A little while ago, I had a chance to speak with financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons about new ways to save money and the latest trends in personal finance. Shannon is super knowledgeable about financial trends like bartering (you can read my interview with her on the subject in our February issue, which is on newsstands now), but she also tackles all kinds of financial questions and conundrums at her company The New School of Finance. I asked her what the biggest financial lesson she thought Canadians needed to learn was. Here’s her response: “Spend money on what’s important to you, because you’re going to do it anyways.” Let me explain. We’ve all been through the process of trimming down our budgets, cutting out the things we think we can probably do without (e.g., new shoes), then slipping up because, let’s admit it, we just love buying them (cause they're so cute!). Many financial planners would tell you to cut out those weaknesses right from the start. I mean, how many times have you heard that you need to cut out your daily latte that’s costing you $150 a month? But if sipping that latte is the best part of your day, Shannon says go for it! Because if you try to deprive yourself, chances are you’ll slip up and do it anyways. You just need to budget for your weakness ahead of time. Shannon, for example, loves going for brunch. “I know that no matter how tight my budget is, I’m going to go out for brunch. I’m going to do it no matter what. So if I don’t budget for it, if I don’t acknowledge that, and I try to pretend and fool myself, like, oh this week I won’t do it, then when I go, I’m going to feel like a total financial failure,” she says. “And when you feel like that, you end up spending a whole bunch more money everywhere, because you think: What’s the point?” So when you’re looking at your finances and making a budget for 2014, give yourself permission to spend your money on things you really love. “Then you can cut back on those other things you’re spending money on that maybe aren’t giving you the same type of satisfaction,” says Shannon. Have a healthy, wealthy 2014!