More Than Money
Issue #8

To Spend Or Not To Spend

Table of Contents

“A Guide to Conscious Spending”

When "affording it" is not the issue, how do we decide how much to spend? This question is complicated not only by a dizzying array of choices in the marketplace but also by our own conflicting values. The following are some criteria that can help guide thoughtful spending. Do you use these criteria or others? How might you map out your own decision-making process?

  1. Weighing Alternatives
    Which among various options best meets your real needs?
  2. Cost-Effectiveness
    Can you meet the same need by spending less money?
  3. Internal Impact
    Will the purchase make a significant difference to you or others?
  4. External Impact
    Does the item's social and environmental impact feel acceptable?
  5. Balance
    Overall, does how you spend money feel balanced (e.g., among basic needs, luxuries, personal growth, family, community, philanthropy)?
  6. Instinct
    What does your quiet, inner voice advise you to do?

Example: Jill and Alan decided not to go to New Zealand. They had mixed feelings about how much to spend on travel (Criterion E), were uneasy with the environmental impact of air travel (D), and wished to vacation more with non-affluent friends (C). Jill thought of various options, and finally settled on one that seemed to meet several needs (A): to invest in land abutting the closest state forest and build a cottage. Over many years, this proved to be a cost-effective (B) and delightful get-away for herself, Alan, and their friends. .


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