How to save more money—align your spending with your values
30 August 2019
Since childhood, most of us were told to find our life values and cling to them. But when was the last time you aligned those values with your finances? Financial planning isn’t just about money, it’s also about values. It’s about spending according to your long-term goals—goals unique to you.
We’ve all been tempted by year-round sales and instant gratification. But to live authentically (and perhaps save money while you’re at it), you need to identify your financial values and follow them. Your finances are an important puzzle piece in the journey to a self-directed life.
Reflect on what fulfils you
Flip through the album of your memory and think of your most fulfilling moments. Perhaps a family lunch you had last Easter, in which case you might want to dedicate more savings to leisure time with loved ones. Or perhaps moments like these tell us to put more money aside to gain financial independence—less time at the office, more time with the people we love. Maybe your most fulfilling memories involve a camera and a Grampians sunset. This could mean you value expression and the ability to tell stories through pixels. In that case, creating a savings goal for more equipment is the most authentic choice you can make. If you’re truly unsure of what you want, be open to new experiences. Try that ballroom dance class! Sign up for snorkelling lessons! After all, just like food, sometimes we don’t know what we’re into until we try it!
Trust your instincts when deciding whether a goal is truly yours. A good trick is to ask whether something brings intrinsic or extrinsic joy. Are you innately drawn to a thing, or are you drawn to the positive reactions of others? According to Suncorp Behavioural Psychologist Phil Slade, the ‘’identity we uphold’’ influences the way we spend. This drives us to boost our in-group status or send certain signals to society. To recognise true individual wants, peel off some of the layers of expectation society places on you. When in doubt, Phil says consider whether the goal you have lifts your physical, spiritual, and emotional health. A fancy car may look good in photos, but the hours you sacrifice to afford it may harm your health.
Though this doesn’t mean you should stop paying rent and run off to live your ‘best life’ in the Dandenongs. Your basic needs (food, rent, and healthcare) are fixed costs. But after those basic needs are met, the rest of your savings goals can be tailored to you.
When you are content, you have the mental space to prioritise authentic wants. Phil Slade says, ‘’if you can find meaning and contentment where you are, you can find happiness’’. By being truly content with what you have, you’ll have less of a desire to compete and ‘keep up’ with people in your network. Once your mental landscape is cleared, you’ll have enough space to explore your true desires. And the best part is that contentment isn’t something you have to be born with—it’s a skill you can learn and refine.
Organise your savings goals
Now that you’ve identified your authentic savings goals, you might want to give them new homes. Suncorp’s Everyday Options Account will help you manage your finances by giving you the option to create up to 9 savings sub-accounts! The funds you put away in the sub-accounts will always be earning interest so you can reach your savings goals sooner. Celebrate every one of these savings targets by giving them unique names in Internet Banking. Seeing accounts labelled ‘’my travels’’ or ‘’uni fund’’ can prompt you to prioritise the important things. Open a bank account and enjoy no monthly account keeping fees. There’s something truly pleasing about being reminded of the life you’re saving for, the life you’re building.
Banking products are issued by Suncorp-Metway Ltd ABN 66 010 831 722 (“Suncorp Bank”). Eligibility criteria, conditions and fees apply and are available on request. Please read the relevant Product Information Document before making any decision about this product. Contact us for a copy. This advice does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.