One of my priorities this year is to review our budget. Not my favorite activity. And I sensed my resistance to engage with the task as I kept bumping it off my to-do list day after day. To give you a glimpse into my attitude about money, I recall an assessment I found a number of years ago that described my “money personality.” Unsurprisingly, I came out as having an ambivalent relationship toward the green stuff. I just don’t care about it, nor think about it—that is until there’s not enough. Then I hit the alarm switch to anxiety.
As I became aware of my lack of energy to take a closer look at the numbers, I decided to start by re-framing the activity through something I do care a great deal about; growing in my capacity to give and receive Love. And while there are still numbers to look at, interpret and adjust to, what emerged has added some positive energy to my ambivalent feelings. I realize it’s not as sexy as a Valentine’s Day wish or box of chocolates or flowers, but on this day devoted to love, might we consider bringing a little heart to how we approach our budgeting?
Here are some of the items I included. What would yours include?
All monies spent would bring pleasure to the heart of God.
There will be room for spontaneous and planned generosity.
What we spend will delight each individual in our family.
Necessities will be kept to a minimum. Our conservation starts here.
In our spending, we will seek to do as little harm as possible—to the environment, to the least of these, to the future.
Our budget will reflect and express our values, especially to create, commune and contribute.
It will ensure we are a blessing and not a burden.
Love is specific and detailed, but not nit-picky. We will not be obsessive or concerned with the minutiae and count pennies.
Income will be derived from sources that bring us joy and don’t require over-working or over-functioning.
We will be generous in our compensation for others.
We will seek to operate from a stance of abundance, not scarcity.
We will explore and invite bartering and non-monetary exchanges that liberate us and others from the limits of money based economics.
We will have periodic points of review together.
We will practice intentional discernment, especially regarding expenditures of a certain determined dollar amount.
May Saint Valentine guide you this day into regions of the heart beyond romance and inspire you to practice love in all you do. Could it be that you will then find not only that you are a blessing, but your budget is one too?