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Finding ways to maximize what you can do with your income is an important part of money management. While it’s easy to assume that involves sticking to strict budgets, improving your finances doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop buying non-necessities altogether — you just have to make sure you’re avoiding frivolous, mindless spending so you have room to make purchases you genuinely love and care about.
Of course, not every single purchase has to have meaning behind it, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of making impulse buys for instant gratification that you won’t even care about after a short period of time. All that money can really add up and before you know it, you won’t have enough cash left over for the experiences and things you truly value.
“Spending based on your values means making choices that reflect what is important to you,” says Maia Monell, co-founder and chief growth officer of the Nav.it app. “It means investing in the things that will bring you joy, satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and purpose.”
Keep in mind that spending money based on your values can look different for everyone. For one person, making a satisfying purchase can mean splurging on higher-quality ingredients because cooking a good meal is the favorite part of their day. For someone else, it could mean paying a premium for sustainable fashion items because they like supporting businesses aimed at helping the environment.
The return on investment of a value-based purchase isn’t always tangible — sometimes, it’s more about gaining knowledge, having a stronger sense of community or getting to use your creativity. It’s important to draw the distinction between the things you love buying and the things that just eat up your cash flow.
“Spending money on things you don’t care about might mean you will miss out on opportunities and experiences to invest in the things that truly matter to you,” Monell explains.
Below, Select shares some of Monell’s best tips for making sure you’re spending money with your personal values in mind.
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1. Have an idea of what your values are
“The first step is to get clear on what matters most to you,” Monell says. “This could be anything from …….