How I’m Being More Intentional With My Money In A World That Doesn’t Reflect My Values
Financial self-care is all about using money in a way that aligns with our goals, priorities, and values. The idea is to understand that we are in control of our money. We should feel empowered by every financial decision we make. We want to be able to look at our bank statements without cringing at a single line item, even after going out on a Friday night with friends. Financial self-care means having confidence in our financial choices so we can become our best, happiest, most gratitude-filled selves.
Every money move we make is a decision, and we have the power to make that decision a positive, active one.
I’ve been on my own financial self-care journey for a couple of years now, carefully examining where I spend every dollar. But after watching protests happening across the globe, along with brand callouts on social media, I found myself diving in even deeper. I was shocked to learn that some of my favorite brands that catered to the Black community were run by white board rooms, and it broke my heart to read accounts of Black employees being ignored or silenced. I realized it’s not enough for me to feel aligned with a specific purchase. I also want to know that my money will go on to be used in a way that aligns with my values and serves my community.
There is a great deal of power in how you spend and use your money — and not just in your own life. We can use our money as a tool to cultivate some of the changes we would like to see in our communities, as well. We can support the people who need it most, we can back the organizations doing good work, and we can patronize restaurants and shops owned by disenfranchised communities.
As a Black woman, I’m used to tending to my community, whether it be my neighborhood, family, or Black people as a whole. Even with that experience, it’s difficult to keep track of where exactly my money goes. Companies get sold, I buy things in a pinch, or I don’t think to look for alternative brands to buy from instead. However, I have to find ways to stay aware so that I never give up my values in the name of convenience.
I realized it’s not enough for me to feel aligned with a specific purchase. I also want to know that my money will go on to be used in a way that aligns with my values and serves my community.
Practicing financial self-care means that we understand that every money move we make is a decision, and we have the power to make that decision a positive, active one. Our priorities do come into play, as there are a million factors that go into each purchase we make. Sometimes we truly cannot afford the smaller indie brand, but other times, we value convenience over anything else. We have to be willing to go out of our way to find places to use our money. For example, instead of purchasing artwork for our living spaces from the first big box store we come across, we could consider doing a search to find a Black artist selling prints.
As we move toward a more just world, we have to be willing to let go of some convenience. Maybe we can travel a little further or let go of free shipping if it means supporting a Black-owned brand. We can also consider redirecting some of our “wants.” I love ordering takeout, for example, but if I wanted to, I could dine out less and use that money to set up a sinking fund for charitable donations.
Moving forward, I am committing to practicing financial self-care to support my community. I’m going to start looking through my budget for any areas that I could cut back on and donate instead. I’m going to think about the products I buy and spend time looking into parent companies and owners. I’m going to research new places to go to happy hour, buy my clothes, and do my grocery shopping. I’m going to pay extra attention to individual donation requests I see on my Twitter scrolls, and I’ll buy coffee for students coming into my workplace. Most importantly, I’ll show myself grace and do my best to remember that even the smallest action is still an action. I’m not rich by any means, but my dollar has power as well. Even helping my family or donating my time is a powerful move. As long as I stay open to learning and reflecting those lessons in my actions, I’ll have no choice but to move forward.
The tricky part about financial self-care is that we must truly feel aligned to as many purchases as we can. If we support brands and organizations because we feel like we have to, we still can easily breed resentment towards money. If you don’t yet feel aligned with supporting Black businesses and organizations, ask yourself why. There could be a lack of education that keeps you from feeling compelled to rethink your spending. Engage with learning material, listen to Black people sharing their experiences, and pay attention to what you see around you. In today’s climate, there is so much information flowing about systemic racism present in the United States, there’s no excuse for not learning.
Maya Fleming is a writer, self-care enthusiast, and the host of Gentler podcast where she chats about post-grad adulthood and using self-care to enrich all areas of life, especially personal finances. She lives with her puppy, Ginger, in the DC area. You can follow her on Instagram.
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