Better the poor walking in integrity than one perverse of speech who is a fool. Desire without knowledge is not good, and one who moves too hurriedly misses the way.
– Proverbs 19:1-2 (NRSV)

Taking control of your finances starts with determining your values. Once you know what truly gives you purpose, you can sort through all of the other aspects of your life that may be draining your energy, your time, and your money. Invest in your values.

Whether you’ve taken a Christian Ethics course yet or not, you should take time to evaluate your personal values. Although often considered synonymous with “morals” or “ethics,” “values” are actually closer to “purpose.” Your values define who you are as a person and should influence your actions (ethics) and determine your priorities (morals). You can have many values; some may be more important than others. This is why it is helpful to write down your values; seeing them on paper may assist you in prioritizing them.

Before you begin budgeting, determining your values helps weed out unnecessary line items. Especially if you know you will be working with a tight budget, sticking to your most foundational values will give you direction as to what may need to be removed or replaced in your budget.

Don’t Know Where to Begin?

Anne Loehr of The Huffington Post can guide you through the basics of identifying and defining your values in her blog post, “How to Live With Purpose, Identify Your Values and Improve Your Leadership.”

Rebecca Shern — a registered dietician and lifestyle coach — of Minimal Wellness may help you understand how to prioritize your values by reading her blog here. Her site also includes a free downloadable worksheet to help you organize your values.