Today’s topic is how to spend money. More specifically: How to spend money so that you maximize your happiness in life.  

Of course, we all want to live with more joy. In the companion article (Core Values Budgeting) and today’s episode, Megan and Mike discuss how to actually do that.  

Remember that there is only ever spending: either now (expenses) or in the future (savings). These are the core of financial planning. Expenses are required to live with joy now and savings are required to meet your long-term goals. Every dollar you spend, you don’t save.

In this episode, we discuss an exercise that helps you understand what spending brings you the most joy. Cliff notes version:

  • Write down every type of thing you or your family spends money on.
  • Imagine that in one category you won’t be allowed to spend money ever again.
  • Cross it off and number it with a 1. This is the first item to go.
  • Repeat the process again and again with 2, 3, 4, etc. until you just can’t cut anything.
  • What is left is at the core of what supports your specific life and joy?
  • Protect your core spending and be ruthless at cutting the rest.

“You can afford anything, just not everything.”

Resources:

  • Crazy Rich Asians Series: What We Can Learn From The Millionaire Lifestyle of Astrid Leong – One of the wealthiest women in Singapore shopping for groceries at the supermarket with super-saver coupons while trying to purchase art for over a hundred million dollars.
  • How To Spend: Learn To Do Without – You can either live rich or you can be rich. Almost no matter how much money you make each year, there is someone spending every penny of a salary five times as great and someone saving more than you on a salary half as much. It takes diligence to keep spending low and saving high. I heard it suggested once, that if you want to develop a rich mindset, put a $100 bill in your wallet, take out your credit cards, and then practice not spending it.

“I want you to spend like you are the richest person in the world, a person who has so much happiness and balance in your life that you can’t imagine anything you could buy that would make you any happier.”

Megan Russell has worked in finance most of her life and is the Chief Operating Officer for Marotta Wealth Management. She has written over 700 financial articles and can be found at MarottaOnMoney.com.

Find more about Mike at https://www.mortonfinancialadvice.com and connect at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mwsmorton/

Transcript
Mike:

Welcome to financial planning for entrepreneurs and tech professionals I'm your host, mike Morton CFP.

Mike:

And today on the show we've got, Megan Russell is back.

Mike:

She is the chief operating officer at Marotta Wealth Management.

Mike:

She's written over 700 financial articles.

Mike:

I love saying that over 700 financial articles, you can find her on Marotta On Money, I feel like she's becoming a co-host here of the show, which is great to have her back.

Mike:

So Megan welcome so much for joining us again.

Megan:

Thanks for having me.

Megan:

Yup.

Megan:

I always like it.

Megan:

These Friday parties.

Mike:

Friday parties.

Mike:

So we're recording this on a Friday afternoon.

Mike:

It's always good to get to the end of the week.

Mike:

Although daylight savings this week is messing us up.

Mike:

So we'll try to stay on, on target here and try stay focused.

Megan:

Hopefully mentioning daylight savings, time dates, this podcast, and everyone will know, oh, that was back when it was the thing.

Mike:

Yeah, it was just reading about that, right?

Mike:

That the senate's passing some laws, we might just stay on this new time.

Mike:

But we'll see how it goes.

Mike:

So today, you might have seen from the title of the podcast, this is maybe a series of podcasts.

Mike:

We're thinking about how to spend.

Mike:

So thinking about your, I don't want to say the B word, the budget.

Mike:

I don't like that at all, but the way I usually say it is aligning your spending with your values to make sure you're getting the most enjoyment out of life and using your resources in this case, maybe dollars to really enjoy life.

Mike:

So this is gonna be a series on how to spend, how to avoid making bad mistakes, how to do things the right way for you and your family.

Mike:

And Megan has written over 700 articles and a lot of them are going to be on this topic.

Mike:

So we'll reference some of those articles as well in the show notes, but just thought it would be really fun conversation for us to have on spending habits and getting the most out

Megan:

And spending and saving are just such a core element of financial planning, because if you don't have savings, then you can't really support longterm goals.

Megan:

And so you have to not spend so that you can have some savings so that you can support those long-term goals, so Mike and I can't do anything with financial planning if you don't have any savings to work with.

Megan:

Cause what sort of plan would you have?

Megan:

And so everything really starts with how are you going to spend your money?

Megan:

Where are you going to spend your money?

Megan:

When are you going to spend your money?

Megan:

Because the goal in the end is to spend it.

