Spending on what you love.

A couple weeks ago in church we had a talk about giving, by Keith Turner (who’s not the pastor or anything, he just had some awesome things to say). There were many interesting things mentioned, but one thing that really struck me was said in the closing. Basically, Keith said, you can look at your spending (he said “chequebook,” but “bank statement” also applies) to see what you really care about. Not what you’d like to think you care about, but what you actually prioritize for.

So then I looked at my bank statement mentally, and it was a bit– awkward. School– for me. Books– for me. Travel– for me. Food– for me. I’ve dropped thousands of dollars on *me* this year, and only a couple of hundred on anyone else.

But it goes further. Because what is money? Money is just an abstraction of time. To see what you truly value, look at where your time is being spent; both IRL time and pre-paid-time-as-represented-by-this-plastic-card-which-has-a-magnetic-strip-and-some-brand-names-on-it.

Once again, I come up pretty self-centred. It’s the Jasmine-and-stories show all day every day.

Maybe I should evaluate this more often.


4 thoughts on “Spending on what you love.

  1. It’s reasonable to expect your dollars to be skewed heavily toward yourself, so be careful about how you interpret the distribution–especially since money isn’t a perfect abstraction of time. Four days ago I spent $1.50 on a four hour coffee date with one of my best friends from Junior High. Last week I spent $25 on food and a movie with a friend. In either of those cases I could have foregone spending any money, stayed home, and instead bought a $25 (or $1.50) gift for them, but I believe that the more loving thing (and the better thing for our friendship) was spending the time, even if I’m not spending my money directly on them.

    Sure, I’d have loved to have done these things AND spent money on gifts for them, but if one is living close to the line it’s difficult to give too much away. It would in fact be wrong, I believe. So I’d be careful to allow that to be a major source of guilt. Certainly it’s worth evaluating from time to time–my bank statement in a word is ‘gluttony’–and I’ll confess that I don’t know much of what you’re doing with your time and/or money. I mean, maybe you are being inordinately self-centered and greedy, and maybe it’s worth changing that. But in my opinion, God’s influence rarely manifests as the feeling of guilt. That’s often someone else.

    • Er– good point. I mean, I am responsible to provide for myself, etc. So maybe I’ll dial back on the guilt trip. 😀

      The biggest thing was for me to realize when I look at all my money going out, very little of it was going anywhere other than MeMeMeVille. And the realization with the time factor was that I should be thinking of ALL my life when I evaluate how it’s going down. Just that small bit of thinking outside of the box kinda jolted me. I tend to leave out “necessities” when I’m thinking about how I spend.

      The biggest thing for me to realize was that I put such a low value on my time that I always assume that no one would want to accept my time unless it’s in an abstract, traded-for-goods way. And once I realized I was making that assumption, I realized it sounds like I’m overstating the case a bit.

      (Though, I’m liable to constant guilt (as distinct from regret) about nearly everything in my life. Living without it would be ODD.)

  2. I’m gonna agree with the above, and say that rather than decide “I need to massively overhaul my life,” what you can do is maybe look at little things here and there. Spending money on food and travel for yourself: not a big deal. But if you make a lot of little impulse purchases just for yourself, then look at whether you’re really enjoying those things. For example: I used to buy a lot of movies/TV shows, and when I lost my tech-industry salary, I re-examined those purchases and realized that you know, I can probably be pretty happy just watching the things I have, or what’s on TV, etc. I still spend money to go out to eat, often with friends, and I think that money is well spent. And I still travel and such, but a lot of that time is shared with friends as well.

    Mostly, I’m just echoing was Kenmore said above. 🙂 Keep an eye on it, make changes if you need to, but don’t be constantly stressing about it. And make sure you take care of yourself.

    • The point about the impulse purchases is a VERY good one, thank you. 😀

      One of the most eye-opening realizations I made this year, (and yeah, IS class kicked it off,) was how much of my spending habits I’d just been taking for granted. I got to where I was practically bleeding money. I think I have to for some reason, or that it’s outside my control. So I’ve been trying to THINK about where I’m spending my money, and the big lightbulb moment for me was that I should add time into the equation that I’m running as well.

      And thank you. 😀 I’ll try to.

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