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Judgy Wudgy was a Bear

Hello my favorite people ever! I’m back from Canada! Did you miss me? I’m going to assume the answer is yes because I’m adorable and witty. Well, prepare to miss me more because as you can probably tell my posting schedule is wonky these days. This is only temporary for the next two weeks. I leave in five days on my cross country adventure and I leave Friday for a weekend at the cabins with my family. No cell service. No Wi-Fi. No tweeting. No blogging. No Erin at all until Monday afternoon. Don’t be sad, it will be okay!

Before I leave you alone with abandonment issues, I thought I would write a post about a major issue in the personal finance blogosphere (and actually, on the Internet in general). Judging. I do it. You do it. We all do it. And it’s lame.

In general, people are judging people all the time. We judge people by what they wear and how they act. In the personal finance realm, we judge people based on what they purchase and how much money they spend on it. People like to feel like they have a say in the world, but should they have a say when it comes to other people’s money?

The answer is no. Why on Earth does anyone care if someone spends on something that does not directly affect them? It’s weird, right? Like if I bought $10,000 worth of…I don’t know…say, M&Ms. Why would you care? Is it because you truly want to keep me from turning a particularly aggressive sweet tooth into financial disaster? Or is it really because you want to be right and you want me to be wrong?

I would guess that 75% of the time, it’s the latter. I should know. I judge people’s purchases ALL THE TIME. I don’t say it out loud because that’s not what you do in a civilized society, but I think it. Why? Because their purchase priorities don’t align with mine and I incorrectly assume that I’m correct all the time. Ugly but true.

Now on the flip side, I think that we need a little judgment. Isn’t that why most of us started PF blogs in the first place? To be held accountable for our financial decisions? Judgment actually can be a very handy tool. There isn’t anything more motivating than the avoidance of shame. Where do we draw the line between total lack of judgment and the type of judgment that motivates us to do better?

I think that judgment needs to be withheld unless the person in question is asking to be held accountable. If someone has five figure debt but chooses to go on vacation, it’s no one else’s business. If that same person tells you that they want to prioritize debt and need to be held accountable, you then have the right to gently remind them of their priorities. No one responds to being told what to do. We keep that rebellious teenage quality forever.

I am pledging today to not judge the purchases of other people. They are not affecting me and therefore, it is not my business to judge.

Also, if I ever mention spending $10,000 on M&Ms you have permission to yell at me. And slap my across the face. And take the M&Ms. Judgment allowed.


[Image from BuzzFeed]


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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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