i’ve said before that i believe what you spend your money on can say something about you as a person.
especially if you have very limited amounts of money. i also think the same is true if you have unlimited amounts of money.
because i am in new york on an unpaid internship, i (perhaps needless to say) am on a strict budget. i allot myself a certain amount of money to spend per day and have quickly learned how to decide whether the price of something matches up to the value it would bring if i bought it. i have learned how to distinguish wants from needs, and how to talk myself out of buying nearly everything.
today was meaningful because it is june 25th… which means my budget for the month starts over in about a week. and when i looked at my bank statement, i realized that i had some ‘left overs’- i didn’t spend it all. not only was i ecstatic because i could cross off another item on my “goal” list (to stay within my monthly budget), i decided that i wanted to come up with a creative way to spend the remaining money (of course i probably should have saved it, but i chose not t0). and so i did.
but first, i decided to see what my bank statement would say about me. it showed me that i cared about having a place to live, transportation, books, and food (cupcakes included). based on my food selection however, it showed that i increasingly became more interested in shopping at grocery stores rather than eating out, which also matches my increased will-power to eat more healthy. my bank statement also matches my newly invested interest in continuing to learn about the world based off the types of books i was purchasing. but that was all it said. it didn’t say that i was necessarily interested in shopping locally or supporting a non-profit organization. it didn’t really represent me to its entirety.
so here is where the creativity came in.
i decided to spend the money in different ways. i went shopping and allowed myself to buy the new wallet i needed, and the new dress i wanted. i offered donations to the talented musicians, dancers, and magicians who perform on the street and in the subways. i offered it to people who needed it more than i did, and i used it to buy food for some who said they were hungry. i went to the farmer’s market and re-fell in love with local food. i bought healthy food options and a new book on my kindle. i bought post cards. i went to a local coffee shop.
i am not sharing this so i can receive a round of applause or a congratulations for donating money. i am telling you this because i want you to know that it is possible. before it gets too easy to say that you don’t have that kind of money, you should know that i don’t have a lot of money either. you should know that i purposely say no to buying coffee or clothes (or really any spending during the week) so that I have money to spend on the weekend for new experiences. you should know that i worked two jobs last school year and saved every amount possible so that i could be in new york today. you should know that i spend a lot of time coming up with new, creative, and free ways to spend my days.
i realize that some people are not as fortunate as i have been, and have not had the same opportunities as i have had. but i also think it can be easy to come up with excuses for not having the money to do something. i do not say this to be insincere; what i am trying to say is that we all have bills to pay, materials and needs to buy, and miscellaneous things that come up. i understand that some have more than others. but we also all have the opportunity to save a few dollars here and there. what if everytime you wanted a $5 coffee from starbucks, you put that money in a jar instead and saved it for something you have wanted to do but couldn’t because of money? why not order a water at restaurants and put the $2 you would have spent on a fountain drink in that same jar. why not eat up everything in your kitchen before spending money on going out to eat? why not commit to spend as little as possible in a month to save up for next month? of course it is your money, so you can do what you would like with it :), but i want you to know that not having money does not have to be an excuse. save a dollar a day.
and then reward yourself. or those around you.
let your money say something about you.
let it say something good.
like some of your parents may have once told you, spend your money wisely and not all in one place :)