Have you ever started your day with plenty of cash in your wallet, only to find by night that you can’t remember where it all went… or made a trip to the ATM, only to be disheartened by your low account balance? You’re not alone.
Most people cannot account for how they spend their money. We live in a financial fog, disconnected from the real numbers and unable to understand our own actions.
What’s needed is a way to stay conscious and connected to our money. And one of the easiest ways to do this is with tracking.
Tracking is one of my favorite, widely successful tools for clearing the financial fog.
All you need is a pen and paper and a touch of curiosity. And all you have to do is this: Every time you spend or receive money, you write it down.
On one level, you may think, “Tracking is too time consuming, too ted...Continue Reading
If you’ve visited the beach this summer, you may have noticed that certain beaches have signs posted that warn swimmers of the risk of being pulled underwater. Though the ocean is always enticing to swim in, it’s forces can prove quite powerful, and even dangerous.
A similar force is present when you have a problematic relationship with money. My clients have often described that in order to stay afloat, they feel an enormous pressure to make more money or to spend less. And they feel caught in a downward spiral. I’ve come to call this spiral the Money/Life Drain.
Sometimes we’re pulled downward because of circumstances beyond our control, such as a loss of income or a downturn in the economy. Other times, the force is created by our own habits of spending or debting.
However it starts, the force of the Money/Life Drain c...Continue Reading
Many people on the road to financial recovery assume—at first anyway—that looking at your finances means you will no longer get to enjoy anything fun.
You imagine creating a list of what you are “allowed” to buy—and signing your soul over to a financial prison where it’s all work and no play. No wonder people put off addressing their finances!
If giving up all the fun, pleasurable things forever was required to heal your relationship with money, who would want to do this?
Strict narrow thinking and rigid spending plans make it impossible to stay the course. This is why I advocate a financial recovery process that feels good, and that revolves around your specific needs.
My friend Angela figured this out while looking for a new apartment. Her first impulse was to spend the bare minimum on rent. I remember her word...Continue Reading
What do you dream of having today—a new purse, a house, a vacation, a car?
Now think about this, do you need these things, or do you want these things?
You may be wondering. "What's the difference?" I've shed a little light on this below:
A need, when filled, sustains us.
A want, when filled, entertains us.
Attempt to substitute wants for needs eventually drains us.
Spending on a myriad of things we want while leaving needs unmet is like grazing all day on snacks and never feeling full, or satisfied.
So too, we might spend—or overspend—on a thousand things and still feel a hunger for a need yet unmet.
Sorting wants from needs and beginning to make decisions about them is more of an ongoing conversation with yourself than a checklist.
By slowing down, looking inward, and discerning if items are a need o...Continue Reading
When most people think of money addiction, an image of a gambling addict may come to mind, or someone who loves to flash their new designer outfit or their fancy car du jour.
It’s easy to spot these obvious manifestations. But the real trick is noticing the hidden signs—the ones that your friends, family, and maybe even you express.
The truth is, money addiction is at the root of under earning, overworking, compulsive shopping and spending, and even excessive saving.
You might be wondering, “How bad can it really be to be an overspender or a workaholic? What real damage can it do?” But when you peel back the curtain and find out what is driving your need to earn, to save, to spend—you’ll find that money is the mask you’ve chosen for your unique internal struggles.
As with any addiction, these behaviors will only g...Continue Reading
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