Step by Step Guide to Values Based Spending – EP 325

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Hesitating to buy a new car? Guilty of spending money on a latte on your way home? Discover guilt-free and unashamed spending habits through your own values. Learning how to spend with intention does not only benefit our finances but also our overall well-being and connections with other people. In this episode, Jen and Jill laid out the blueprint for values based spending and its significance in living an intentional frugal life.

You can value anything, but not everything. Nobody can tell you what is good to spend on and what is bad to spend on.


  • Books! You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on courses and coaching programs to learn how to improve your life and finances. All the wisdom you seek is in books! We love books and we know you do too. That’s why we’ve always had a Frugal Friends Book Club in some iteration. Our first piece of merch was a bookmark! So it’s with earth shattering excitement that we can announce WE’RE WRITING A BOOK! It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to traditionally publish a book and the fact that I get to do it with one of my best friends and we’re writing about a topic that will change so many lives is more than I could’ve imagined. Books, we love them and we hope you’ll love our book. 

What is Values Based Spending?

If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably heard Jen and Jill talk about “values based spending” frequently. Essentially, it means spending in alignment with what truly matters to you, not wasting money on things you don’t care about. It’s about recognizing that we can’t have everything, just as David Allen famously said, “You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything.”

When we prioritize our values in spending, we become more conscious of our choices and gain a better understanding of ourselves. This approach can alleviate financial guilt and shame. Sometimes, it means giving yourself permission to spend or cutting back without deprivation. Other times, it might lead to realizing that what you value most doesn’t require spending at all, fostering contentment, and discovering what is truly enough.

Why is Values Based Spending Important?

As we step into adulthood, we’re expected to handle spending wisely, even though no one really teaches us how. Jill stresses that spending is a skill, and without mastering it, cutting back alone won’t improve our financial situation much. However, learning this skill offers the freedom to spend without guilt and shame.

Though consumption is a natural part of life, Jen advises against excessive indulgence. When we learn to spend purposefully, it positively impacts not only our finances but also our overall well-being, helping us relate to and understand others better through a values-based financial perspective.

How Do You Practice Values Based Spending?

No one can fully master value-based spending as our values evolve with time, but we can practice it. Begin by examining where your money currently goes. Jill advises tracking your 90-day spending history with curiosity, not criticism. Analyze the triggers behind your spending and whether it aligns with your values. For example, consider if buying an iced latte is about spending time with a friend or merely a habit. Understand that spending itself is not the issue; the key is knowing why you’re doing it.

Review your transactions and identify those that didn’t fulfill your desired results or didn’t align with your true values. These could be purchases made under pressure, influenced by social media, or impulsive buys. Decide to avoid spending on such things in the future. While willpower is a starting point, it alone won’t lead to mastery. Embrace a mindset of curiosity and learn the mental and practical shortcuts to say no when it’s challenging. Jen emphasizes that this is an ongoing journey of learning, refining, and giving yourself permission to change your perspective.

Personal example of values based spending

Jill values community and beauty among many other things, and related to them are travel and renovating her house. She enjoys seeing new places and being in a beautiful space.

While Jen finds joy in spending time alone by getting an iced latte takeout and walking around places. Also, she loves feeling strong and good about her body, so paying money for gym memberships and other fitness programs greatly helps her.

Bill of The Week

Thank you Emily for sharing your bill about ordering routine preventative medicines for your furry friends and saving $145 annually!

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