Welcome to the 35th episode of the Money Mindset Shift with me, Shelby Melissa! In this episode, we’re talking about one of the most common experiences of money – why you don’t seem to have more money even though you are making more.
Does this sound familiar? You work hard, and your business starts making more money. Your income increases. (Or maybe you got a raise at work.) But you don’t actually see a difference in your bank account at the end of each month. It is just as empty or as low as it was before.
First, let me say, this isn’t because you are bad with money. There is a very real reason for this experience – and it isn’t your fault.
What is the reason then?
Even though you are making more, you don’t seem to have money, because you are playing catch up.
When you have to do more with less, you had to prioritize differently. Maybe doctor’s visits or dental visits, while important, were not able to be prioritized. Instead, your basic needs of shelter and food were the only needs that were able to be addressed.
Now that you have more money, what can be addressed has expanded. You are scheduling that routine doctor’s appointment or that dental cleaning. And sometimes, because things were not able to be addressed – you also have to get labs to get done, or fillings to schedule.
The debt you accrued wasn’t a monetary one, but a physical one. And now you are able to catch up. So you are!
Or maybe you’ve really been needing more space for your family. So you upgrade your living situation – going from a one-bedroom apartment, to a two-bedroom apartment or a home.
I actually had a client do this while we were working together. Her family of four was living in a small apartment. And as her income increased and her partner’s income increased, they were able to buy a home. And thus, they upgraded their living situation and their life. And yes, also their expenses did increase. So there was a debt there that was a physical space debt that they were able to catch up on.
Or maybe it is a financial debt and you had to use credit cards to help make ends meet. And now you are using the increase in income to make larger repayments on those cards. It makes sense.
Some people talk about this as Lifestyle Inflation. This idea that when your income increases, your spending does too. And it is a bad thing. Like you’re doing something wrong and you’re a bad person.
But what doesn’t get talked about, is that when you’ve had to do without basic care necessities, this is going to happen. Your spending is going to increase. And that isn’t your fault.
This lifestyle inflation is usually used in terms of like, “oh this dude, he had a nice decent used car, but then he got a raise at work or a bonus, so he went out and bought the latest newest edition of this car.”
Which, good for him. We’re not here to judge that. But it really sets this tone that you have to do without all of these things. You can’t change your living situation, you can’t upgrade your life.
And that shame that people are talking about in that situation also gets transposed or shifted onto situations like we’re talking about where you’ve had to do without those basic care necessities. And now as your income has increased, you’re able to address and bring in more of those basic care necessities.
Society has actually failed you by putting you in a position in which you had to prioritize basic care necessities. So the fact that you were in that position to begin with is not your fault. That was a failure of society that you were in a position where you had to go without healthcare or you had to make groceries last until the next payday or client sign up. That you had to prioritize food, shelter, health, all of these things. That’s not your fault.
Society failed you. And now you are having to pay the debt that society created. Which is also very unfair.
So again, know that this isn’t your fault. The extra money you are making isn’t just disappearing – you are having to play catch up. You’re having to pay back that debt that was unjustly put on you.
Your brain does understandably freak out a bit here – in this position where your income is increasing and your spending is increasing because you’re having to play catch up. Your brain freaks out because it hasn’t been taught to see it this way. Your brain is simply focusing on the fact that the money still isn’t there at the end of the month.
It was like, “this was supposed to be different! We were told if we made more money we’d have more money. That we would feel more secure, that we would actually BE more secure.”
And some of that is justifiably true in that situation. But your brain also cannot see all that that money is now doing for you – the health appointments, the life upgrades, the larger debt re-payments, etc.
So, as you find yourself in this space, give yourself grace. You were put in an unfair unjust position to begin with, and now you are having to play catch up. It isn’t your fault. And you are actually doing a great job as you are adjusting and taking care of things that you weren’t able to do before.
You’re doing a great job.
And know, that as you do catch up and as your business continues to grow, things will continue to shift. The scales will tip into more than enough, into overflow, into more abundance. The situation will change. You are just in this transition period – this adjustment period of having to play catch up. Of having to pay on a debt that you shouldn’t have had to begin with, but that you are doing a great job with.
So again, give yourself that grace. Things will change. And just to note here, this does talk a lot about the personal experience. But also as you can, change the societal experience as well. Vote for the initiatives that change this. Support the people who are doing the work to change this as much as you can.
Because you’re still playing that catch-up. You’re still having to put your resources – not just your money but your brain space, your energy – towards playing catch up. You will find that as time goes on, you will have more energy, you will have more resources, not just money. And you’re able to do more of that work, you’re able to do more supporting.
So also don’t feel bad in this moment as you’re playing catch up. Because it’s not just a debt of money, it’s also that energy, it’s also that brain space.
Give yourself grace. You are doing a great job. ❤️
And it’s not your fault, but that is why it doesn’t seem like you have more money even though you’re making more. Because you’ve been put in this position where you’re having to play catch up.
You will get through it. Keep going. Reach out for support. Reach out to your community. But don’t take on that blame. Don’t take on that shame. It’s not your fault.
And as you have more energy, brain space, etc., there will be other programs, mindset threads, perspectives that you were given that aren’t supportive anymore. Or were never supportive but now you have the resources to address.
So if you find yourself in this space, go back and listen to the other episodes, get a journal, use scrap paper, voice note into your phone, whatever it may be. Take the time to dig into the thoughts that are coming up. The beliefs and programs that you’ve been given. They’re not your fault that they exist within you, but that you can do something about.
So know that as your situation changes, these programs and thoughts are going to come up, they’re gonna come up in different ways. And if you have the resources available, the bandwidth, the brain space, the energy to begin addressing them, it’ll also be helpful to do so.
But if you only do one thing, give yourself grace as you go through this period and this transition and this adjustment.
And if you have experience going through this, I’d love to hear about it. What tips or tricks can you give others who are going through this? Or maybe you’re going through it right now, what are your experiences?
Let’s support each other! Because we create more shift together.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts, to talking more about this with you, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode!