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Should I spend money on that? How to decide…

Money DecisionMy son Caden turns ONE tomorrow.

We are having a family birthday party for him, but this is a lot easier said than done because we have big families. And when we made the invite list of 35+ people all I could see was stress and a lot of work.

So my husband and I started brainstorming on how we could make the party as stress free as possible. One idea that he threw out was having the party catered.

Catered? That sounds lovely, indulgent, and expensive.

As I sat with the idea, I knew that the right answer to this question would be found in my three resource buckets.

Time. Energy. Money.

Time, energy and money are the resources that we have available to us. Think of them each as their own bucket, with water filled half way. When you are using your resources effectively they are balanced, no bucket is empty or depleted for the sake of another.

So to answer this catering question I did an inventory of my resources. Time, I have some of that. Energy, I have some of that. Money? I’m a little protective of that at the moment, after only working part time this past year.

My time and energy buckets felt more fluid, room to give. So the answer was clear, no catering (maybe another year!) I would use my time and energy resources to cook the food myself. And I felt good about it. Even excited. I can pull this off!

Now, if this same question would have been asked of me 6 months ago when I wasn’t getting any sleep and had no energy, it might have been a different answer. Your resource balance shifts constantly and its up to you to check in to know where you stand in the moment.

Often clients come to me when their money bucket is depleted. They are running on empty and looking for guidance on how to refill their money resources. This usually means they need to look to their time and energy resources to help refill their money bucket.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

– Dip into your time bucket and cook more with the family.
– Dip into your energy bucket and get creative with date night.
– Cancel the housekeeper and the lawn guy and do it yourself.

You get the idea.

Let the bucket metaphor guide your decision making process. Find the answers with clarity and confidence. Sometimes, your going to need the catering and sometimes you won’t.

I loved the way this concept was explained in Bari Tessler’s new book The Art of Money. I highly recommend it as a resource for anyone working on their relationship to money.