Uncensored Money Season Five: What Are Your Financial Values

Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 10/06/2024


Show Notes

A few weeks ago Mel made a reel focused on repairing some well loved shoes that she owned. One of which was a luxury brand, alongside two others that were not. It was a simple reel which highlighted something she’s done for a long time, but it sparked an interesting debate.
In this episode of Uncensored Money, Mel talks about the conversation that sparked from that reel, diving into a conversation on financial values and asking the question – What Are Your Financial Values?

Books and resources mentioned in this episode

If you're on insta, come play over at @MelBrowne.Money and make sure you’re signed up to Mel's Money Musings for more tips, tricks and ideas on how to best work with your money.

Finally, if you love this episode please make sure you subscribe and leave us a review.


Mel: Hey everyone. I'm Mel Browne. I'm an ex-accountant and ex-financial advisor, so I have the theory, but I also have the life experience. I'm now financially independent in my own right after coming back from less than nothing in my early thirties. I want this podcast to be like a chat with your girlfriends about money. My aim is to help you discover why you're behaving the way you are with money, to suggest new ways you might behave that are a better fit for you, and to increase your financial literacy and financial confidence. I hope it inspires challenges, educates and empowers you with how you do money. So let's get into it. Welcome to Uncensored Money.

Mel: Today I wanted to have a chat around values and money and being financially aware, which as you know, if you've been playing with me for a while now, is something that's really important to me.

Mel: And it came about from a number of things, but one of the, the things that it came about from is an Insta Post that I did a couple of weeks ago where I shared how I took a few pairs of shoes to be mended and from one that was incredibly broken. And I just happened to highlight one of them, which was a luxury shoe because it was so broken. But the other two were really non-luxury labels. And this is something that I've been doing for a long time, and I just suggested that, hey, this is something that's really easy to do. Here's me doing it. This is what you can get done. This is how much it costs. And then just put the call out to maybe buy well and, and really think about mending what we have. And it sparked a really interesting debate and a conversation.

Mel: But one of the comments really stopped me in my tracks, and that was someone saying that I needed to put my privilege pants back on. And first of all, let me just say that that comment had more to do with the person making it than me. I absolutely didn't take that to heart for me what that comment said. 'cause I truly believe, or I try to, try to, to always come from the place that Dr. Brene Brown says, to believe that people are doing the best they can. And if someone was feeling that they were doing the best that they can and posted that, that says to me that they're in a place where really they're struggling financially, they're really potentially struggling with the cost of living. And so they're looking at me and feeling shamed and judged, and therefore saying that as a response.

Mel: And let me just say, for me, there was no shame, there was no judgment. It was simply bringing awareness to say, Hey, I feel really fortunate that I have a, a nana who came from Hong Kong, who because of her heritage mending and frugality was actually really important to her. You know, she was a seamstress and she taught me the importance of buying well. She taught me the importance of mending and altering. And one of the fa her favourite things to say was to buy something you love and then wear it every day. Don't save your things for best. So for me, I would rather overuse my clothes, overuse my shoes, buy well, and continue to mend them regularly. You know, the shoes that I showed, I think I've had them for about five years. I get them mended regularly. So cost per wear is kind of good.

Mel: But regardless for me, rather than it being a point of, I guess the point of privilege for me came because I feel privileged that I had that upbringing and an nana who taught me that that's something that you are able to do. And for me, the sharing wasn't about judgment. The sharing was about, hey, you might not realize one, that this is an option, and two, that it's cheaper than potentially than you think to get this done. But I find it on reflection really interesting, and I've been thinking about it over the last couple of weeks, because really, if we are living in the west, in a western country, we are in such a position of privilege. All of us, you know, be we have won the lottery of birth with many respects. If we think of areas of conflict, if we think of the conditions that people have to live and work in, we have won the lottery of life.

Mel: And yet so many of us are operating from a place of scarcity where we are acting like that's not true, or we are behaving in a way financially where, and I think this comment placed on my Insta was an example of that where if the spotlight is put on you, actually, are kind of ashamed of some of your choices, but because you wanna keep up, because you still wanna enjoy today, you are making choices that maybe go against your value set just because, you know, it's just, it just seems easier. And besides everyone else is doing it right, cost of living interest rates, you know, is it really so bad? But here's the thing, I don't believe that you can march for women's rights. And in Australia, certainly there's been marches all around the country recently for domestic violence, for attacks on women. Can you really march in those marches for women's rights in your country and choose to blatantly ignore the conditions of women in other countries or even the conditions, the environmental conditions that are coming down the road as a result of your choice today? And you might say, oh yeah, Mel, but everybody's doing it. And my response to that would be, yes, but what if one at a time we stopped,

Mel: I don't know about you, but sometimes I wish there was an easy way, a silver bullet, a magical unicorn, a fairy godmother ready to grant me three wishes. I mean, think of all the miracle diets, fitness fads, promising a six pack in six weeks, or finance bros promising riches by following this easy formula. Do you believe a word of it?Well, the part that longs for a quick fix might be taken in, but you are smarter than that. Personally, what I believe in is consistency, educating myself, finding an expert to help me, surrounding myself with a community who are going to motivate me to keep going and make me feel like I can do it because they're doing it too or are further down the road than I am. That's exactly what we've created inside the My Financial Adulting Plan. If you feel like you're on top of your finances, you have a plan for this year that you're super comfortable with and have everything you need to make that happen, then just ignore this ad. But for the rest of you, make sure you check out my life-changing 12 week course or for less than the price of a cup of coffee a day. Head to the show notes to join the wait list for the next round. Or you might be lucky enough to find that the doors are open and you can join now.

