Reflect

Week 3 | GB 201: Budget With a Why

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What does your mirror say about you?

In the first step of our budgeting process, we looked in our money mirrors. Maybe something about your spending, saving, or giving surprised you. Or it caught your eye. Now let’s go deeper — and see how our habits reveal what’s important to us. To do that, we need to step outside of ourselves for a bit.

We asked Karisa to imagine what someone else might notice if they looked in her mirror. She said:

“If someone else saw my spending, they would say, ‘Wow. She spent a lot on clothing. She must put a lot of value into appearance, having the latest styles, or the excitement of buying a new piece of clothing.’

“And I would say, they’re actually close to being right. There’s something fun about buying a new piece of clothing that I really enjoy. For me it’s a creative outlet. It’s a way to express my personality.”

That’s pretty insightful. Karisa pinpointed why she likes buying clothing by looking at her money mirror from another person’s point of view. For her, what’s important is being creative and expressing her personality. texct

Okay, now your turn! If your mirror’s a little foggy, take a step back and imagine it through someone else’s eyes.

  1. If someone else were to look in your money mirror, what would they see?
  2. What might the other person guess is important to you?
  3. How would you explain to them what’s important to you?

Share your reflection. Comment below!

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17 thoughts on “Reflect”

  1. If someone looked at our mirror, they would see that our mortgage payment is high and that the largest spending category after our bills is Home Improvement. They would guess that our house is very important to us.

    My husband and I just got married, and now that we’re budgeting off of two incomes, we’re trying to pay off the house quickly. We’re still working on making the house a home so we purchased a desk for the office, some plants, a new faucet to replace the leaky one, etc.

  2. My kids and my grandkids. That’s where my money goes. But I’ve entered full steam ahead into a moderate mid-life crisis. So I’m spending money on myself for the first time in my life. My wife kicked me out last June and never relented so I decided to do me unabashedly and unashamedly. Before when I did my own thing it was passively aggressively dragging my feet and digging in my heels to avoid being dragged in a direction I didn’t want to go. Now I’m walking, jumping, skipping, and flying in directions of my own choosing. Budgeting has become important in that I have to figure out how to use my limited (but decent) income to accomplish as many of the things I want to do as possible. It’s also for me an exercise in deciding what I can do without in lieu of something better. I spent $1,000 on fast food and restaurants in January. I don’t look back in January and reminisce about the great time I had. In February I spent $1,000 on a cruise (my first real vacation at age 49 other than going out of town to visit friends or relatives) and another $1,000 on a mental health seminar. I look back on both of those as seminal moments and think about what I learned and experienced almost daily. Indentifying my values and having the courage to put my money where my heart (and overcome habit/addiction oriented spending) has been improved my outlook on life 10-fold. I’m currently working on my first home purchase.

  3. Charles, I was really impressed reading your story. I never thought of it in terms of looking back and seeing if I even remember what I spent money on that month. $1000 on fast food vs. $1000 on precious memories and improving yourself. What an eye-opener. Thank you for sharing.

  4. This week I learned that my paying for my ex’s dogs’ food and even a vet visit were not just selfless acts. I can admit that I thought everything would balance out, and, in financial terms, it did ultimately. However, the term ‘codependent’ hit home as the term for my behavior. I put his needs before my own. I paid money for his dogs when: 1) he had plenty and should have paid for them, 2) I was not thinking directly of myself and saving for my own needs first and foremost.

    If another person looked in my money mirror, they might think that I was being romantic and thoughtful (as I once did), or they might see that I took a dangerous personal financial risk.

  5. People would look in and see that my wife and I love taco bell because it’s cheap and flavorful, that my wife also loves vanilla Iced coffee from Chick-fil-a because it keeps her alive, and you would also see that we spend more on diapers than we do on our rent because we don’t like poop all over the house. 3 Kids under 3. 🙂

  6. We spend a lot money on eating out too. Almost 3 times a week. I would say because I value having family time. Getting out of the house. Taking a break from the day to day of messy house and dishes. It’s a real treat to be able to sit and have someone serve you delicious food. I miss my parents since they divorced and went their separate ways. We used to have healthy delicious home cooked dinners together every single night and told me I didn’t need to go out with friends for a good time. I had them.
    Well, now I don’t and am always hungry and looking for that same family togetherness. And will pay for it.
    A little sad.
    Someone else would say we spend too much on food. To me, food is love. And sometimes this mom is tired after working full time and wants to not have to scrub pots and pans every single day just to go to bed and do the same thing over again.
    It’s lonely.

    • Quality family time is so precious! I hear you on how it can be tiring to work all day and then come home to either cook and clean or make the choice to eat out while keeping an eye on spending.

  7. Most of our money, apart from the mortgage, goes to eating out, my wife’s spending on clothes, and me spending on books.

  8. Someone looking at my spending would say that I like shopping. Most of my spending is on shopping for my home, clothes for the family. It seems that I enjoy taking care of my home and my family, entertaining them with streaming games and movies. And I do. That’s interesting.

  9. People would think i have wasted money on frivolous spending because i have so much debt- that is 25% true but the bulk of my debt has come from medical emergencies where I have had to max out credit cards and struggle now to pay them off.

  10. My husband and I started the envelope system when we were in our early 20’s and told ourselves never to have credit card debt and pay off our home once was bought quickly. We are now in our 60’s and hav been blessed with that early learning. If the money was not available, oh well, our kids did not need and neither did we. Since we are down to one income at this point as 1 is retired, we needed to get back in the saddle to see what our spending looked like. We sat down and did our budget together for 4 days in the envelope system on line. BY THE WAY, much easier as actual money is not used like we did in our 20’s. We have done for 1 month now and were surprised at what the groceries and the gasoline cost, but we were spot on for this time period. We have all the envelopes set up and did say to ourselves how nice to see what our money is being spent on and what is not necessary and what is necessary. We changed on the second month envelopes amount and will work on this system again to curb our spending and continue to save more for travel, emergencies, and grandchildren.

  11. I’ve done my share of frivolous spending for no rhyme or reason. Shoes and purses are my obsession. Time to set up a yard/garage sale; will do that in the Spring. That’ll bring in additional cash to put towards my goals or paying off a credit card. I’ve got to get real here since I want to buy a house of my own. Can’t do this on the current income/expenses cycle. Too much credit card debt. I was scammed out of $1150, so had to resort to my credit cards to survive. That money was going to be used for rent/pet deposit, utilities deposit and just general setting up from a move recently. It was a nightmare. One step forward, two steps back. I have yet to recover from that little ordeal. Oh well, at least I wasn’t hit with identity fraud. I’m keeping my eye on that light at the end of the tunnel, metaphorically speaking. But I also have to learn from my mistakes in order to move forward.

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