The last ridiculous thing I bought was a copy of a record by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. They had a jazzy-slash-mariachi-slash-70s-game-show-music thing happening.
(If you’re the especially curious type, head to Spotify and look up “Spanish Flea.” It’ll be stuck in your head for days. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
In 1965, they made a record called “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.” And, in 1989, my parents still had a copy in their vinyl collection. There was a woman on the cover wearing a dress made entirely of whipped cream.
I know…insert the blushing emoji here.
When I was eight, I didn’t know that was strange. I just knew whipped cream was delicious and wished all my clothes were made of whipped cream, too.
The point isn’t the strange things people did in the 60s or the weird things I thought were cool when I was eight. The point is, yesterday I bought that record with the quirky cover art. It was only $12. A measly 12 bucks to relive a strange but sweet moment from my childhood and maybe even give my future kids dreams of making their own whipped cream outfits.
It was only $12. I didn’t have to check with anybody first. Nobody would be mad that I spent it. And it’s likely no one will ever ask me if it was a good idea to buy that old piece of vinyl.
But maybe someone should.
Now, I’m not saying buying that cheesy old record was a mistake. I bet I’ll get 12 dollars’ worth of joy from it. What I am saying is that, as a single independent woman (and don’t even try to tell me you’re not thinking of Beyoncé right now) it can be ridiculously easy for me to feel like the only money-related guideline I need to follow is, “If you have it, spend it how you like. If you don’t, just wait until you do.”
And, frankly, that rule has worked pretty well for me so far. Because of some good choices of my own (but probably mostly just luck), I don’t have any credit card debt. And because of the generosity of my parents and grandparents, I don’t have student loans. So even though I’m not swimming in a Scrooge McDuck-sized pool of gold coins, I do OK.
So maybe no one needs to ask me about how I spent that $12. But, at the very least, somebody should be able to. Because accountability in the way you spend isn’t just a “thing” once you’re married or have a certain income. It’s a “thing” if you’re a person who spends money…on anything. It’s a “thing” for people who are interested in freedom. It’s a “thing” for people who want to look more like Jesus. (And I do.)
Both hands up. Waaaaay up. I’m very interested in freedom. I used to think the definition of financial freedom was the ability to spend without thinking or asking permission, or being able to get the next round at the bar. But that really isn’t all that accurate. That sounds less like freedom to me and more like spending without a vision. Without purpose. That doesn’t sound like freedom anymore. That just sounds boring.
What if freedom looks like making sure my wallet aligns with my heart? That the things I value the most are the things I invest in the most? What would that look like? What would that feel like?
For me, it looks like automating the things that matter the most to me. Just like my Netflix subscription and Pure Barre membership come out of my bank account without me doing anything, so does my contribution to Crossroads. It’s not painful to give because it just…happens. Without having to swipe my credit card. Without evaluating whether it feels worth it that month or not. Without weighing whether I’d rather spend that money somewhere else.
The things we value the most get our attention no matter what. It’s true with our health, our friendships and, yeah, our money.
So ONE active and purposeful decision I made years ago is now perpetually and automatically supporting something I say is a big priority of mine — my faith. And that feels good. Because it means not being all talk. It means that the things I say are important to me are the same things I demonstrate are important to me.
That feels like a weight lifted. That feels like freedom.
So, yeah, maybe no one needs to ask me about the $12 I spent on the girl in the whipped cream dress. But maybe someone should.