Despite the months seeming to roll by enormously quickly, I can’t believe it’s only been two months since I embarked upon my little project to record all the cash I spent. It seems like ages ago, although the weather today isn’t dissimilar to the balmy July temperature when it began. In the month that’s passed since, I’ve had time to reflect on what I learnt from noting every penny and one big change has now been put into effect: I withdrew £40 less for the weeks ahead as I haven’t made a beautician’s appointment. This may not be a permanent change, as I do enjoy her visits, but I need a break to think about it. Having to admit that I spent that much every four weeks seemed to jar against my feminist principles. I know all the debates about women and beauty as I research this area and have serious doubts that I need to think through about what is my choice and pleasure and what is social expectation.
There is also a clash with my values in other ways. I’m not so puritanical that I want to deny all indulgences – far from it – but I do want to make sure that my use of money accords with what I feel is important. A key goal in my life is to give 10% of my income to charity. At present, I’m way off that, giving around 2.5%. I’d really like to increase it to 5% next year, then 7.5% in 2013 and hitting my target in 2014. With a bit of rejigging, next year’s increase is possible and the £40 beauty money per month could help with that. I guess it’s a case of judging which is my priority, which means more to me, and I know full well the answer is charitable giving. So I’ve made that change, even if I choose to have the odd treatment in future.
As if to support me in making this decision, on the same day that I withdraw less cash I also read encouragement in this direction in the book I’m reading. In “The Art of Non-conformity”, Chris Guillebeau clearly states on several occasions that it is essential to make your money chime with your values. Some other things in the book I don’t agree with, but I’m with him all the way to the ATM on this one.