Megan:

Just either spend it in the longterm or spend it in the short term, you got to spend it to have your goals happen.

Megan:

So the goal of everything that we do is spending money.

Megan:

So we're going to talk about how to do it well.

Mike:

What could be more fun than talking about how to spend money?

Mike:

So this is great.

Mike:

I love it.

Mike:

That's right I hadn't thought about it that way, Megan, that all of it is spending either now or in the future.

Mike:

And do you always think about that way in terms of the word savings is really future spending?

Megan:

That's like economists term would be deferred compensation, but the idea is you're going to wait and then you're going to use it later.

Megan:

And if you think about it as savings, it's hard sometimes to switch it into, okay, I've been saving it for a really long time and protecting it here in this nice, safe little retirement account, but the time has come for it to not be safe in the retirement account anymore.

Megan:

The time has come to spend it.

Megan:

And so it is helpful I think, to think about it as it's your future.

Megan:

This is your future spending that you're setting aside and we're going to let it grow real big so it can support a whole bunch of financial goals.

Megan:

But at some point it needs to turn into spending.

Megan:

Otherwise one you'll have an estate problem and two, you won't get to enjoy it.

Megan:

You worked really hard for all of that.

Megan:

Like you deserve to enjoy it at some point.

Mike:

Yes.

Mike:

This is an estate problem.

Mike:

That's okay.

Mike:

We can help you with...

Megan:

that estate problem.

Megan:

It's a very nice estate problem, but it's still...

Mike:

An estate problem and we want you to spend it.

Mike:

And we want you to enjoy your life and spend so, oh my gosh, yeah, I never really thought about that.

Mike:

So when we say to young people just starting out, maybe you want to save that if you can, 15% or 20% of your income for future spending, it's really spending a hundred percent, but we'll just spend some of those that 10 or 15 or 20% in the future right?

Megan:

When it's compounded and gotten really big.

Mike:

Yeah, yeah, hopefully that's cool.

Mike:

Okay.

Mike:

So I love that.

Mike:

So the first section here we want to talk about was really focusing.

Mike:

On healthy spending.

Mike:

And what do you mean by healthy spending?

Megan:

Yeah, so a lot of people, when they first start out trying to figure out where their savings are going to come from or what their budget is going to look like, they'll turn to, bloggers who are like, here's a budgeting hack, or like here's how much you should allocate to your food.

Megan:

And people will give all sorts of recommendations there.

Megan:

And the problem is that they're trying to take a cookie cutter and somehow create a joyful life out of it.

Megan:

And your life is going to have joy and goals and beauty that the cookie cutter is going to just chop out and you won't have that anymore.

Megan:

And, instead of cutting away the something that's your joy, you need to figure out what is this money for?

Megan:

What's it for today?

Megan:

What is it for in the future?

Megan:

What am I going to spend it on, and focus all of your spending and your saving and your budgeting around those concepts.

Megan:

So in order to turn that into something that's not so like philosophical think about that one day, but who knows if they'll actually come up with the solution into something that's more actionable.

Megan:

I came up with the concept of core values budgeting, which is where you write down every type of thing that you could or do spend money on and you don't want to be too vague, but you can be as specific as you want.

Megan:

So you could say gifts, you could itemize it down into Christmas gifts, anniversary gifts, , so you don't want to be too vague, but as specific as makes sense for your spending and for your habits.

Megan:

And then after you make that big list and you can start, if you want with the one that I have in my article, I've got a bunch of ideas there.

Megan:

But after you have that big list, you imagine that in one of the categories you've listed, you will never be allowed to spend again.

Megan:

It's a pretty big imagining, but you just imagine I'm never going to be able to buy a Christmas gift again.

Megan:

And you sit with that and you see how you feel.

Megan:

And you imagine as you go through the list, you imagine them.

Megan:

And as soon as you pick one that you're like that's not too bad that I could not spend money on that one.

Megan:

You cross it off and you write a one next to it, that's the first one to go.

Megan:

And you repeat the process again and again, you find number two, where's three where's four.

Megan:

What's the fifth one.

Megan:

You're going to cut it out.

Megan:

What's the 25th one you're going to cut out.

Megan:

You keep going until.

Megan:

What you're looking at are things that you just can't imagine a happy life without if you cut it, you're going to be so sad.

Megan:

It's going to be miserable.

Megan:

Like maybe I might cut out eating at home before I cut out eating out because I love eating out.

Megan:

I think it's really awesome.

