The inside of the fridge is looking bare. There is a flimsy, half paper carton of eggs, a gallon of milk, dark purple grapes that are getting riper by the day, a thawing bag of beef chili, and a dark green spring leaf salad. Although it may not look like much, there's enough to last until the next grocery shopping day. The eggs will become egg soboro with help from the white rice in the pantry. The eggs and milk when mixed with flour and other pantry ingredients can become waffles. The beef chili and salad is dinner.
Over the last few months, I've been becoming more creative with money, not only in the way I spend it, but also with the way I save it. How I shop for food involves both. I have to not only think about what kinds of meals can save money, but also how to best spend the money that's available.
In the Socionics personality type theory, there is the concept of the Positivist. Personality types that fall into the Positivist category are aware of what's present. They tend to look at what can be done instead of what can't and maintain a "We can do this" attitude. The INFP personality type falls into this category, and I identify with that.
Using money creatively is about focusing on what you have over what you don't have. It involves seeing what's important to you and what you enjoy. It's about spending money in a way that furthers those interests, and it also involves being aware of what you can create. Being aware of what I have and what I can create are up there my favorite things to think about.
Recently, I've fallen in love with making golden milk. One of the main ingredients of golden milk is ghee. Ghee--ghee that tastes really good--can be expensive. One day I found myself in the situation of not having enough ghee to make golden milk, and I didn't have the money available to buy it either. I was trying to save up for something that was more important to me. As I was debating if I should just spend the money and fall short of my financial goals, I remembered what I already have.
The other month, I accidentally bought an extra pack of butter. It was one of those situations where I already had a new unopened pack in the fridge, but I forgot about it. So I went out and bought another one. Anyways, I was thrilled when I remembered my mistake because I could use the butter to make ghee myself. However, it was salted butter, and most ghee recipes call for unsalted butter. I hit the internet to see if the ghee would turn out okay if I made it with what I had.
The answer was that the ghee would turn out fine, even if I used salted butter. On top of that, many people mentioned how Kerry Gold is a great brand of butter to make ghee with. And guess what? That was the brand I had.
I dumped all of the extra butter I bought into a small sauce pan on the stove. I watched it bubble, becoming a frothy white on the top, and then separating into its natural parts. I was thrilled to see that it had turned out so well. That experience could not have been ordered from Amazon.
This little incident cemented in my mind the value of looking at what I have over what I don't and being aware of what I can create. Before going through this, I had made a unique list for managing my money. It's inspired by the traditional needs and wants list, but it has a twist.
I took a sheet of paper and divided it into three columns.
In the first column I wrote, "I Have." Under that category I wrote what I normally would on a "Needs" list. I wrote, "I have grocery, cellphone service, electricity, books, methods of exercise..."
I also added to my needs list what I must have to live a healthy lifestyle and function happily.
In the third column I wrote, "I Enjoy" at the top. In this column went all the things I would normally list under, "Wants." I wrote, "I enjoy movies, notebooks, fiction, restaurant meals..."
Then in the middle column I wrote, "I Create" at the top. I wrote in the middle, "I create meals, comics, fiction..."
The most interesting parts of this list are the areas where What I Have, What I Enjoy, and What I Create overlap. Looking at What I Have and Create helps me to save money. Looking at what I Create and Enjoy helps me to spend money more wisely. I buy things that are meaningful to me and are related to what I do, instead of falling victim to a random impulse buy. And if there are also bills under the Have column (I have rent to pay, for example) it also helps me to see where my money should go first.
The Have/Create/Enjoy list is a different way of looking at finances, but having such a list has enabled me to use money in a way that is practical but fun at the same time.
If you're an INFP, keep in mind that you have the ability to use money in amazing ways by using your natural gift of extroverted intuition and appreciating what's already in your life.