Extreme Savings, Money Mentality

Your Money is Bigger Than You

The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness blog tour. The Road to Financial Wellness is a three-month, grassroots campaign promoting financial empowerment on a national level and encourages people to pursue their dream lifestyle. Find out more about local events near you and come see me at the stop in San Diego!

 

I always considered myself to be a left-brained humanitarian, interested in changing the world through vague ideas and niceness. Even though I never knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up, I knew that I wanted to do good in the world. (See what I mean about vague ideas?)

My plans for doing good varied from charity work abroad to teaching and becoming a chef (??) to working as a therapist. I had a huge drive to help people but felt utterly confused about how to harness my desire to serve others because I didn’t really agree with the systems that existed.

Around that time, I stumbled across a quote that perfectly articulated my frustrations:

“ ‘Normal’ is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.
— Ellen Goodman

Shortly after reading the quote, my sister linked me to an article: Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed.

In the article, David Cain dives into the ways in which we have been programmed to live a certain kind of life—the very life I never wanted. Work, spend, consume and repeat until you die.

He continues on to explain that as people who live in a developed, “first world” country, we are programmed to be mindless consumers. The entire pre-determined structure of our lives (9-5 until 65) pushes us towards consumption and waste because we have no spare time. Regardless of our salaries, we are poor when it comes to time. By the end of an eight-hour day in the office, we are so emotionally and physically tired that we are happy to spend money to ease our pain.

So we do. We spend the money and the cycle continues.

Some people are okay with this structure, others whole-heartedly embrace it and certain people don’t ever realize that it even exists.

But there’s a fourth group as well: the rebels.

People rebel in all sorts of ways: starting businesses, early retirement, freelancing, tiny living, going off the grid and “semi” retirement.

I’m still not sure which path I will choose (or if I’ll choose something else altogether).

But there is one thing I know with certainty: the quickest way to create the change I crave is to align my spending with my values.

As we enter an era of rapid climate change and the next mass extinction, I know that I want to part of the solution and not, you know, contributing to the demise of our planet. How I spend will be one of the biggest ways I can do that.

That doesn’t mean I’ll never end a long day with Costco pizza, Netflix and wine (yum) but it does mean that I’m trying to be more mindful about how I spend and consume.

How we spend (or don’t) spend our money is directly related to our moral beliefs and our hope (or lack thereof) for a better future.

In other words, your money is bigger than you.

Your money, and how you spend it, is a direct reflection of you and the impact you will have on the world.

When I read that article as a seventeen year old, I realized that money is a big freaking deal, but not for the reasons I had previously thought.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Melanie @ Dear Debt June 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Preach girl! Yes! This is such an important post. Thanks so much for participating in the tour 🙂

    • Reply Pete June 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Why on Earth hadn’t I heard about this tour until now? I should join up w/ you all in ATL!

      and I think you’re already a good kind of rebel, Taylor 😉

  • Reply Jason Vitug June 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Buck the trend! Knowing your values and morals help guide your journey to financial wellness.
    Thanks for participating in the blog tour!
    Jason Vitug recently posted…Blogger Series: What Does Financial Wellness Mean to You?My Profile

  • Reply ZJ Thorne June 17, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Rebelling against cultural norms will hopefully cause others to question things that are not serving you.
    ZJ Thorne recently posted…Ways To Be An AllyMy Profile

  • Reply Brittney @ Britt & the Benjamins June 20, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Love that you hit on this. A lot of people miss the idea that where they spend their money directly reflects their values/priorities. I read a quote from a personal finance expert a few months ago where he stated that he never wanted to tell his kids he couldn’t afford to send them to college because he would rather spend his money on a nice car or fancy vacations. And it’s true – we need to remember that swiping that credit card sends a message to the world. And we need to make sure it’s the right one.
    Brittney @ Britt & the Benjamins recently posted…the ultimate guide to hiking the inca trail: how to book, train, and travel for a once-in-a-lifetime tripMy Profile

  • Reply NZ Muse June 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I have a post coming up on spending in line with your values! I’m a lot happier now that my biggest expense (housing) is going toward a mortgage rather than rent, for a stable, warm dry home that I never have to move out of unless I want to.

    Have you read the Soul of Money?

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor August 5, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      I love how happy your home has made you 🙂 As someone who grew up in a military family and moved every 2-3 years my entire life, the thought of having the stability of my own home, makes me SO happy. I can’t wait for that day to come. & thanks for the book rec! I haven’t read it but will go put it on hold at the library right now!

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