Megan:

And I'm not thinking about how much it costs at this stage.

Megan:

Yeah, eating out costs a lot.

Megan:

My financial planner brains oh, I don't know if I want to eat out every day.

Megan:

But, in terms of joy, I do want to eat out every day.

Megan:

It's awesome.

Megan:

And I love it.

Megan:

And it's such a rewarding experience.

Megan:

So we're not thinking about how much things cost.

Megan:

We're not thinking about the practicality necessarily.

Megan:

You do have to somewhat think about it.

Megan:

Maybe don't cross out all of your food items but you know which is the one that you want to keep the most?

Megan:

What brings you the most joy?

Megan:

And after you've crossed it off and you found what's left, I call what's left your core budget.

Megan:

That's the core of your spending that supports your financial goals that supports the life you want to live.

Megan:

And so when you read any budgeting article, when you hear any budgeting hack, you protect your core, and you're ruthless with everything else.

Megan:

You can make, whatever cuts you want.

Megan:

You can decide, you're shopping, maybe you see some really cool necklace that you're like, oh, I want to buy this necklace, that's really cool.

Megan:

But you remember that jewelry was the fifth one to go.

Megan:

And so you think to yourself, you're skeptical of this purchase.

Megan:

You think to yourself, do I really need to buy?

Megan:

I don't need to buy that if I don't buy this.

Megan:

I can eat out and I like eating out and that's at the core of my budget.

Megan:

And so that's the concept there of core values budgeting.

Megan:

You cut out the stuff that you don't want as much yeah, you still like it, but it's not.

Megan:

It's the first to go and you leave your core intact.

Mike:

Wow.

Mike:

Okay.

Mike:

So much there.

Mike:

Thank you, Megan, for walking through both the philosophy and strategy, and then the, how we actually can implement this and try this out.

Mike:

So I have a few questions.

Mike:

If I can remember them.

Mike:

One, you started with the sort of cookie cutter, like we'll read some articles.

Mike:

So getting back to that idea oh, here's a budget you should use, or you should spend this percent, often it's presents like, oh, what percent of people spend in dining out?

Mike:

And I have this, the clients will come in and say, is there anything in my budget like that I'm really different than your other clients.

Mike:

And I was like, ah, does it matter?

Megan:

My answer might be like, I hope so.

Megan:

Like I hope you're spending differently than my other clients, because that would mean that you have joy that you're supporting with your budget, that's unique to you.

Mike:

That's right.

Mike:

But so many people get caught up in, am I spending the right amount based on these, you call them cookie cutter or budgets, or what is the averages we read all kinds of here's what the average American spends on X, Y, or Z.

Mike:

Am I within that range?

Mike:

And so my question there, is there any value in.

Mike:

In their process at all, or to participate in a little bit, or do you skip to like, maybe it's good news to read, but it doesn't really apply to your life.

Megan:

I think at the end of the day, the primary goal of budgeting is to make sure that your spending fits within your means, and that the amount of savings that you have supports the goals that you have in the future.

Megan:

So if you meet those requirements, it doesn't matter if somehow you've managed to eat out every day of the week, and made it all true.

Megan:

If you fit within your budget, you're eating out every day of the week, you're saving enough to support your longterm goals.

Megan:

It doesn't matter that you're eating out every day of the week and there's other people saving money, off cooking at home.

Megan:

So I think that in that sense, it doesn't really matter what the cookie cutter says.

Megan:

So long as you can make the math work of it fits within your means.

Megan:

You have the savings to support your longterm.

Megan:

You're good to go.

Megan:

You've got a, you've got a solid financial plan there.

Megan:

I think there can be help if you have no idea what your goals are.

Megan:

And you're just really struggling, I know when I first started spending money, as a kid, I had no idea what brought me joy in life and having a concept of, here's what normal people or the average person might spend on eating out or what the, budget blogger recommends I cook at home or what , this person recommends that I do with my clothing budget.

Megan:

I think that can be super helpful.

Megan:

So there's definitely a place for knowing what's the path most frequently taken.

Megan:

But at the end of the day, a joyful life is not forged by taking the common path.

Megan:

It's by creating the path that brings you joy.

Megan:

So I think in the long run, you want to have a budget that really, it just makes you so happy.

Megan:

Every dollar you're spending you think to yourself, that is a dollar well spent.

Mike:

A budget that makes you.

Mike:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike:

And I love, you know, a few things there.

