My 20-year-old daughter earned a little money working as an intern for an engineering firm this summer. As she had to decide where to spend her hard-earned money, it was an exercise in clarifying her values while learning more about herself.
She had no qualms about spending a sizable amount of money taking her little sister to spend a day at Universal Studios as a birthday present. But when it came to deciding if she should buy a Disneyland annual pass that some of her friends had, she struggled with the decision. Was it worth it? How much does she like Disneyland compare to other options of entertainment? Should she save her money for more basic needs such as paying rent on her apartment?
I am proud of her that when it came to spending money on other people, she is generous. Be as open-handed as we can even if it means cutting back on spending on ourselves. This is how we should be.
We often wish we had unlimited money for a shopping spree, but having limited resources is actually a good thing, It shows us where our heart is. I think it was a good lesson for her to think through her priorities.
It also seems to me that how we spend our money is often related to how our time is spent. Spending money on a Disneyland pass will lead to more time at Disneyland with friends who have passes, and not as much time at other activities. Or more time is spent at the mall if we allocate more money for clothes. Time, relationships, and a chunk of life all has to do with money management.
Our spending habits has more at stake than just money.
(You may be interested in listening to my interview with Heidi where we talk about saving money and family values – Making the Most of Your Money.)