I shared on Instagram recently a post that Gretchen Rubin had written (taking concepts from her book, The Happiness Project), entitled,
"7 tips for how money can buy you happiness"
I've written a lot over the years about spending wisely, thoughtfully, holding back, slowing down, and really considering, "Do I want to spend money on this [insert item, service, etc. here]?" I still think that this line of thinking is crucial — a necessary counter to the bombardment of our culture towards buy-buy-buy.
But, Gretchen was tackling the question from a different angle: yes, being thoughtful; but, actually with a focus on the positives of actually spending the money.
One of the chapters in her The Happiness Project book is all about money, and I was particularly grabbed by the idea of "spending out".
You're familiar with the concept, certainly (if perhaps by another term): Instead of saving the elegant linens or personalized stationery for a special occasion, using them for any occasion!
"As part of my happiness project I wanted to stop hoarding, to trust in abundance, so that I could use things up, give things away, throw things away. Not only that — I wanted to stop worrying so much about keeping score and profit and loss. I wanted to spend out."
There is a real freedom in the release of the scarcity mentality (I'm going to run out!), but I think it takes a big mental shift, too.
This was one of my main curiosities about Emily Teo's reflections on her family's travel life: how do you go from being so diligent with money (in your everyday life) to spending so much money?! (inevitable on vacation)
Her answer, and the answer from my budgeting system YNAB, is that having boundaries is actually for freedom's sake, not to be oppressed. Creating a budget line for vacation, or being more aware of your inflow/outflow isn't about creating a rule you have to follow, but more like opening up a sandbox in which you can play. An allowance to spend out without worrying about scarcity.
The concept of spending out is not just for fancy possessions, but can be applied to: ideas, energy, time, generosity... many things that we hold onto.
What do you think of the idea of "spending out"? Is this a mentality that comes to you naturally or is it super counter-personality (hands up, enneagram 5s 🙋). Share your thoughts below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org !