Mike:

One you said when you're younger, maybe you got to try out different spending and see what brings you joy.

Mike:

I've got kids as well.

Mike:

And so I see this all the time and they're like, do you, I can't believe you're spending your money on that thing, are you sure?

Mike:

And yeah, they're just trying it out.

Mike:

They're like, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to try it.

Mike:

I'm going to get that.

Mike:

And so they're figuring it out.

Mike:

And even when you get know to that young adult stage, same thing, like figuring out, spending money, trying things, figure out what works for you and for your family.

Mike:

So that's really important to recognize that yeah, some of it, life is an experiment.

Mike:

Go for it, see how it feels.

Mike:

And I do focus a lot on that saying how did that feel for you?

Mike:

And sit with that for a minute and say, wow, like you said, that felt amazing.

Mike:

Or I could do without it, and we'll get back that kind of feeling during this exercise I just have some questions on as well.

Mike:

And the other thing I had a question, you mentioned the budget, as long as you're saving enough spending the right amount, saving the right amount for future spending.

Mike:

So spending it in the future I E saving, how do you think about, and that's a whole separate conversation and I don't want to dive into it, but just at a high level, how do you think of.

Mike:

That breakdown.

Mike:

Are you saving enough?

Mike:

Do you have to go through a whole financial plan or do you have rule of thumb in terms of that sort of overall budget?

Mike:

How do you think about that?

Megan:

There's definitely some rule of thumbs for the most common frequently tracked path.

Megan:

And the generic financial advice would be that you should save 15% of your take-home pay.

Megan:

That number is generated, assuming a working career between age 25 and age 65.

Megan:

So, that's where that math comes from.

Megan:

So if you're not doing exactly that career path, then it might require some math to figure out, should it be higher?

Megan:

Should it be lower?

Megan:

And then also there's the financial advice that you should save about 10% for unknowns.

Megan:

And that's the emergencies that your not thinking about, that aren't part of your joy.

Megan:

Like when your roof suddenly gets a giant hole in it and you need to put a new one on, I don't find joy in that spending, but I do find joy in having a roof.

Megan:

You got a budget for those that you don't know what's going to happen when your fridge breaks and all the food spoils, you gotta have something to save.

Megan:

You have to have something in savings to support that.

Megan:

And so generally about 10% is a good benchmark there, you might go higher or lower depending on how much risk for emergencies you have.

Megan:

But those are kind of the standard financial planning, cookie cutter suggestions, and a financial plan could tailor it a lot closer to, if you're saving for a down payment on a house, obviously that doesn't fit in either of those two buckets, it will require more savings to come on top of

Mike:

those...

Mike:

okay.

Mike:

And I like that too.

Mike:

And we can just leave it at that for now.

Mike:

We could dive into that future podcast or whatever people are interested in, but I like that, and this is not, because we're focusing, on joyful, healthy spending, the 15% that Megan just mentioned she didn't mention what you're saving or spending that on.

Mike:

Okay, but that does power, this idea, I just want to pause for a minute, 15% powers, if you work from 25 to 65, in your current lifestyle and it grows over time and family and all that.

Mike:

And you save for future spending 15% throughout that time, then you should be okay.

Mike:

Quote, unquote, should be good for, being able to retire and continuing that semi that lifestyle.

Mike:

So we're not saying what you're spending the money on, but that is, so it is a good rule of thumb to at least get started because that's how the mathematics workout in that case, it's all, it's a lot of just math, straight up math...

Megan:

Yeah.

Megan:

And the scenario where you're, really like me you really enjoy eating out, it means that by saving 15% over your working career, after age 65, you can continue to eat out every day of the week.

Megan:

That would be the idea.

Megan:

So whatever is your joy now, the 15% is there to support it, after you step away from your work.

Mike:

And quick question, you mentioned 15% of your take home pay.

Megan:

That's right.

Megan:

So that's after your taxes have come.

Mike:

So take a look at that 15%.

Mike:

Okay.

Mike:

Now I want to get to how we're focusing on the healthy spending, you walked us through the idea that you categorize all your spending that you did last year, or you're thinking about doing and , let me ask this, how many categories I know you said don't get too granular, but get granular enough.

Mike:

How many categories would you say you should aim for.

Megan:

How many categories should you aim

Mike:

for?

Mike:

How many line items, you mentioned, cause we're going to start, we're going to start crossing them off.

Mike:

So we're probably more than 10.

Mike:

I'm guessing so many.

