I’ve been getting a lot of flack for how much I spend lately. I’ve been told I spend too much on a cause I’m involved with. I’ve been told I spend too much on going to the spa. I’ve been told I spend too much on travel.

It’s true that I like spending money, but just because I’m spending money doesn’t mean that I’m being totally irresponsible with my finances. What’s actually important is to figure out what really matters to you and your future.

So take a step back and reconsider what you’re spending money on.

Once I did that, I realize that while I spend what other people might consider more than I should – or that I spend money on things that I shouldn’t – the reality is that I’m still okay because I pay myself first.

Committed to My Future

Before I have my nails done or take my son out for the weekend, I pay myself first. The very first items that come out of my pay are:

  • Needs (housing, groceries, insurance, etc.)
  • Retirement account contribution (Roth IRA and 401k as well)
  • Emergency fund contribution (kept in a taxable investment account)
  • Charity and causes I’m interested in
  • My son’s education (529) and extracurriculars
  • Travel fund

Following this approach allows me to shore up my financial future before I spend a lot of money on other things. So even though I spend money on a bunch of stuff that isn’t necessary (and it really isn’t necessary), I only do it with money that hasn’t been earmarked for my future. Most of my financial commitments are automated, so it’s easy for me to make…

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