“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
It’s one thing to talk about your financial priorities, but do they actually line up with reality? The proof is in the pudding. If you’re saving for a down payment but spend the majority of your disposable income on nights out, maybe you’re not quite ready to knuckle down yet. Or if you’re focusing on your health and wellbeing this year but resorting to fast food more often than not, it might be time to recalibrate.
While this crowd may not exactly be representative of the general population, I was curious to find out how a typical personal finance blogger decides how to allocate their cash. I asked a bunch of bloggers about where they choose to hold onto their dollars vs where they splurge; here’s how their replies shook out!
NEVER: I don’t buy lottery tickets anymore, after realising they contributed to my old ‘lottery mindset’ – where you hope that money falls in your lap without much effort. I don’t think like that anymore!
ALWAYS: I splurge on workout gear. Even though I workout at home
NEVER: Brand name products
NEVER: pedicures/manicures/anything I can do myself!
ALWAYS: things that keep me healthy mentally and physically like healthy food.
NEVER: monthly car payment
ALWAYS: workout classes and healthy food
NEVER: dental floss and toothbrushes – always ask for new ones at the dentist. 😉
ALWAYS: TRAVEL – like my recent purchase of ferry tickets to the end of the world.
NEVER: Coffee at shops( we make it at home) and designer clothing
ALWAYS: Travel! We budgeted >25% of our yearly budget after taking out savings for travel experiences
NEVER: Takeout- it’s so expensive and my husband cooks better
ALWAYS: Coffee beans! Can’t live without coffee
NEVER: I never spend money on jewelry, accessories, or my hair. My mom cut my hair when I was younger, and now my friends mom cuts my hair 1x per year
ALWAYS: I spend lots of money on gifts for others, mostly because I like concerts and festivals so I take them with me!
ALWAYS: Travel (won’t hesitate to buy a 1st class ticket if it’s a good deal)
NEVER: Anything fashion related or cars
ALWAYS: Experiences especially traveling to unique places. I will save up to go somewhere further away.
NEVER: Anything luxury that isn’t significantly better or more durable than its cheaper counterparts.
ALWAYS: Eating out and/or small trips
NEVER: I don’t pay for car washes! Living in the south make them more about vanity and less about vehicle preservation, so if it needs to be done I hose it off or barter for it.
ALWAYS: I will always splurge on drinking good coffee. Life is too short to choke down the bad stuff!
NEVER: Coffee, but mostly because I’ve never had coffee in my life.
ALWAYS: Helping friends. If they’ve got a book, a course, a fundraiser, whatever… I’m backing them or buying their product. (Not MLM products, but actual content/product they’ve made)
NEVER: We never spend $ on spa and massages
ALWAYS: We always splurge on food
ALWAYS: my kids
NEVER:We never pay for food delivery. Always go to pick up.
ALWAYS: We always splurge on date night once or twice per month.
NEVER: We never spend money on coffee (i.e. Starbucks, etc.)
ALWAYS: We will always splurge on food (we don’t dine out much, but when we do…)
NEVER: plastic bags at the grocery store!
ALWAYS: curly-girl friendly hair products! No sulfate, silicone or parabens for these locks
NEVER: I TRY not to spend an excessive amount of money on travel by using rewards points, etc.
ALWAYS: Coffee and baked goods haha
ALWAYS: Dairy Queen
You can see that my money follows my taste buds.
NEVER: I never spend $ on lottery tickets or cable tv.
ALWAYS: I’ll always spend $ on high quality food.
ALWAYS: Health or safety related things like dentist or tires
NEVER: I never spend money on things that don’t bring happiness to my life.
ALWAYS: Travel. My experiences have made me who I am today and I would spend it all on traveling if I could.
NEVER: cable. Since I moved out of my parents’ house, through uni, bachelor pad and struggling to established professional, never signed up for cable. I pay the full price for Netflix.
ALWAYS: cheese. No individually packaged, sliced cheese for me. Ever.
NEVER: owning a vehicle – $95/month for public transit vs. paying for a car, parking, gas, maintenance? couldn’t justify it!
ALWAYS: events – I find it tough to say no to an experience, especially if it’s with friends and especially if it involves live music
NEVER: new cars, designer clothes, etc.
ALWAYS: eating out.
NEVER: personalized license plates!
ALWAYS: gifts for friends who need a pick me up
NEVER: Designer clothing (unless thrifted)
ALWAYS: Baked goods (although I’m currently dairy-free so avoiding my vice outright)
Whew, a few themes definitely emerged through!
Travel, food, health & wellbeing and our loved ones shone through as areas where we won’t hesitate to open our wallets.
When it comes to expensive brands, cars, fashion, grooming, booze and coffee on the other hand, we prefer to pick the budget option or just say no.
No two people responded in exactly the same way and that’s the beauty of personal finance – how you choose to spend your money is entirely up to you. There’s no shortage of guidelines you can try to live by … but in the end you’ll be much happier following your own heart and values.