It may seem strange, but one of the things that really got me thinking about personal finance issues the other day was the third email I got regarding the movie The Golden Compass. It is coming out this Friday, and there are plenty of people circulating emails telling me not to see it. So I started thinking about where I spend my money.
What you decide to spend your money on is essential in any discussion of personal finance issues. Your priorities determine where the money goes, how much you have left over and even your level of debt. My spending priorities are as follows:
- Tithe to church
- Bills/financial obligations
- Food and gas
- “Extras” and fun stuff
- Long term “wants”
Obviously, a ticket to see The Golden Compass is in category #6. And, happily, I have enough money to go see it this weekend if I want.
Your list probably looks different from mine. And that’s the point of personal finance priorities. You sort out what’s important to you, and that’s where you want to put your money. I have savings and retirement ahead of food and gas because I have a budget that allows for it. And under “food” there are treats and what-not. If I don’t have the money to make extra trips in the car, I ride the bus. But I go down my list, and if I don’t have the money for it, it doesn’t get bought.
The personal finance priorities list goes hand-in-hand with a budget. When I made my list, I made sure that I had money for the essentials of food and gas to get my husband to work by the time I got down that far. And as long as you stick to your budget, and the priorities list, you should be well on your way to better finances.