Know Your Priorities So You Won’t Overspend

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home kids mama

Life, as we know it, is a limited resource. So, is money. It matters how we spend our lives. It matters how we spend our money.

Over the last five months or so we’ve been talking about both. About dreaming big dreams. About using our resources wisely. About making our lives reflect what we truly want and believe about this world.

More often than not, we put our money where our priorities are: clothes, cars, vacations, baubles and trinkets. Oh we might not think that those are our priorities, but they are. We know they are because we’re willing to put the cold hard cash behind those things.

But, would you really trade a new car for a great relationship with your child? Is a new purse really more important than memories you can make with simply your time?

I think we all know the answers to those questions. But, the hard honest truth is that the tangible things we pursue often seem more real than the things that we truly value.

My dad worked a lot when I was a child. He worked hard to provide for our family and to make sure there was the means to support his wife and five kids. He’s the first to admit that he might have missed out on important things when we were younger.


I get that now. I didn’t then. But, I do now. Life can be crazy and stressful. The tyranny of the urgent can crowd out the more important things like reading stories, playing a card game, or riding bikes together.

But, we don’t have to let it. We can be intentional. We can let our true hopes and dreams guide the way we spend our time and money.

Vanguard approached me recently to talk about their new site, It’s a site that “encourages people to figure out what they’re really investing for and create their own Life Ticker™. Our hope is that people will turn away from the stock ticker and from daily market ups and downs and instead spend time and emotional energy on the things that really matter to them.”

This resonates with me because it’s way too easy for me to get caught up in my to do list, to focus on the things that I think “have to” get done. I miss those little moments with my kids. To seek “balance” at all costs.

This summer I’m trying to be intentional with my goals so that I can improve my health, manage my time better, and ultimately enjoy my family more. The days are passing too quickly, and I’m afraid I will miss something. asks users to identify what’s trending up and down in their lives and then connects with Facebook to fill a Life Ticker with the images that matter most to them. It takes just a few minutes to create a personalized Life Ticker, which can then be shared through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email.

I created my own life ticker, and it was really fun to do it. I appreciated the photos that they had to choose from because I often don’t have the visuals to represent what I’m dreaming about.

life ticker

Some of the things that I want to drive my actions and my spending?

  • remember to play
  • preserve memories
  • enjoy good, healthy food on a budget
  • write
  • spend time in the kitchen with the kids
  • relax with the family
  • travel more
  • read
  • celebrate
  • help my kids
  • grow old with the love of my life
  • build a comfortable home
  • give more
  • be available
  • honor God

These are the things that are important to me. I want these to be the things that drive me, not more money in the bank account or a nicer car in the garage.

Creating a life ticker can be a great way for you to prioritize, to add fuel to your money saving stamina, to give purpose to your frugality, to remind you why you’re saving in the first place. There’s something bigger to all this.

Head on over to, see what others have created, and then create and share your own Life Ticker. It’s a great way to reset your sights on what’s most important.

What do YOU value most?

What do you want more of in your life? Share it in the comments.

This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

Disclosure: I have received compensation from Vanguard to share with you. All opinions are my own.

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  1. Thank you for the encouragement to put life into perspective. It’s not all a to-do list, like I want it to be sometimes. Relationships are most important, and the most important one being to Jesus Christ.

    I love your question, “would you really trade a new car for a great relationship with your child?” I saw this when I taught public school before having kids: teachers/moms working for more stuff, when it’s so important to be home with your kids. I have been blessed that I have done this. Blessings!

  2. It’s so easy to be misdirected by the tyranny of the urgent, like you said. Great post.

    Another benefit of knowing your priorities is that you’ll be able to make decisions more effectively. Being paralysed about decisions is not a way I like to spend my time, but knowing where I’m going helps me to decide and get on with life.

    Have you read Decisive by the Heath brothers? It’s a life-changer. ( See my review here:

    Because the problem is: you’ve first got to decide/discover what your priorities are! LOL

    1. Never heard of the book. My library, unfortunately, only has the audio…. Hmmm…

  3. It’s worth getting for your family and requiring it as a homeschool read. Teens have a lot of major decisions to make, and this book is wonderful for them as well as adults.

    We have a young friend who finds it so hard to make decisions that she’s asked me to tell her what to do. I gave her this book to read.