Mike:

Okay.

Mike:

So where are we.

Megan:

I did it, I was, I filled a piece of paper, so it was just, columns and columns filled of piece of paper and and just went crossing so that when I did it, it was, I went probably more granular than my article was and and just went crossing.

Megan:

You just want to make sure that you really know what's important to you.

Megan:

And I found the exercise very enlightening and it's not as important what's first versus second, what's really important is what are the ten to go, what are the next 10 to go?

Megan:

So if you're like I don't know.

Megan:

Should I cross off movie tickets next?

Megan:

Or should I cross off media subscriptions?

Megan:

Just cross them both off and put numbers next to them

Mike:

and keep going.

Mike:

I can't do it without my media subscriptions.

Mike:

We're in a pandemic.

Mike:

Right?

Megan:

Keep it.

Mike:

All right.

Mike:

So now I can see we're talking quite a piece of paper full of stuff.

Megan:

That's when I did it, I think any level though is helpful.

Megan:

So even if you want to be like entertainment, you could clump it together.

Megan:

And then at the moment when you're like I would cross off entertainment, except I don't want to lose Netflix.

Megan:

Just add Netflix to the list, cross off entertainment and give it a number.

Megan:

So you don't have to start with the granularity if you don't want to, you could start with big budgeting categories.

Megan:

And when you're realizing how you're feeling, make note of it and acknowledge what the complexity was.

Mike:

Yeah, two quick points, love that.

Mike:

I'm also thinking for myself, like looking backwards over the last year would be a good exercise as well.

Mike:

A lot of my clients find that value of oh, I didn't know all these things I spent money on.

Mike:

So I can see that just as I'm writing on a piece of paper, all the categories I could look backwards and add more oh yeah, I spent money on this on spent money on that.

Mike:

So that would be helpful in terms of writing things out.

Mike:

And then I love the way you said.

Mike:

How does that make you feel?

Mike:

Which is where you start it with.

Mike:

When you're thinking about what you're going to cross off, think about how you would feel if you never got to spend money on that category.

Mike:

And that's really important.

Mike:

And I use the word feeling a lot because we get in our heads about thinking, oh, this is how life would be, and this would be fun, or this would be bad or good or whatever, but try to imagine yourself in that future situation and then feel, how you would feel and that I find to be very illuminating.

Megan:

Yeah.

Megan:

And a really tricky one for a lot of parents is when you're getting to the childcare line on your budget.

Megan:

Cause most of us have a disgruntled relationship with childcare where it's super important.

Megan:

Our kids are super important to us.

Megan:

They're one of our biggest values.

Megan:

But then at the same time, it's like childcare costs a lot of money.

Megan:

And it's not always everything that you want it to be.

Megan:

And it feels like sometimes you're paying money that you're not really capturing the reward that you were hoping you'd get out of it and things.

Megan:

So some of us parents have a mixed relationship with our childcare budget.

Megan:

But when you get to childcare expenditures, imagine what it would be like if you couldn't spend money on childcare.

Megan:

So that might mean that one of you stays home that might mean that you have to move closer to family.

Megan:

It might mean that you were swapping childcare with a neighbor, and just imagine how you're feeling and it will help you find where to put it in your, is it so deep in the core, maybe it'll help, your relationship with your childcare become stronger and healthy and like happy about it.

Megan:

Or maybe it's actually closer to the edge.

Megan:

And you're realizing like, this is a really large expense that I have that I actually do have another solution for, I have a way that I might be happy.

Megan:

And so even when you're doing the exercise, you might find something that you feel is non-negotiable.

Megan:

You actually find ways that it may be is more negotiable.

Megan:

And just because you put childcare either at the core or on the outside, it doesn't mean you have to immediately change your spending.

Megan:

There's later we'll talk about budgeting, hacks and how to find savings in your budgeting categories.

Megan:

But this first step is just to figure out what are the things that are working so well, and you're so happy about, and you want to keep doing that we're really budgeting for like we're making this budget so you can keep those.

Megan:

And what are the things that are less important to you personally, that we could use as to find savings to fuel the rest of your budget.

Megan:

And so it doesn't matter where it lands at this point for how you're going to find savings or not find savings, but it can be helpful to sit with those feelings and figure out which one it really lands in.

Megan:

And there'll be some difficult ones.

Megan:

I find childcare is one for a lot of people where you'll really have to sit with it and figure out how you really feel.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

Oh my gosh.

