True Self-Giving: Honest Desires Mean Wiser Spending

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Have you heard the philosophy that we are always provided for with what we need? I started to combine that way of thinking with the budget beliefs I was forming mid-recession, and you know what came out? Truth like fireworks.

What would you do?

What would you do if you knew that you would always be provided for with what you need? To be totally honest and wide open about it, I would buy an awesome pair of designer jeans every three months, and a James Perse shirt. Maybe a new pair of shoes every now and then. I would eat a raw diet (they take more time and money than I have now to prepare), and I would be set.

What I discovered in my desire is that I would be decadent with what I gave myself in terms of food, clothes, and material items, but they would be fewer, and higher quality.

What I further discovered is that budgeting is about making different spending decisions, not just cheaper ones. Nurturing yourself in the middle of crunching the cash flow means being completely honest about what you really want, and not whether you can afford it, but what it means to you, and then how you can afford it.

I am sensitive to idea that it’s a middle class problem to be deciding whether I want designer jeans. But to me, we can have this conversation at many income levels. The point is to define what truly nurtures you, and then prioritize how to move in incremental ways toward that nurturing. The point is to steer clear of spending on cheap stuff you don’t like, merely because it is cheaper. If you are spending just to spend, but are doing it at a cheaper place, it doesn’t make sense, financial or otherwise.

Beauty queen on a budget.
On the other hand, if you are saving and saving, until you can afford to spring for that one pair of jeans that makes you feel like a beauty queen, and makes you want to toss every other pair of pants you own into the Goodwill bin, you are understanding the value of your dollar and your desire. And it also sounds like you’re budgeting. Good on you.

The point is also this. I may not even get the jeans. But I know what I want. And I’d rather be honest with myself, and not go fill my closet with things I don’t like.

Despite my luxury desires, I still shop inexpensive. I just make darn sure I don’t buy what I don’t love, no matter how cheap it is. You know what I really love? My $4 shirt from Old Navy. But I love wearing it with my Converse shoes and gold earrings, when I feel true to my own sense of style, even if I’m never buying anything.

On that note, try reinvigorating your closet by sharing clothes with your girlfriends. You’ll feel rich. And saving by sharing may get you one step closer to those things you love. What would you do or get or be if you knew you would always be provided for? 

Originally published on GreenSherpa


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