The Practice of Money Decisions – 3 personal stories

written by Bari Tessler October 25, 2022
The Practice of Money Decisions

Dear Money Adventurer,

It was a typical night in the Tessler-Linden household, a few weeks ago, when an impromptu money date with my husband resulted in a change of plans for our family.

You see, we have fallen in love with a charming Adobe in Taos. It is perfectly positioned amongst the sage of the high desert and conveniently only a mile down the road from the land we finally closed on just one month ago. It’s the space that held us as that old dream came back to life.

We’ve been spending a lot of time there as a family, exploring, discovering, and dreaming of the future. We were even planning on spending some time there in December over the holidays. Except, as it turns out, the holidays at our delightful Adobe are twice the price.

Which is how Forest and I found ourselves on a spontaneous money date in our bedroom, reviewing our numbers, and trying to decide whether paying that increased price felt like a good money decision for us right now.

I had my heart set on those holidays in Taos, but it would have meant that we needed to spend the next few months in hustle mode–and we would rather feel at ease.

Also, it simply felt wrong that the same rental was double in price simply because it was the holidays. (I need to remember to never do this if we ever choose to rent our place).

So we canceled the trip.

It felt like a very sober decision, but it also felt right and good for us. By choosing not to pay twice the price for our adored Adobe, we have the freedom to move our money around a little more. I can commit to donating more to support causes close to my heart, like single moms and animal rescues, which feels so good to me. And Noah, our son, can spend more time skiing this winter like he wants to. So we’re staying home and spending that money in other ways that feel more aligned and in tune with our goals and values right now.

Around this time last year, though, we found ourselves making a very different money decision. We’d been living in our townhouse for about 6 years at the time, me, Forest, our growing child, and 3 cats. Needless to say, the carpets were a little worse for wear. So we saved up to replace them, and the time had come.

The thing was, after a year and a half of pandemic living, new carpets weren’t ranking very high on my list of priorities anymore. I wanted to give my family an experience. I realized I would rather be a woman who takes her family to Barcelona than the lady with nice carpets.

Of course, Forest and I talked through the numbers, and how this decision would impact our short-term and long-term money goals. We had a money date, did our body check-ins…and chose Barcelona over new carpets.

It turned out to be one of the best money decisions we’ve made, totally aligned with our values and our dreams. It was an incredible trip full of exciting experiences and family bonding time. And those new carpets would have been a constant battle to keep clean since we’ve added our pup, Blue, to the family.

Which reminds me of a long-ago money decision Forest and I made fifteen years ago, shortly after another new addition, our son Noah, was born. Fourteen years ago, we were still renting, years away from buying our townhome. We’d gone to look at a place that cost more than we had been paying in rent, and I knew it was for us.

I had a sense that this beautiful, new space was a sign of things to come, and that it would help us move into the next level in our lives and our businesses. Forest was scared of making the expenditure, but I just had a feeling. He calls me “Freight Train Bari” when I decide I want something, and I wanted this for both of us.

We moved in not too long after that fateful viewing. Within a few months, Forest was offered a new job, complete with a higher salary than he had ever earned before.

In each one of these money decision-making stories, these little life and money vignettes of mine, our plans took an unexpected turn.

Sometimes the money decisions we make are slow and carefully calculated. Other times they are intuitive and almost immediate. And sometimes, we find ourselves on the cusp of the moment we have been waiting for, and planning for, yet, when we tune into ourselves, we find that what feels right is something different altogether.

So, we adjust course, change plans, and decide instead to find our way to alignment.

Just like your money journey, and your money emotions, money decisions aren’t always just about the money. They’re about tuning into the reality of the moment, the wisdom of your body, your values, and your money situation to make choices that support your dreams, goals, and the authentic, meaningful relationship you’re building with money in your own life.

Wherever this finds you in your life and money decisions, please be gentle with yourself here. Give yourself permission to learn and grow, one step, one body check-in, one money decision at a time.

With my dearest wishes,

P.S. My new Art of Money Workbook is now available everywhere online and in many local bookstores as well.

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