Friends, today I have a special treat for you from a good friend of mine: Brigitte of Covet Chicago who writes on living a creative, intentional life. She began a 6 week series last Fall called Warm Soft Money that is changing the way I think about money, budgeting and spending based on my core values. Brigitte offers up a "unique process for managing your personal finances that will help you save for your big goals and eliminate guilt in spending."
Here are some questions I asked Brigitte to find out how she personally felt about this captivating series:
1. As a writer and blogger on intentional living what ignited the initial idea for starting such a series?
The idea for Warm Soft Money rattled about my brain for nearly a year before I settled on the format for the series. My husband and I typically undertake the process in February, which is when he finds out if he’ll receive a raise for the year. Last February, I was still focused on interior design, so I wasn’t sure how to make the topic fit. When I re-imagined the blog this Fall, I spent a lot of time examining my life and what experiences have shaped my transformation from pessimist to optimist. Values-based budgeting was one of those things.
After a few false starts, I sat down and outlined the steps to the process. I’ve read a few personal finance blogs, so I knew it was unique. And I stand behind the central concept – a values-based approach to budgeting creates balance in your life.
2. You began the Warm Soft Money series by talking about values and assigning amounts to these core values/goals. How has this method proved affective in your own life?
I try to keep my core values central in everything I do. If you tease them out until you get at the very foundation of what you live for, it brings incredible clarity and comfort…a touchpoint if you will.
When our actions contradict our values, we create friction. And, especially in the U.S., nothing reflects what we value more than how we spend our most limited resources: our money and our time. Most values-based models focus exclusively on time, which, frankly, is a cop-out.
Ok, end rant! Warm Soft Money has helped me remove gushing cuts in my budget, places where I was spending money that didn’t bring any return of joy, and re-allocate my cash to support my priorities.
3. With a New Year upon us and many of us stirring with creative energy, how would you say Warm Soft Money works differently for creative (artistic right-brained) types than other budgeting strategies? What would you say are the advantages of a Warm Soft approach?
Gosh, what a question! Artists and creative types tend to have a very complicated relationship with money. But cash isn’t the enemy – mindless consumption is.
The Warm Soft Money approach to budgeting is different than your average bear, because it’s all about nourishment. I call shenanigans on the notion that “money can’t buy happiness.” Sure, money on its own, piling up in your bank account or in a tin can will never bring you joy. But, it’s a resource. One you can use mindfully to support your goals.
4. What was your favorite part of the series as a whole? What did you learn from presenting it in this way on your blog?
The reader participation, absolutely. When people started sharing their personal mission statements, I was totally blown away. I ended up writing additional posts to highlight readers…what they learned, their fears, their values. Reading through it again now gives me the warm fuzzies.
But, I also learned from the feedback that came in. To me, the initial portion of the process is the most difficult – sussing out your values. But I found that readers responded to that part more enthusiastically and shied away once we started talking numbers. I’m currently looking at the last two steps to see how I might enhance them in some way to ease that tension, which I’ll offer in a free PDF.
5. After a well planned and carefully orchestrated 6 week series, where do you find yourself now with Warm Soft Money?
Aww…thank you! I’m stepping back from it, so that I can look at it with fresh eyes and see how I can make the final PDF even better.
6. Can we expect any more from you on this subject?
Absolutely! I have a list of related topics that didn’t quite fit, so I’d love to continue writing about using your cash to nourish your values. I think it’s an important message, especially here in the U.S., where we’re constantly bombarded with messages that tell us to consume, consume, consume. Sure, buy away…but there’s power in aligning your budget with your core values.
(For more insight you can read this article Brigitte wrote this week for When I Grow Up Coach)
image: via sfgirlbybay