New Year, New Blog

 Biking off to our future of blogging...

Biking off to our future of blogging...

by Kate

Welcome to Spend Your Values!

We decided to start a blog. It’s about God and money. Faith and finances. Praying and spending. Saving and giving.

We are Kate and Alex – two 20- and 30- somethings with jobs and a dog who got married a while ago and really like to play ultimate Frisbee. We’ll both be writing posts, sometimes collaborating and sometimes not.

Alex and I bring completely different knowledge-sets to our relationship. I bring 3 degrees in religion, a lifetime of evangelical angst, and a fascination with metaphors, symbols, and literary analysis. Alex brought a creative financial sense and a love of spreadsheets, a degree in economics, and an uber-strategic and literal approach to life, money, and faith. Alex whipped our finances into shape, taught me about tax-deferred accounts and diversification, and started a Mint.com account. I picked out churches for us to try out, made us read daily prayers from A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie, and put up a paint-by-number picture of Jesus above the desk.

Basically, we’re both interested in God and money, and we approach the world pretty differently.

As we’ve been working our way through life we’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the question of “how to live?” and “what does our Christian life look like?” We both love the game of maximizing our resources, time, and health so we are exploring simplicity and clean eating and smart housing and bike commuting and maybe one day even yoga. We try to teach ourselves new skills and hobbies (to varying degrees of success). We read different translations of the Bible and talk about parables with our church small group. We fiercely try to make deliberate decisions and question the status quo (Alex from a philosophy of optimization and myself from a philosophy of “stick it to the Man!” inherited from my mother).

We’ve found a million and one sources to learn about every one of these activities/strategies/ideas/issues that help us figure out how we want to live in this world. Except we couldn’t find anything that fully answered our questions about how to integrate our two favorite topics, our two sets of knowledge, and two major major major parts of our lives – how should we spend/save/give our money as Christians?

One of our convictions about living a Christian life is that every part of our life matters. It’s not just our thoughts and prayers and free time that we want to square away with God, but our spending habits and investment options and cash flow. But there is so much to think about! So much information about financial planning and so much to synthesize with our faith and so many questions where the best answers we can find always end up being “you have to figure it out for yourself.”

To help us organize our thoughts into some semblance of order we decided to chronicle our question-following in this blog. Researching, writing, and teaching are some of the best ways to learn something for yourself, so we hope that writing this blog will help us un-tangle our own ideas and unpack our own confusions and figure out how to put feet on our faith.

We’ll be writing about both faith and finances and all the threads that connect the two. Alex is excited to delve into the nitty-gritty of financial planning, investing, budgeting, and just generally how to think about money. Because money talk and financial language doesn’t come as naturally to me, I plan to boil the numbers talk down to the most simple and straightforward explanations possible. I also can’t wait to examine how our values inform our finances, what the Bible says about money, why Christians can’t seem to stop using empty aphorisms when talking about money, and what in the world “stewardship” actually means. We’ll collect resources, book reviews, snappy quotes, and anything that has inspired us on our own journey. We’ll probably make up unusual metaphors about money and take pictures of my Jesus figurine with the glow in the dark hands.

We’ll try to avoid posts about the macrame plant hanger I want to make and vacations we’re planning, but we may not be able to resist a post or two about interesting life hacks we’ve tried, our plans for creating an “active house,” or the best expense tracker on the interwebs. 

We’re just two people trying to figure out how to spend our values, but (like most things in the Christian life) it is best done in community, so we would love to connect with like-minded folks who have thought through these questions or have questions of their own. We’d love to figure this out together. Onward we go!