I read an interesting article on what your budget says about your values at My Money And My Life (from the beginning of the summer), so I decided to examine my own budget in this light.
Here are my budget items in order from the most expensive to the least. Let's see what that says about my values.
1. Home - my home mortgage is our highest expense. Add in all the utilities and this expense is almost triple our next highest expense. I am okay with this being our highest expense. I put great value on my home and my home life. Family is very important to me and our family time is spent together at home.
2. Debts - our monthly debt payments are our next highest expense. While I think this shows how much we currently value becoming debt free, I am not happy about what this says about our past values. I'm afraid we placed too much value on things and instant gratification in the past. We are on our way to fixing this.
3. Activities/Gifts/Entertainment/Dining Out/Blow Money - While this may seem like a rather catch all category, I could summarize it as "Fun". And while I think we probably need to lowers this category in order to increase "Prepare For The Future" (college, retirement, fully funded emergency fund, etc.), I am okay with this category being somewhere near the top. Enjoying your life is kind of the point of everything, isn't it? (Once the debts are paid off, that money will go mostly to the future anyway.)
4. Food & Car Expenses are about tied in 4th place. I value food waaaay more than cars, but some food expenses are included above in the Fun category, so I guess I am spending more on food than on cars - phew!
Well, it seems that our budget is fairly well aligned with our values. The glaring problems with the current state of things is even having a need for the Debts category - and the lack of a category for Planning For The Future. These will both be resolved once we become debt free.
Take a look at your own budget and see how in line it is with your values.