Financial worksheet on a marble table.

Personal Values: The Pillars of Financial Planning

If the thought of sticking to a budget makes your head hurt, you’re most definitely not alone. A lot of people can feel restricted, frustrated and even discouraged by budgets. Honestly, who can blame them?

When talking about getting your finances on track, the conversation tends to focus on setting boundaries, holding back or cutting things out altogether. But restraining yourself from spending money on the things you love isn’t going to help you or your wallet in the long run.

At In Good Company, we don’t focus on all the things you can’t do with your money but rather what you want to do. Asking yourself what matters most to you can help provide a guideline for making financial decisions, especially when you’re tempted to get off track.

Some temptations are easier to spot than others. While the strategically placed knick-knacks at the checkout counter seems like an obvious one, other opportunities to splurge can be a lot sneakier with social media being the sneakiest of them all. Maybe the delicious brunch your friend posted has you reaching for the takeout menu instead of the cereal you were planning to have. Or the beautiful pictures your coworker shared of his vacation gets you thinking about a weekend away. Whatever it may be, the things you see on social media might inspire you to spontaneously spend money you normally wouldn’t.

Aligning your financial decisions with your personal values can help change your mindset in situations just like these and so many others where you find yourself contemplating the price tag. Just ask yourself if it’s important to you and in line with your values. If you’ve got the travel bug and love to experience other cultures, you might prioritize saving for that next trip abroad over other things. Or maybe the foodie in you can’t resist a delicious meal out at a fine restaurant, so you make sure to incorporate that into your monthly spending plan.

Whatever your values may be, they’re essential to keeping you motivated and committed to building a healthier financial future. So, what are you waiting for? Get started with the exercise below:

  1. Ask yourself what matters most to you. A few examples can include family, creativity, spirituality, community or education. But there’s no right or wrong answer here. Feel free to come up with a few of your own.
  2. Once you have a list of five or six values, compare them to each other. Try to rank them in order from most important to least.
  3. Over the next few weeks, focus on the top three most important values you listed. Challenge yourself to evaluate each financial decision you make and see if it aligns with any of those three values.
  4. Keep track of your expenses or purchases and the value they best align with in a journal. Be sure to come back to these notes to see whether your financial decisions match your personal values.

Interested in sharing ideas just like this with your company? See how In Good Company can help.