Budget Decisions: How to Combine Your Heart and Mind

Spock

I admire Spock. He can make quick logical and rational decisions without any emotions. When I come to our family budget meeting I try to get my Spock Face on. I can’t let emotions rule our money, because I fear how I would give it all away or spend it all on myself. Numbers are logical, therefore I should be logical. Then I read a book like The Giver and realize that emotions are important, because they keep you from doing crazy immoral things. Basically, I fear two extremes. One extreme follows my mind and the other follows my heart. Both need to rule where the money goes, but how I strike the balance between the two?

Earlier this Summer Daniel and I needed to make a few financial decisions about some trips we were hoping to take this Summer. One practical bucket needed money, but we were also torn about going a fun trip with extended family. We also wanted to go see friends in other states. My mind knew the logical answer was to put money in the practical bucket. But my heart wanted to experience a super fun trip and see friends. Daniel and I both had a difficult time making this decision.

When we are at an impasse we ask ourselves one question:

What is our main goal?

It’s a brilliant question. Logically our money should go to whatever will get us closer to our main goal. This question satisfies my mind. Emotionally I want our goal to happen. This question also satisfies my heart, because the goal was formed by own heart’s desires. Asking myself what is my main goal combines both my mind and my heart when making a budget decision.

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In our case of the practical bucket versus super fun trip we asked ourselves, “What is our main goal?” If our main goal was to spend the Summer doing and seeing as much as could, then the answer would clearly be to go on the trips. However we agreed that our main goal is to learn Spanish and do a Digital Tentmaking trip to Spain. We both knew putting the money in the practical bucket would get us closer to Spain. We were finally able to agree on where to put our money.

Telling our family that we couldn’t travel with them wasn’t fun, but it felt good knowing that we are slowly getting closer to our goal.

If you don’t have a family goal or mission statement, then I strongly encourage you to dream together and create one. A lot of decisions can be made by simply answering, “Does this get us closer to our goal?” Kristen Welch has a formula on how to create a family mission statement at her blog We Are That Family. Simple Mom also has a series of questions you can answer with your spouse. If you are the investigator type Holley Gerth recommends the book, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life by Laurie Beth Jones.
Holley Gerth’s books are also great for formulas about goal creation.

Of course, Daniel and I don’t always agree immediately but we do eventually come to an agreement. There is chatter on the internet that money fights are a main cause of divorce or discord in a marriage. Focusing on a main goal brings unity and decreases the heartache of money fights. The next time you and your spouse are at an impasse about a major financial decision you can get back to logic and your heart by talking about your main goal.

Do you have a family mission statement or a goal?

Do you ever feel the tug between your heart and your mind when making major financial decisions?

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