10 Things I DON’T Spend Money On, 1 Thing I DO!
As parents to young children, finances can often be a big point of stress in our homes (and marriages).
You and I are targeted ruthlessly by the $80 BILLION toy industry (worldwide) just to name one of our many adversaries in this fight for financial health (think tutoring, private schools, organic baby food and you’ll start getting the picture of all the different $$$$$$ industries that want to get into our pockets, often playing into our biggest fears and anxieties).
If you struggle to know whether this toy or that outing is “worth” the money – we’re in the same boat.
But I noticed that there’s a driving question that can help us decipher whether or not to spend:
Does this investment serve my family’s best interest?
In this stage of my life, there are some things that I choose to avoid spending money on. Please don’t get me wrong- there’s nothing wrong with making money, having it or spending it!
But – I do believe that money should be spent on things that serve you and that reflect your goals, values and passions.
Not sure if what you are spending on is serving you? It’s an interesting little exercise to go over your bank statement and ask yourself if you’re proud of the purchases you make regularly. If you would make them again and if they feel “worth it” to you. I’d like to hear your thoughts and choices in the comments below!
FYI – these ten things are not a “how to” or advice for you in any way. There just a reflection of the things I’ve personally noticed I used to spend money on and no longer reflect my values or needs – at this current time. Many of the things on this list are probably a great way for you to spend your money, but just not what’s serving me right now.
10 Things I Don’t Spend Money On
- Toys – It’s been a couple of years that I’ve felt we simply have enough toys. I still allow my children to save up and buy their own toys sometimes, but for birthdays or holidays, I’m opting for other gifts rather than growing our already satisfactory collection. (side note: when I do buy toys I try to find them second hand).
- Hair Cuts – I do it myself! For both our kids and me – I’m not an expert and we’ve had a few tears but I love the convenience and the savings of doing it at home.
- Over-Stimulating Events or Activities – I’m guessing it will be years before I spend money on Disneyland, Broadway shows or a waterpark or anything of that nature. My children are still young and those types of activities seem really over-stimulating to me. I prefer the forest, our local children’s museum or the beach – all of which are either free or much cheaper than those places.
- Apps & Games – This is a rabbit hole I’m just not going down yet! We have invested in a set of Osmo and those are pretty much the only electronic/ app style games I’m willing to spend money on for the near future.
- Sugar! – I don’t buy candy and I don’t let my kids spend money on candy seeing as it doesn’t align with our family’s health goals. Of course, they’re still exposed to sugar at other people’s homes or at events, but this is one area my kids are totally used to a hard “no“.
- Birthday Gifts – This one is a little uncomfortable because I mean spending money on other children’s birthdays. I’ve been to too many 3 or 4-year-old parties where the child is being gifted 20-30 new gifts. These are often plastic, play-for-you, low-quality gifts that end up being junk quicker than you can blow the candles out on little Emma’s cake. These don’t serve the parents (more clutter!), the earth (more junk!), the gifters (more spending!) or the child (overwhelm and an over-materialistic emphasis on their birthday). I’d really like to pioneer a new way of celebrating our children’s birthdays and I’m trying to lead by example by making hand-crafted cards for the birthday gal or boy instead. (If you do want to buy a gift that’s not a waste of money you can check out the toys I love here).
- Manicures – Don’t get me wrong, this is a lovely self-care moment and I totally admire women who take care of their lovely hands. I just worry about the toxicity of nail polish, plus it comes off so fast when you’re caring for young kids! So I don’t do this anymore. (I still indulge in the rare pedicure).
- Eating Out – This used to be a favorite indulgence of mine. But since prioritizing health and veganism over the last few years – and adding in amazing food options at home it’s something I do less and less. Plus eating out with the kids is something I almost never do – especially since their food options when we eat out never seem very healthy, and they end up wasting so much of it. Maybe they’re too young. This is still something I love to do to occasionally catch up with a girlfriend or catch a date with the hubby, but it’s just so much less than I used to.
- The Gym – This is a great way to spend your money if you really use it. With my current lifestyle, I can’t. I do yoga – mostly from home with a video – and sometimes a class in a studio. I think this one is about finding the workout that serves your lifestyle right now, rather than throwing money down the drain with a membership you don’t really get to use.
- Magazines & Newspapers – I’ve come to realise that (not only are they wasteful for the earth but also) most things that come in print are either trying to get me to buy something, or to be afraid of something. I don’t want my children growing up with glossy mags, newspaper headlines or catalogues staring them (or their mother!) in the face, so this is one we don’t do anymore. I really want our home to serve as a sacred, peaceful space and I want to be the curator of the messages and the energies that flow through.
And what DO I spend my money on?
H E L P
One thing I’ve learned over the past few years, and despite my initial resistance – is that it’s so worth it (for me!) to invest (hiring or bartering) in whatever help you can afford with your business, your housework, or childcare.
If you can spend money on saving time that would otherwise be tied down by chores that you aren’t taking joy in doing or that end up being a drag on the way you want to spend your time – I think that is an excellent investment.
This is a huge privilege! I get that. But many of the reasons we can’t hire help is that we aren’t willing to sacrifice other things.
I’ve come to be very hyper-focused on the things I spend my time on. And beyond my self-care, there are only two, really:
My Family and my business.
I’ve learned that getting as much help as I can afford with running the home really serves my best interest in being the best mom, wife and businesswoman I can be. It’s taken me a while to get here, but man, it’s a life-changer.
As women we often live under the tyrannical thought that we should be “doing it all” – when, not only is that impossible – it’s also a really ineffective way to build up your dream family life or career. I have amazing assistance inside my business, and now – finally – inside my home as well. Which makes it possible for me to work hard in my “genius zone” – doing the things I love that also serve me.
So if this is something you are interested in doing – I want to empower you to step away from the self-limiting beliefs and the victim mindset.
Getting help at home is not a sign of weakness, it does not mean you aren’t a good enough parent or you don’t have things together. It’s a really brave, smart, good investment in this most precious time of your life.