Mike:

So much in there, I love the sitting with these and some of them will be big items, so you mentioned, that you can also break them down.

Mike:

So that childcare might be, I was thinking it might be broken down like, oh, this, you know, maybe it is, preschool and before school or after school or the younger kid or the older kids, or the summer camps.

Mike:

There's lots of different pieces to childcare, and so some of them might bring you a lot of value and joy oh really, my kids love this and I love this and that's great.

Mike:

And other ones like you said, I'm not so sure.

Mike:

And um, you don't have to decide right away, just even pausing and saying I'm not so sure is so great.

Mike:

Now you're building awareness in aligning your spending with your values for your whole family.

Mike:

And some of them will be difficult and sit with that and say, is there another solution?

Mike:

I often find that we're not talking dollars, I love you mentioned that we're not talking how many dollars is it, what will I save?

Mike:

Or what am I spending?

Mike:

It's just literally, is this a right category of expenses that brings our family and brings me joy in my life.

Megan:

And you're not looking at it in isolation.

Megan:

So it's not childcare joy, not joy.

Megan:

It's which one brings you more joy buying jewelry or your childcare?

Megan:

So you're looking at it all in comparison to the other things still left on your budget.

Megan:

What brings you more joy?

Megan:

The haircuts or the childcare?

Megan:

We know which one's more expensive.

Megan:

Everybody knows which one's more expensive, so that's not, we're not in debate there.

Megan:

Do you have a child?

Megan:

Yeah, that's true.

Megan:

But there will be one that's more expensive, but it's not about that.

Megan:

It's which one would you get rid of first?

Megan:

And which one would you keep?

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

So as you've gone through this exercise, either personally, or with some some clients or some friends, was there anything that you really found you weren't expecting, as you went through this, something that surprises you or something that you found interesting.

Megan:

When I did it personally, I found that gift giving was really important to me and I was not fast to get rid of the gifts.

Megan:

I hung on to them a long time through the process.

Megan:

And I knew that gift giving like generically, I knew that it brought me joy and I knew that I really liked getting gifts for people, but I didn't realize how many things I was willing to sacrifice before I was willing to sacrifice gift giving.

Megan:

And that might be one reason why when you read the article, there's a lot of gift categories.

Megan:

Like I didn't just say gifts.

Megan:

There's like anniversary gifts, there's birthday gifts, there's just because gifts, there's Christmas gifts.

Megan:

Like they're all in my version of the really long list.

Megan:

And that's because for me, there was a different line for each one of those, I wasn't going to give up birthday gifts, that one hung up on till the end, it was really deep down there in my core.

Megan:

And that was surprising to me and something that I was glad that I learned through the exercise.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

And I also wanted to ask specifically on the exercise, you mentioned that you're putting the line through them in order and labeling them 1, 2, 3 is there a reason for having the numbers next to those crossed...

Megan:

off line off line?

Megan:

I liked having the numbers because after the fact I could figure out what was the first set to go.

Megan:

And then when you're all done with the exercise and you figured out, okay, this is the first set to go, this is my core here's how everything else goes in between Then you know, immediately what you should apply budgeting hacks too.

Megan:

So when you hear somebody who is like, here's how you save money when you're shopping and here's how you cut back in your spending and they've got cool tips and tricks.

Megan:

What should you apply it to?

Megan:

That stuff you whacked off right at the beginning, because you're willing to not spend any money potentially, if you had to.

Megan:

So cutting it back, cutting it way back, cutting it in half, finding the largest expense in your least liked category and eliminating it.

Megan:

There's a lot of savings to be gained through that exercise.

Megan:

And we've already acknowledged through this, you know, core values budgeting that there's not very much joy that's lost in that category, comparatively speaking.

Megan:

You might love all of your budget categories way more than I love mine , but at the same time, comparatively speaking, there's less joy from that outer edge budget item.

Megan:

And so finding the largest expense and getting rid of it is fast, easy low-hanging fruit savings that you'll probably be able to keep doing.

Megan:

If you cut something from your core, like if I was like, oh, I guess I just won't spend as much on birthday gifts.

Megan:

Like that would be really hard for me.

Megan:

And I probably wouldn't do it for very long.

Mike:

Yeah.

Mike:

That's an interesting point too, because behaviorally, you know, Then you're not going to stick with the whole exercise.

Mike:

You'll throw out the whole thing, right?

Mike:

Oh, geez.

Mike:

I can't do this.

