income, I must explore, be creative, and resourceful so I can still live the life I want while fulfilling my responsibilities as an adult.
I tried to strategize and get stricter with my budget but turned out to be very depressing on my part. I realized that depriving myself isn’t likely to help. After all, we are in this world to enjoy life and the fruits of our labor; so instead, I recommend a different, more intentional way of looking at spending decisions.
It is TO ASK YOURSELF what your non-negotiables are – to know your core values. Then aligning these to your goals and choices so that money-saving and spending decisions can feel easier, better, and more meaningful.
Here’s how to approach it.
CREATE A WISHLIST / “THINGS TO BUY” LIST
To be intentional with your purchases, you first need to automate your decision-making process.
List down the things/ items you wanted to avail/ buy. (This is not your usual grocery list/excel sheet which you probably already have. This is the in-depth, ultra-practical way to approach intentional spending.)
In this list, put the cost of the item, the date you listed it, the impact of this purchase into your life, your value in which this is in line with, and if there’s an alternative option for this item (optional)
The idea is to make sure that whatever it is you want to spend on is something you thought twice about and not just acted upon impulse.
You don’t want to purchase the item unless it has been sitting on your list for at least a week. Consider waiting for at least 7 days to see how you feel. That’s why it is important to record the date on which you decided to buy this item because sometimes we get too excited about the idea of buying something new and then we regret it later. A great way to avoid this is to wait 7 days before making your purchase. This provides you with some time to think over your purchase and avoid making impulsive purchases.
Just like when I had this strong urge to buy a vacuum after reading positive reviews on Home Buddies. (*ehem*) I added it to my cart and just a month after, I realized it wasn’t something I really needed. I’m already satisfied with my walis tambo. It is cheap and already does the work – plus I don’t need to worry about my electric bill. Good thing, I didn’t follow on my impulse.
It’s often surprising how some time and space to think over a purchase will make it clear what you really want or need and what is not.
Next is to ask yourself how this purchase is going to impact your life. On a scale of 1-10 (10 as the most significant), will this be beneficial to you or your family? Will this make life easier, will this experience add up precious memories, and will this contribute to my growth / overall wellness? Honestly assess why you want to buy it in the first place. Is it because you have carefully considered it and know it will add value to your life?
Being able to choose whichever purchases link to your top values is going to be very helpful to see which things will bring you the most fulfillment in your life.
For example, if relationship and travel are one of your top values, then booking an overnight staycation in Boracay for you and your hubby would probably be a better use of your money than dining in a fancy restaurant or buying the latest iPhone model.
So basically, if you are spending in line with the things you value most in life, you’re going to be a happier person 🙂
And lastly, you may also consider other options. Imagine if this item is no longer available wherein literally you can’t find it anywhere or it is no longer for sale in any shape or form. What will you do? Can you DIY it? Can you get it second-hand, borrow it from someone, or maybe rent it instead? This will prompt you to be more resourceful and creative. Who knows, you can be saving lots of money from thinking outside the box.
KNOW YOUR STYLE
Discovering your personal style is a vital first step in moving towards a CAPSULE wardrobe that doesn’t break the bank. Making a mood board that follows a color scheme/palette is a fantastic way to start. This is also applicable in choosing appliances or decors for your home. #TeamPuti #TeamKahoy #HomeBuddies
Make time to gather inspiration from Pinterest, magazines, and movies, etc. Find what speaks to you! This process helps to separate the styles you admire from the styles that actually work for you. Don’t buy it just because it looks cute. Ask yourself: Does it go with my current style; does it fit my color scheme? Is it comfortable to wear; does it require less maintenance? There’s a huuuuge difference between styles that you admire and styles that you would actually wear or use. When you know your personal style and wardrobe well, you’re equipped to be more intentional and on budget when out shopping.
When you’re done with this self-evaluation process, go through your closet, storage, cabinets and start decluttering. Figure out what items you want to keep – that follow your (again) current “personal style” and put those back. Now for the fun part. Sell off those items you want to get rid of… Not only you earn extra cash, but you will also have a tidier or better-organized home. Take that money and use it to pay down debts!
But if you’re a fashionista with a wardrobe full of color, pattern, and texture then you may opt to do thrift/ ukay ukay shopping or clothes swapping without hurting your wallet and harming the planet. While vintage can get pricey depending on where you go, thrift shops always have budget-friendly items, and swapping with friends is completely free! You can even shop secondhand from the comfort of your own home.
SHAPE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
- Pay with cash
Try using cash when you make purchases instead of a debit or credit card. It can often feel harder to hand over cash to pay for something, than simply swiping a card.
- Don’t get yourself a credit card
The typical credit card charges 16.4 percent — not paying off your balance in full each month can end up costing a fortune in the long run. Credit card companies make it incredibly easy to spend money that you don’t have.
- Don’t bring a wallet on short walks
Hahaha, this may be an extreme one but hell yeah this one really works! I remember last time I went jogging at Estancia, I didn’t expect to see a night market there. I was tempted to reward myself with a quick snack. Good thing I purposely left my wallet so I can’t get distracted and unconsciously spend money on the things I don’t even need.
- Order online
Buying online is often more convenient, can lead to larger discounts due to referral, coupon codes, cashback programs, cash rewards, free shipping, etc., and often costs less simply because you don’t have to pay the taxes that you would at a physical store. It is also easy to compare prices from different sellers, too. Research also shows that consumers spend significantly more per visit in-store than online.
A recent First Insight Report found that 71 percent of all shoppers surveyed spent $50 or more when shopping in-store compared to only 54 percent of respondents spending more than $50 when shopping online.
- Prepare meals at home
Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than eating out. The downside, of course, is the time and labor. If you’re not confident with your cooking skill, you can always go for simple, inexpensive, but healthy tasty meals.
No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy extra hours to add up to your day. Our time here on Earth is limited so you might as well put your time, money, sweat, and tears into something you actually care about and would give you fulfillment in the long run.
Have a “happiness budget” set aside for things that either make you feel the best in your day-to-day or just for things that you simply enjoy the most. These are expenses that help you attain the “flow”.
Take, for instance, last week, after more than 3 years, I finally got myself a high-speed WIFI connection. Many frugal-minded experts like me would advise myself to just save that money and instead continue taking advantage of the free wifi in the office ( lol I hope no one in the office gets to read this hehe ) or just use a decent amount of mobile data for much less money. But to me, that PHP 1000 a month is an investment for my own happiness. INTERNET has a vital role in every content creator and having a HIGH-SPEED WIFI connection will really boost my productivity which will save me more time to spend with my loved ones.
Because of this, I woke up every day feeling inspired and motivated, and I knew that I can’t get the same kind of energy to work on my passion projects if I didn’t make this decision. This will not just make my life easier, it will also open up more income opportunities.
Anything that is valuable to you and that genuinely improves your quality of life is an investment for your own happiness, and that is worth spending on.
If you don’t prioritize your happiness, you’re likely to find that you’ve been filling your life with things unnecessary. So choose wisely where to put your money.
You only have one life. Live intentionally.
PS. Money doesn’t have to dictate how much you enjoy life.
Til next time.