3 Questions for Aligning Your Spending with Your Goals

June 19, 2023

On the recent Father’s Day, my dad and I were reminiscing about his dad, my grandfather. Grandpa Darwin lived simply and was unimpressed by wealth or status. He honestly just didn’t notice and because he didn’t notice, he was able to really enjoy people from all walks of life, be beloved by all, and live a truly beautiful life on his own terms. 

This makes me think of a scene from one of my favorite chick flick movies and you’ll see why in a minute. In Runaway Bride, there’s a scene where Julia Roberts finally realizes how she actually likes her eggs. In each of her previous relationships, she adopted the egg preferences of the guy she was with.

If he liked scrambled, she liked scrambled “just like him.”

If he was into poached eggs, so was she.

If he liked fried eggs, guess what? So did she.

At one point Richard Gere (my first celebrity crush, if you must know) says “You were so lost, you didn't even know what kind of eggs you liked.” She responds with “It’s called changing your mind” and he says “No, that’s called not having a mind of your own.”

A series of events leads her on a journey of self-exploration and finally doing things about her dreams, like getting her art out into the world. She also eats a bunch of eggs. And after trying eggs all the various ways, she finally states to Richard Gere with conviction that, “I love eggs Benedict. I hate every other kind.”

There’s a lot to learn from these egg conversations.

Side-note: One of my college professors once said “God is willing to give you truth in whatever form you’re willing to receive it” and it turns out I’m willing to receive a lot of lessons and truth via movies.

Yes, there are multiple takeaways about codependency and waiting to fully live, but the takeaway for today is that it’s really helpful to know what you actually like. 

As it relates to money, it’s really good to know how you like to spend.

What you want out of life and therefore what you want to spend money on.

Otherwise you end up spending like others and maybe not even liking the result.

If you're in the market for up-leveling your life, here are 3 questions to ask about your spending and the type of life it is making possible for you.

  1. Do you even like how you’re spending your money? 
  2. Do you like the results of that spending?
  3. Is there something you want more than the results of your current spending?

It’s really great to know the answers to these questions while you still have (hopefully) plenty of time to do something about them.

Because, while it would be amazing to never have spent in conflict with your values, it’s not too late to determine what really matters to you, and to get back in line with them.

If you don't actually like how your spending, and you're spending on things that you think will impress others or that others really like but you don't really, you get to stop.

If you don't love the results of spending like you do—stress, reactivity, yo-yoing credit card debt, mounting debt—you also get to look at what you need shift.

And maybe you're absolutely content with your current spending and results, but recognize that you are no closer to your bigger life goals. You might want to be debt-free or able to leave your job or go back to school or travel around the world more than you want to maintain status quo. And, like with the other questions, having an honest answer to this question would allow you to make changes to make your dreams finally a possibility.

Knowing your own preferences and values keeps you from getting swept up in the spending habits of those of others who likely aren't doing a thing to pay for your way of your life. It's a pretty wonderful thing to know what you like and value, and prioritize accordingly.

And if you don't know yet how you like your eggs—figuratively or literally—maybe this is the summer you decide to find out. I like mine fried, over-hard.

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