Mike:

I'm not sticking with it so I love this.

Mike:

I love that you put a specific exercise around aligning your spending with what is in your core use the word core.

Mike:

And I use that all the time.

Mike:

I use George Kinder's life planning work, and it's all about core values and using some, again, some specific exercises.

Mike:

To try to get at that.

Mike:

And this one's fantastic.

Mike:

A specific implementation exercise to try to figure out, you know, take it from this philosophical, you know, of course you should spend on things that bring you joy.

Mike:

What is that?

Mike:

Here is something that you can spend an hour to get started, write it down and start working on it.

Mike:

So, I'm definitely going to do this.

Mike:

I'm excited to go through this with my family, for myself and my family and just kind of see what falls out for me.

Mike:

So I'll definitely gonna report back on that.

Mike:

Now we have a lot of other ideas, right?

Mike:

You mentioned budgeting, hacks and tips and tricks.

Mike:

And I mentioned at the very start of this that Megan has a number of articles around various healthy spending and how to spend because your entire salary and money is all about spending now and in the future, so we'll do those, I think, as other podcasts and they'll come out, over the spring and summer we'll do some other topics.

Mike:

And I think we'll put a button in this one for now, because I think we've gotten through why are we talking about it?

Mike:

And then the specific exercise.

Mike:

Is there anything else Megan, to mention, on, on this.

Megan:

I have an anecdotal story to close this out.

Megan:

So this is from a book.

Megan:

I read the crazy rich Asian series.

Megan:

So if anybody has ever seen the movie or read the books, this is a story from that.

Megan:

And there's a scene.

Megan:

That I really love that I think is the perfect picture of core values budgeting.

Megan:

There's this one character Astrid Leon, she's one of the wealthiest women in Singapore.

Megan:

Okay.

Megan:

So she doesn't need to budget necessarily.

Megan:

She has such a large amount of assets and a trust fund and all sorts of things that she's very well off.

Megan:

There's a scene, she's in the supermarket.

Megan:

She has her child with her, she's shopping for groceries, she's at the checkout counter, she gets a phone call.

Megan:

So while she's on the phone, she hears from her cousin and her cousin is trying to help her buy art.

Megan:

The art is going to cost a hundred million dollars and she's like, yeah, yeah, buy it, I want it, I want it, art is her passion.

Megan:

While at the same time, interspersed in the scene, she's telling her son that he can't buy frozen peas.

Megan:

No, we don't need those.

Megan:

And she's pulling super saver coupons out of her wallet to give them to the cashier, to pay for her groceries.

Megan:

And I just love this scene so much because you can tell exactly what's going on.

Megan:

Art is at her core.

Megan:

She's not going to make cuts.

Megan:

She wants that for a hundred million dollars.

Megan:

Yes, she very much.

Megan:

But food is not at her core.

Megan:

She's got super saver coupons.

Megan:

She's saying no to impulse purchases, she's got a mission here to save the money because she does not care enough about this budget to want to spend any more than she has to.

Megan:

And that's core values, budgeting, blown up into the big movie, crazy rich Asians scale.

Megan:

You want to be the kind of person who's yes, I will eat out.

Megan:

And you have the means and the budget to do so.

Megan:

And the kind of person who's saying, no, I'm not going to get a haircut that doesn't bring me joy.

Megan:

That doesn't bring me value.

Megan:

I'll cut my own hair.

Megan:

You want to know what those things are, and you want to have the super saver coupons ready to save on the one that doesn't matter as much.

Mike:

Oh my goodness.

Mike:

I love it.

Mike:

And what a great visual to put home, why this is important.

Mike:

And let me tell you that when you do this exercise, I'm excited to do it, but in, in general, when you are spending money on the things that bring you the most joy, you will feel that, and it's going to bring a lot more happiness into your life and will, continue the path you're already on in terms of aligning your spending with your values and bringing more joy into your life.

Mike:

Megan, thank you so much for writing the article, explaining it today and helping us understand why it's important and look forward to a lot more on future episodes.

Mike:

Thanks so much.

Mike:

Thanks for joining us on financial planning for entrepreneurs.

Mike:

If you like, what you heard, please subscribe to and rate the podcast on Apple iTunes, Google play Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Mike:

You can connect with me on linkedin or mortonfinancialadvice.com.

Mike:

I'd love to get your feedback.

Mike:

If you have a comment or question, please email me at financialplanningpod@gmail.com.

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