Almost two weeks ago now, I attended my fourth FinCon. It’s an annual conference where financial professionals and brands come together to learn from each other and make relationships. I first attended when I was merely six months into being a financial coach, and this year is the first time that I felt like I actually knew a lot of people and could help educate others. In fact, I was on a panel about remaining authentic while building a financial coaching business. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind four days and I was pretty exhausted (in a good way) afterwards. One of my biggest takeaways, though, was a keynote speech that I didn’t think I would actually enjoy.
Ramit Sethi was one of the opening keynote speakers for FinCon on Thursday, September 5th. I’ve never followed Ramit’s work very closely, after being turned off by his abrasive approach to financial advice years ago. I actually considered skipping his talk in favor of chatting with friends or grabbing breakfast. But I’m glad that I stayed, because Ramit gave a great talk that had fantastic takeaways for all of us in the audience.
Spend extravagantly on the things you love and cut mercilessly on those you don’t.
The takeaway that really make an impact on me was this: “Spend extravagantly on the things you love and cut mercilessly on those you don’t.” Ramit went around the room asking people what they most love spending money on. Examples were: travel, pasta, and dogs. Then he asked us what we would do differently if we could triple what we spend on those things. An example he used was flying to Italy to learn how to make pasta, rather than just tripling how often we eat pasta. I really loved that way of thinking about it. It’s less about just spending more on something and more about leveling up the things you love most.
I also liked that this way of thinking also helps take the guilt out of spending lavishly on the things that you value most. If you can afford to spend money on the things you love, you should do it! That’s what money is for. So I thought it would be fun to review the things that I love to spend money on and that I budget for.
If you read my blog and follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I like to travel. Last year, we went to Thailand for three weeks on our honeymoon. This year, I’ve traveled to New York City, Chicago, Bermuda, and Maine. In the next few weeks, I’m going to Boston and Atlanta. And later this year, we’re heading to Peru, which is a trip I’ve been dying to take for years. Sometimes, when I’m on vacation, I start to get stressed out about how much money we’re spending. I get frustrated and want to reign it in and make sandwiches instead of going out to eat and enjoying the local cuisine. But the thing is, we save year round for travel and we have rewards cards that give us points to pay for some travel. So the stress isn’t really warranted. I’m going to start letting myself have fun and not feel guilty when I’m traveling.
Making a Home
Yesterday marked two years since Dan and I signed the papers to close on our home. Two years since we officially became homeowners! Honestly, time has flown by and a lot has changed. When we first bought the house, it needed quite a bit of work. We bought it knowing that we were going to have to spend a lot of money to make it what we wanted it to be. But it was worth it to us because then we could mold it into something special and unique. Plus, it was cheaper for us to buy this house and fix it up than it was for us to buy a more expensive house that was already renovated. Sometimes, it’s painful to write big checks, but we’ve transformed our house into a new place, and it certainly feels like home.
This category isn’t always something I prioritized in my life. In fact, I used to go grocery shopping once every two weeks and I would buy things like white rice and frozen corn so that I could get the most food for the least amount of money. I was also 22 years old and new to Washington, DC, so I didn’t have a lot of money and also wasn’t very worried about my health. Things are changed dramatically since then. Now, I feel strongly about buying only organic produce and animal products. I’ve also recently cut out gluten per a recommendation from my doctor, so I find myself buying more expensive gluten-free items. My grocery bill sure has increased, but I feel healthier too.
Some of my biggest business expenses have been related to attending conferences and taking classes. Not only do I get to meet likeminded people, but I also get to learn a lot too. I always loved school and I loved learning. Once I graduated from college, I had to find new ways to keep learning. Initially, it was learning how to do new jobs and keeping myself educated about the causes we were working on. Now, it’s learning more about how to run a business and how to help others with the work I do. So it’s really a win-win that is worth paying for. Plus, it’s all tax deductible.
What do you love spending money on? How do you budget to make those things happen? Share in the comments!
Certified Financial Education Instructor. Feminist and financial coach for women. Founder of Money Circle.