5 Steps to Spend in Line with Your Values: Using ACT for your money

Check out my latest financial therapy video on how to apply acceptance and commitment therapy to your money. Transcript below:

Are you feeling like you are spending money on shit you don’t care about? Watch the video above, or check out the steps below, and I’ll give you the exact exercise you can do to spend in a way that feels right for you.

If you look at your spending at the end of the month and feel like you are flushing money on stuff you don’t need, I’m here to tell you how you can shift that so you can spend on the things that matter. I guarantee that practicing this will help you feel good about your spending habits. 

First, let me break down what ACT it. ACT stands for acceptance and commitment therapy. The idea is that when we live our lives aligned with our values, we feel better about ourselves.

5 Easy Steps to Spend Money in line with your Values

  1. Write down the five most important values in your life (example: empathy, freedom, love, health, and sustainability).

  2. Look at last month’s spending.

  3.  Highlight or write down the 2-3 areas where you spent in a way you aren’t proud of (fast food, parking, clothes).

  4. Reference your values and see if they match up. If they don’t, there is a good chance you feel conflicted or guilty when you spend For example, if you value health and love, your money would probably be better spent taking your partner rock climbing instead of buying another drive-through meal. Or if you value sustainability, maybe you could shift your spending from a parking pass to a bus pass.

  5. Shift your spending toward the things you value. The goal isn’t to spend less, though you might, but to spend in a way that feels more like YOU.

What areas are you going to shift your spending towards to align with your values? Or are you going to shift some spending away from a certain category that doesn’t match up with your values? Let me know in the comments!

If you are getting stumped on values, I have a free download full of values you can reference to practice the exercise I reviewed in the video. Here’s a free worksheet to help you find ways to line up your spending with your values.

Money Lessons My Mom Taught Me

For most of us, our first money memories come from our families. Perhaps it was being told you couldn’t add the box of cookies to the shopping cart, for others it was learning how to add with coins. In this video, I share the financial lessons I learned from my mom. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who acted as a teacher throughout my life, and I gained a lot of valuable lessons from her.

Transcript of Money Lessons from My Mom

Hey, this is Lindsay from Mind Money Balance, and today I'm going to talk about things I learned from my mom. I was very fortunate to get some pretty solid financial lessons. I talk a lot about how we usually first learn what we know from our family, so today I'm going to share with you some things that I learned from my mom as I grew up.

1. Don't buy stuff just for the sake of buying it.

One thing I heard all the time from my mom was not to buy stuff just for the sake of buying it. I can think back to road trips that I did with my family and my mom's best friend and her kids, and any time we would stop for gas it didn't ever cross our minds to run in and get snacks or drinks. I honestly didn't even know or consider it to be an option that when you stopped for a pit stop, you could pick things up.

I remember in high school being with some girlfriends and stopping somewhere. They all came back with snacks, and I was shocked. It had just been so ingrained in me that you have water at home, or you have snacks in the car, and you don't need to buy anything.

2. Understand what your bank can do for you.

Another thing I learned from my mom was to know what the bank or the credit union's job was. I remember being a kid in line with her as she was going to either deposit money or cash a check, and she would give me these little money lessons along the way. Back then the bank had a board where they posted information, and she would point out the board and say, "Oh look at those CD rates." I remember her explaining to me what a certificate of deposit was, in terms that would make sense to a kid. She would say, "You are giving the bank money and allowing them to use it, and in exchange for them using your money, they'll pay you a little bit more when they give you that money back."

I also remember her telling me the importance of putting money in a bank instead of up in your rafters. She told me that in the bank your money would be insured, meaning it would be safe, up to $250,000.

3. Live below your means.

When I was in middle school, my family moved from a middle-class neighborhood into one of those McMansion neighborhoods. It was the early 2000s and those kinds of neighborhoods were popping up all over the place. I remember doing some back-to-school shopping and complaining to my mom that she wasn't buying me enough. For example, "Oh my gosh, well, so-and-so down the street, they get all this stuff," and whining about how we didn't. I don't think we used the term "hauls," but let's just call it a "clothing haul."

I remember my mom saying to me, "Lindsay, they're not using real money. They are using credit cards. They're not using real money. They are spending more than they earn." On the drive home we had a discussion about credit cards and living below your means.

So again, I was super fortunate to have gotten that information, and even though I was probably still a little angsty about not getting all the clothes I wanted, I at least had learned a lesson about why it's important to only buy the things that you can afford and not the things that you want to afford. Lo and behold, a few years later the housing crash came, and we all as Americans learned what it was like to live above our means and below our means.

4. Make sure you can take care of yourself.

My mom was a young mother, and she made it very clear from as long as I can remember the importance of having your own skill set and earning your own money as a woman.

I can remember, from the time that I got my driver's license, my mom saying things to me like, "You have to be a productive member of society. If you're not physically or mentally disabled, you need to be working. You need to have your own money. You need to have your own income." I got my first job around that time: I was working at a little restaurant the next town over. Friday or Saturday nights in high school I was working until closing, which at that restaurant was 2:00 a.m. I remember that experience being very valuable, and mom saying again and again: make your own money, have your own skills, make sure you can take care of yourself.

I think that's such a valuable lesson for anyone, but especially for women, and especially for young women.

5. Use what you have before you buy more.

Finally, the last big money lesson I learned from my mom was to use up all that you've got before you buy something new. This is across the board. This is from scraps of food to vehicles.

For example, if we were baking and there was a little dusting of sugar at the bottom of a bag, we made sure to use that a little bit first before we opened the new bag. With big purchases like vehicles, my mom was a huge proponent of buying vehicles that were safe. So by default that tended to mean more expensive vehicles, but she would buy those vehicles and quite literally drive them into the ground. I'm talking 200 or 250,000 miles that she would put on a vehicle before even considering getting a new car. She drilled into my head that leasing a vehicle was wasting money. That depends on your situation, but the lesson that I got from my mom was if it ain't broke, if it's working, then use it, make it work for you.

Those are some of my money lessons that I remember from my mom and still tap into today.