Welcome to Episode 8! Today we are talking about cultivating comfortability with spending.
With the way most societies are set up, you have to spend money. Food, shelter, healthcare, clothing, etc – it all takes money. So, how do we cultivate comfortability with the fact that we have to spend money?
I don’t know about you. But there have been times when I’ve had to stick to a strict budget. As I would walk through the grocery isles, I’d be adding up the cost of each item. Which, there is nothing wrong with having to stick to a budget. You work with the situation that you are in.
But after doing my calculations – I’d get to the front. Begin scanning my items or loading them onto the belt. Even though I did the calculations, I would be so nervous about spending that money, that was set aside for groceries which are necessary for survival.
I’d begin second guessing myself. But do I really need this? Do I really need food? (The answer is yes. You need to eat. And in my case, my husband also needs to eat.)
It was that anxiety that characterized my relationship with spending.
Because this wasn’t just about groceries. It was about gas, clothing, and investing in my business.
I’ve opened enrollment for a beta – a 10 week course for healing your relationship with money through self-compassion. I think I’ve named it pretty aptly – Heal Your Money Shit.
A couple of the people interested expressed some nervousness investing.
They’ve invested money in the past, in their business, and didn’t see the results they were looking for. (Which we need to have a whole other conversation about how selling can create money wounds.)
But it is totally understandable that they would feel that way.
1. Money supports us with our basic needs, and when you are worried about those, then of course you are worried about other investments. And it is totally okay to not invest because of that.
2. There could be wounds. They may have trusted other coaches and were harmed in the course of that trust. I would be hesitant too.
3. Whether because of that harm, or some other situation, this can create a lack of trust in themself. The few times I miscalculated my groceries, definitely made me more hesitant to get all of the things we needed. And the times when things didn’t work out with coaches, I was hesitant to trust myself to assess if something would help me or not.
When we have this nervousness come up, or we have these experiences – by remembering 3 things, it has helped me to continue moving forward, in whatever way that was.
1. I am allowed to make mistakes. Be that in miscalculating groceries or making an investment that didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I know that sometimes mistakes can make things more difficult. But you are still allowed to make them – the mistake itself is probably not what is at fault.
For example, if I overspent on groceries and had to tighten expenses elsewhere – it wasn’t my mistake that was truly at fault, this was a symptom of a deeper problem that I was not adequately compensated for my work in a sustainable way. US society, in which I live, vastly under values work and labor and those who provide it are vastly under compensated.
See the fight for the $15 minimum wage. We’ve been fighting for it for so long that $15 isn’t a living wage anymore. The fact that one mistake could mean a late bill or not filling the gas tank in the car – that wasn’t because of my mistake, that isn’t because of your mistake – it is because we live in a society that thinks that paying poverty wages is acceptable. And while that doesn’t change the reality of the situation, it does mean don’t take that on yourself.
2. I can find ways to make the situation work for me. If I accidentally over bought on groceries, cool, I don’t need to get as much next week and I will find a way to make the budget work in other ways. I’ve also taken programs or courses and made really great connections within them with my peers that led to amazing friendships and clients. So even if I consider something a “mistake” I can make it work.
I bet you can too. You are a resourceful human being. You’ve had to be at times. And you’ve survived and even thrived because of it.
3. Money is supporting me. Every dollar spent is money supporting me. It isn’t a betrayal, it isn’t me being forgotten. It is supporting me. I paid for something I needed or I thought I wanted. And because I am allowed to make mistakes and I will find ways to make things work for me, I am supported through both of those things by money.
This is true for you too. While our relationship with money can be complex and multi-faceted, you have probably been supported by money many times. Be it a Starbucks reload, a bill, a loan that allowed you to go to school (remember, complex and multi-faceted relationship), a vacation, etc. Money was required for those things and it supported you in having those experiences and in filling those needs.
While we are all human, our experiences can be vastly different – so if you can’t incorporate all three of these views – is there one that you can incorporate to create more comfortability with spending?
I do want to caveat here that comfortability with spending doesn’t mean spending everything on every whim you have. You still have to prioritize your safety, your basic needs being met. The aim here is to make it a less painful experience to be spending on those things, and to create some grace for when you splurge a bit or when you fill a desire that that may put you in a difficult position.
And if your needs are all met and you have excess and overflow to spend on your desires, this aims to reduce the guilt that we feel when we reach this point. Because we sometimes find ourselves in that battle of “Well, I don’t REALLY need it.” You are also allowed to fulfill your desires and have fun. And if it made you happy, that is enough. It wasn’t worthless.
You deserve this kindness.