How to Spend More and Increase Your Savings

Brent Pittman —  01/27/2012

Is your 'Spending Compass" on? (Photo credit psd)

How to Spend More and Increase Your Savings

When it comes to money we all want to save more and spend less. We want the security and peace of mind that comes with being financially prepared for an emergency. We want the stability and quality of life that comes with a healthy income. We want the freedom and relaxation that comes with retirement.

But what if I told you to focus more on spending and less on saving?

What if I told you you no longer have to penny pinch, clip coupons or dare I say, budget?! (ahem, don’t tell Brent I said that.) What if you could walk in a store, find what you’re looking for, and not have to worry about price? What if you no longer had to worry about account balances and net worth?

Here’s another big “what if”. What if I told you you can do all of this and still have security, peace of mind, stability, quality of life, freedom and relaxation?!

You’d probably declare me insane and have me committed to an institution.

How is it possible to focus more on spending, forget about saving, and still reap the rewards of responsible money management?

I’ll tell you how, and I think you’ll be surprised with the answer.

Spend according to your values

Wikipedia defines values as “an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, constructive, etc.” Take a moment to think about your values.

What do you consider to be good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, and constructive in your life?

I’m taking a shot in the dark here, but my guess is that your values have very little to do with material possessions, money, or status. I doubt the first thing that sprung to mind was your boss, your banker and a shiny new Mercedes-Benz. If so, please message either me or Brent directly for a virtual kick in the butt.

My guess is your values have more to do with your friends, family and the experiences that made you who you are today.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Use your values as sort of a “spending compass”, and you’ll never get lost in the vast sea of consumerism. You’ll know what you should buy and what you shouldn’t because you value nurturing relationships and meaningful life experiences – not material possessions and other superficial “soul candy” like money and social status.

When you spend your money on what matters most, you never have to feel like you’ve wasted a penny.

Here’s another secret; you’ll spend less on meaningless “stuff” as a result – and that means saving more money. (pretty slick, eh?)

Generally speaking, cultivating loving relationships and living a meaningful life doesn’t require much financial backing. Sure, you may buy a gift here and there, go to the theatre once in a while or even go out on the town once in a blue moon. But you’ll find that what matters most in life is usually free.

Last time I checked taking walks in the park, reading books and family camping trips were still relatively cheap compared to other activities (like weekend bar hopping, compulsive shopping and fancy dining.) You’ll find that life’s pretty sweet when you have your priorities straight.

So focus more on how you’re spending your money and not so much on how much you’re spending – or saving.

I’m not telling you to dart out the door with dollar signs in your eyes and blow your whole life savings. Certainly keep what you’ve worked hard to accumulate, unless what you’ve accumulated is a big fat zero – in which case you should seriously consider starting an emergency fund – today!

I’m simply asking you to go a day or a week or a month with your “spending compass” on. Use it to guide you when you feel lost and focus more on spending what’s most important:

Your life according to your values.

– Tony

PS. Want to learn more about values based spending? Check out Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Joe Dominguez. (not an affiliate link)

Tony Fuentes writes about the fine art of quitting beliefs that don’t work for you anymore on his blog qwitr.org. Learn more here or follow him on Twitter.

Related posts:

Brent Pittman

Posts Twitter Google+

Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.