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Do Your Purchases Reflect Your Values?

Today I am very excited to be doing a Blog Swap. Be sure to head over to Mandy’s site to read about my first real passport trip and what it taught me.  Also, don’t miss out on your chance to win $100.

My name is Mandy and I’m the author of a blog called Money Master Mom.  I’d like to help you align your spending, time and energy with your values.

Back in the day when we had satellite TV (we cut it because it was providing us little value, and was costing us a lot of time) I watched Survivor.  I enjoyed the episode where they brought food in front of the starving contestants and then auctioned it off.  Some items provided little value for the contestants and resulted in low bids, but other items, like a cheeseburger, provided high value and bidding wars ensued.  It was an interesting display how value and cost can sometimes vary a great deal.

If you want to make the most of your money you need to match your spending with your personal values.  Take some time to consider what purchases provide you with a great deal of satisfaction; these purchases are high value buys. Purchases that adequately serve the purpose are mid value buys, and stuff you pay for that drives you nuts, or is soon forgotten.  Yeah, you got the pattern, that’s a low value buy.

How do you match your spending with your values? 

Only spend your cash on high value items, and avoid the low value buys (no matter how tempting the deal)

If you’re like me getting a great deal can be a real day maker.  I’m a mother of 3 (ages 4,3,and 1) my life is busy, but rather predictable.  A great deal is like flowers from your husband, unexpected and unforgettable.

But have you ever found yourself purchasing something that previously was off the shopping radar?

Would you be interested in a $10 DVD that is 50% off and now available for the low low price of $5?  If you didn’t plan on buying the DVD before you got to the store the only thing you’ve accomplished is parting with $5 that used to be in your wallet.  Score one for the retailers, they beat you this time.  If you weren’t planning on buying it yesterday, the only thing you bought today is the deal – not the DVD.

Losing is the pits!  Please stop losing your hard earned cash to marketing tricks.  I don’t want that, and neither does Kim.  Kim and I started our blogs because we care about people getting financially fit.  We’ve experienced first hand the benefits of financial discipline, frugality, and having a spending plan, or budget.  We want that for you too.

Each one of you has a unique value meter.  In economics, it’s called the law of supply and demand, in yard saleing it called “one man’s junk is another man’s gold.”  For example eating out is currently  a low value purchase for me because I’ve got three little kids with the attention span of  goldfish, and the energy of puppies. Imagine them climbing over, under, and around me in our booth.  Truthfully, I would rather have dental work.   Understanding your personal value meter will stop the retailers from fooling you!

I feel honored that Kim trusts me with your time and attention, and hope you’ll consider where something lands on your value meter before you toss it into the cart.  You can always find me at moneymastermom.com if you’re looking for tools to better understand your value meter, or marketing man tricks, or find me on Twitter, I’d love to chat.

Kim’s Comments: Mandy figured it out a lot sooner than I did, but she is absolutely right about aligning your spending with your values. I value a trip with my family ten million times more than just about anything I could buy from a store.

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Great post Mandy!
    I hate all the marketing gimmicks that try to swindle you out of your money. You are absolutely right about the items being on sale and the only reason you buy it is because it’s 50% off. I used to fall for that more than I care to admit. I have since got much better 🙂

  2. Marketing is such a crazy field. They are fully aware that Americans love a good “deal!” I also used to watch Survivor and it was always fun to see them bid on food.

  3. Very good points Mandy. The sooner you learn to cut out the small stuff you don’t really need, the quicker you can afford the things that really matter.

  4. “I value a trip with my family ten million times more than just about anything I could buy from a store.”

    I totally agree with this! People we know think we are weirdos because we don’t spend money on anything yet go on 3-4 vacations a year. It’s all about what you value.

  5. Could not agree more, Mandy. We’re working through whether or not to go ahead with a big purchase (a $2K amplifier) right now, and how it aligns with our values is definitely a top consideration in this purchase. =)

  6. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

    haha I planned to check in a few times a day to reply to comments, but I have nothing to say, clearly you guys all rocking a value system, and maximizing those spending dollars! Hey Kim and Holly it’s less then a month before Derek and I take a kid free trip. I would’ve spent 3X more then I did….. it’s off the charts in terms of value 🙂 Now we just have to make sure we don’t come home with another one on the way. hahaha

  7. I can totally relate to the restaurant setting Mandy! We used to love eating out, but always feel like we’re bringing the insane asylum into a restaurant with our 5,3 and 10 month old. I totally agree tat purchases reflect your values. A good friend of ours says you can tell how someone values/prioritizes things by looking at their checkbook.

  8. Oh it’s sooo true, the DVD is a great example. Hubby is bad for that, he’ll look through books, DVDs etc and I’ll tell him you DON’T want that, just walk away! Great Post!

  9. I think if you saw our budget it would reflect highly of our values: giving, mortgage payments, and the love for student loan debt. lol.

    • Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

      Those expenditures speak to your values
      Giving – that’s a pretty cool value
      Mortgage – this says a ton about values. Is it modest? Do you value security and a warm/dry place to sleep, and building a financial nest egg. If it’s excessive perhaps you value the statement of wealth your it makes.
      Student loans are evidence of valuing education, or maybe not knowing what to do when you were 18 and finished highschool 🙂

  10. One of my pet peeves was going out for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s or Father’s Day and birthdays. So I changed my spending to reflect my values. I brought Valentine’s Day in as a start and spent less, but it was more romantic. Mother’s and Father’s Days were spent at home with one of the children making brunch. It was far more enjoyable and much more personal. Birthdays were shared at a special meal out since our birthdays are close. This year we went away for our birthdays. It wasn’t the amount of money, but how I spent it.

    • Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

      I love that you cut an expense that was a societal expectation rather than a truly valued activity. You’re a ROCK STAR!

  11. I try to get as much use as possible out of something and my purchases reflect that. I still have 32″ TV in the family room purchased in 1997 because it still gets the job done.

    • Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

      Nice, I still have a flip style pay as you go cell phone because it still get’s the job done – considering it’s job is contacting someone in case of an emergency:)

  12. I found myself nodding my head with every paragraph — yes, yes, yes! Spend according to your values, and the rest doesn’t matter. Well, as long as you’re spending money you have rather than borrowing from your future self!

    • Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

      Awesome addition Kathleen. Some people might rationalize spending beyond their means because it’s really important or of high value. If it’s that important find a way to make more money, and stop digging a hole for future you. I think you’ve inspired a post here…. better get writing while the inspiration is flowing 🙂

  13. Perfect post Mandy. Since I am in the marketing field, I know exactly how these gimmicks play out. I create them for retailers online. I hope no one thinks bad of me now, but I am just good at it. I can make you think you “need” something and then give you a deal so you will buy it. You have to have will power and a little bit of knowledge to understand what you actually need to purchase and what you value.

  14. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

    Don’t worry Grayson, I’ll still be your friend 🙂

  15. Making sure my purchases reflect my values is something that I constantly work to achieve. I value quality and effort that is put into organic, locally grown, and non-GMO foods. Making a point to only consume these can be difficult if they are more expensive and harder to come by than other conventionally produced foods. It’s a cost-benefit compromise that I struggle with.

  16. I totally agree about a good deal making my day!
    I am so happy that I can put my money where my mouth is on a lot of things. I wish we had more allocated to travel, though thankfully it is an increased amount over previous years.

  17. Great post Mandy! I use to fall for every marketing trick especially infommericals on a Sunday morning. Remember the Magic Bullet?

    Lately my husband and I have had some things break and we have really had to question whether we needed to replace them or not. That is a big change for us because in the past we would have just headed out and spent the money.

  18. “If you didn’t plan on buying the DVD before you got to the store the only thing you’ve accomplished is parting with $5 that used to be in your wallet. Score one for the retailers”

    That about sums it up for me! I really hate this when it happens! It has been happening less and less as I am on to them!

  19. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

    haha We have a magic bullet, we love it. It comes on vacation with us.

  20. If I want to buy something I usually wait a month or so before pulling the trigger. If I still want it in a month I suppose it’s what you would call a high value buy. To me DVDs are a waste of money. I only watch them once, if that and the money is blown. I suppose $5 is cheaper than going to the movies, but there are cheaper ways (that are perfectly legal).

  21. Great post Mandy. I like to think that my spending reflects my values, although sometimes people can influence me. I would chose to buy from the convenience store just to stop a rant from my BF that he doesn’t want to lose half an hour going through the supermarket aisles.

  22. Great Post Mandy. Mrs.CBB still has the old style cell phone and has no plans to upgrade to a data plan type phone. I think we all fall for marketing ploys no matter if we want to believe we do or don’t. Marketing is all around us in everything we do, see, touch, eat etc and like you said it’s all about what we value. I agree that when you go into a store and if you get something that wasn’t on your list you just bought the deal. I’ve fallen for that but sometimes that deal saves me money down the road so again it’s about values. Lots to ponder! Cheers Mr.CBB

  23. Buying something that previously wasn’t needed because it’s a “great deal” is a bad habit of my mother that drives me crazy.

  24. Mandy - Money Master Mom

    Edward, I think our moms were separated at birth. My mom has a bad habit of buying `deals` and then finding some far fetched idea why it`s the perfect birthday, or Christmas gift for someone. I love her A LOT, but I wish she`d read my blog and save her cash 🙂

  25. Great article, Mandy. I am a huge proponent of making value-based decisions. It is one of the best things you can do, personally, and teach your children to do! It really does make it so much easier to put things back on the shelf and not feel that like you had to deny yourself anything.

  26. This is one reason that I make sure to mention all of my small purchases with my fiancee. Of course we do allow ourselves our budgeted fun money that we can largely do whatever we want within those confines. However sometimes I do make dumb purchases.

    By relaying to her what I bought no matter how small it gives great feedback on where my spending values are. I ask myself, if I were to show her what I bought, would I be embarrassed? If so, it may have to be returned.

    Of course this does not prevent me from buying things that are purely for fleeting enjoyment or unnecessary hoarding, again inline with what is in the fun money budget.

  27. I try to keep my spending in line with my values and things that are important to me. For groceries, that often means $8 on nice local cheese, but buying the cheapest brand of ketchup or beans. For larger purchases, it usually just means NOT buying it – I could care less about big TVs or fancy mixers… I’d rather buy more wine! lol

    • A good deal leads to me feeling fantastic! I do think that it reflects your values. The types of things you buy shows what’s important to you. If you’re trying to impress your friends, saving to afford those items is your insurance you won’t go into debt to impress someone.

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