I’ve been reviewing next year’s family budget. There are four categories where I have a lot of discretion: donations, date nights, couple retreats and vacations.
Donations/Gifting: Halfway through year, it was looking like I would have to borrow to maintain my preferred gifting rate. I hate borrowing so I cut the budget in half.
Late in the year, we sold our house and I was able to hit our original goal.
It wasn’t until I played The Dollar Game that I started to understand the physiological and psychological benefits of being open to other people.
I like having a formal budget. I never have to consider if I can “afford” to be open to another person. I know that I can always help someone, at least a little bit. As well, when I feel that I’ve been ripped off, I tell myself that the money came out of my gifting allocation and I move on.
Vacations: For a long time, I’ve wanted to ride my bike to the top of Haleakala in Maui. At an elevation of 10,023 feet, the volcano is a biggie.
So I added a Maui vacation to my 2015 budget.
When I ran the numbers for airfare, childcare, condo rental… climbing the volcano was going to cost me close to $1 per vertical foot.
My Colorado price per vertical foot is a penny!
If my goal is satisfaction and a life with meaning… is the Maui trip the best use of the money?
Does short-term luxury lead to satisfaction across a year? Maybe if I take a lot of pictures!
I made a list of alternatives…
- Get 2,000 $5 notes and play a massive $5 version of The Dollar Game – gets rid of my worry that a dollar isn’t enough to help – that’s a big stack of cash
- Sponsor 100 people for The Dollar Game – I ruled that one out because the effect doesn’t seem to work with someone else’s money
- Build 15 homes in the developing world
- Overtip all year – feel like a big shot – own the fact that my desire to climb the volcano is the ego-picture from the summit
- Sponsor a teaching assistant for my daughter’s kindergarten class so the little people learn more quickly – guaranteed kudos
- Buy 30 iPads for the school – additional kudos, perhaps more if done anonymously, to appear humble
- Increase my giving budget – open my heart more often, to more people
Once you start frequent, small gifts – it turns out that the person that you’re helping the most is yourself.
I don’t regret my inefficiencies. I’m sure that I’d love the trip to Maui.
Luxury spending doesn’t have the staying power of an open heart.