Money matters

SO… I don’t spend money. Okay, big deal Kellie. Isn’t that what we all try to do? you might ask. Well, yes and no. I don’t spend money at all unless it’s something I absolutely need it; not just a want but an actual need: utilities, gas, food, etc. I  don’t spend spending money on clothing( more on that later), or going out. Here’s what I’ve learned about money: If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will tell you. I would rather say no to a night out and use that money to save or something I actually want to do. It’s not about having zero fun, but it’s all about having the power to say no and being intentional with the money you do have. You see, I would much rather go on a vacation than go out drinking. Now, if drinking is your thing, by all means, have fun, but to me, I place more value on a vacation than a drunken night. My money is in much better alignment with my values and principles.

Now, what I do may seem slightly crazy and you’d be right. I got tired of not knowing where my money was going each month and tired of never having the money when I wanted to go on a vacation or an outing. Now, I can. I choose to say no to things I don’t care about so I can say yes to things that matter and are important to me. At one point, I looked at my bank records and I had spent $800 on workout clothes without batting an eye. (Who does that?) It was then I decided not to buy any more clothes until I desperately needed an article of clothing, and then I challenged myself to see if I could find it second-hand before purchasing something brand new. It was hard not going “window shopping” when I knew full well my intentions. I avoided the mall, any clothing stores. If I did go, I would give myself a ten-minute time frame to get in and get out. I would only bring the exact amount of money I would need for a specific non-clothing item so I couldn’t purchase anything else. Guess what?… it worked!

My Closet isn’t overrun by fast-fashion. Now, it’s space for things that have value and I know I’m going to wear. Before, my closet was full of things I didn’t like but thought I was going to wear some day. I got rid of everything I hadn’t worn in a year, didn’t fit, was uncomfortable, too big, or too small. I finally had room to breathe. I could save time because I wasn’t wasting my time trying to see what I had. I have a new rule: if something comes in, something must leave. It’s a great way to balance out my closet and a navigation tool to help me decide if it’s really an absolutely need or just a want.

I have saved so much money in other areas too. I hardly eat out unless it’s for a special occasion, but I make homemade meals which are delicious, healthy, and cheap. I used to hate cooking until I realized how much money could be saved by eating at home. My most recent win in the kitchen was the homemade pumpkin, apple granola bars I made to replace the store-bought ones. I looked at the recipe and was shocked to see all these ingredients that shouldn’t be in a granola bar ( or maybe I’ve been ignorant in granola ingredients all this time) and decided to make them on my own. First, I didn’t want to pay five dollars for ten granola bars, and secondly, they weren’t even that healthy for me. They turned out amazing and I plan on making them again. I put many amazingly, delicious ingredients to fuel my body. My body is happy, my wallet is happy, and I’m happy.

Not spending money, forces you to become resourceful. Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, you begin to recycle them for different purposes. No longer do single-use items become practical. In fact, they are not only wasteful they more often than not are a drain on the environment and our wallets. By not eating out, you are forced to learn to cook and maybe, as I did, you’ll learn to love it. By not throwing out clothes you’ve worn once you get resourceful with how you wear an item. The things you have are functional, something you use weekly if not daily, and help improve your life. Mastering money has been such a beneficial goal and task for me to learn. It has seeped into other areas of my life including my spending habits, my time management, how I use my resources, it had affected the way I view and treat the environment, and many more.

Choose to master your money and choose to only buy things that will bring value to yourself and those who have made it. Part of our buying power is the ability to speak with our dollar. Our dollar is essentially a vote that tells companies what we are willing to buy. So, if everyone suddenly decides that there is no longer a need for a certain product that industry would be forced to change the direction of the product or go out of business altogether. It is important that we make sure the items were are purchasing are from ethical companies. Companies who treat their workers well, give fair wages,  have safe working conditions, that value their employees, value the planet and its resources. By being intentional with the items were consume and purchase we put our money where our values are.