Mel: And I'm not suggesting that we all just run out and start buying designer clothing. Trust me when I say that not all designer clothing houses are reputable. Not all designer clothing labels follow modern slavery guidelines. Not all of them are sustainable. So this is not just a comment on fast fashion, this is a comment on fashion and actually choosing to be aware, are we operating within our values? And if, if it's eliciting a response, if someone's saying something or posting something as eliciting a response from us to stop and to say, huh, what, where did that come from? What's making me feel this way? 'cause Certainly from everything I do, it is absolutely not from a place of judgment. It's simply from showing you a different perspective from highlighting even challenging you to say, Hey, have you thought about this? And then it's up to you what you do with that information.

Mel: But let's look at the fashion industry. If you are going, oh yeah, but Mel, how bad can it be? Well, let's just look at the sustainable impact. You know, the fast fashion industry is the second largest consumer of water of all industries, eight to 10% of all global carbon emissions currently come from the fashion industry. And according to Bloomberg, this is gonna be exponentially increased over the next six years. So their expectations are that a hundred million tonnes or a 60% increase will happen by two. The year 2030, which they've suggested is going to be, the environmental impact of that is going to be catastrophic. And we can see, if we look at the numbers, even for some of the massive fast fashion houses, you know, Zara, 840 million a year Shein in 2021 when they exploded onto the scene, 116 billion in sales. I mean, nevermind Temu, who does so much more than fashion, right? You know, only 13%, 13% of fashion is recycled. The rest of it is just discarded. No, there's question, never mind. All I've talked about is a sustainable, never mind. The questionable labor tactics are the, the children in factories, the sweatshop like conditions.

Mel: And really, for me, it begs the question, what's the impact of our choices? 'cause I get that a lot of us feel like our wallets are being squeezed, that our available funds are being squeezed. So it is tempting to go and buy something new. It's somewhere that's cheap. My question for you is, but are you comfortable with the impact of that choice? Are you comfortable with the impact on another woman or a child of that choice, either in another country who is making that or in future as a result of the environmental impact? And again, for me, this is not about judgment. As I've said time and time again, part of my job as a financial educator, I believe, is simply opening your eyes to things, whether it's about debt, whether it's credit cards, afterpay, mortgages, investing and more. And this is just one other thing that I think it's really important for us to understand .

Mel: So in order to change our spending, some things that you might wanna do is to follow accounts that actually will highlight this with things like Claire Press's account, maybe the good on to download the Good on You app, which will help you consider the impact of modern slavery and brands that they will rate to adhere to that. But to be, be really aware of the impact that you are having with your choices. Maybe when it comes to clothes, it's to shop your closet and decide that for the next three months you're not gonna buy anything new because the stats are that we need only wear 10 to 30% of our closet. It might be with a few things that you own, it's going and altering them, which is something that I've done recently with a dress, which I've turned into a skirt, cost me $45 to do.

Mel: And you might go, oh, Mel, but that's a lot of money. Like, yes. But it means that then that I've got something that's gonna continue to be worn and I'll wear that skirt. 'cause I know they'll do a great job for another decade. You know, it's, it's figuring out how can I make the things that I love last longer? It doesn't matter if they slightly go out of style. How can I alter it so that they're, they're current. I've got shoes that I put aside. Knowing that fashion is so cyclical that they'll come back in the next five, seven years. You know platforms are back. I'm so pleased I didn't throw out shoes just because they were not on trend for a while. For me, it's wearing what you love regardless of trends, but maybe it's also shopping, secondhand first, buying fewer clothes, investing only in things you really like and need.

Mel: Shopping sustainable brands, shopping for quality over quantity. As I said, being aware that just because you're buying quality doesn't mean that that's sustainable or that it, that's not going against that, it's not succumbing to modern slavery. Buying from designers who repair for free or a small fee, or are willing to take back their used garments and recycle them. Maybe swapping with friends and neighbors hosting a clothing swap, donating, selling unwanted clothing, upcycling buying from consignment stores, but also knowing that change takes time. And you might decide just to research and to shop, to change one brand at a time. But maybe it's deciding that until you can research a brand, you're not going to shop with them until you can give them the tick and decide that they are worth shopping with. Hopefully, I've, I've challenged you a little bit today.

Mel: I don't apologise for that. But for me, it is really putting you back in the driver's seat of your finances. It's making you become a conscious consumer. It is opening your eyes maybe to something that you hadn't thought about before and above all else, putting you in the driver's seat of your finances. Let me know what you think and how you go.

Mel: If you enjoyed this episode, we would love it if you subscribed and give us a review, then make sure you come and play with me on Insta. I'm at @melbrowne.money Remember there's an E on the end of Browne. I'm one of those fancy Browne's, and don't forget to check out the show notes for even more ways you can work with me to transform your finances.



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