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 words, all she needed was “a box on a bus line”.
But as Angela looked at apartments within her original price range, she realized that these options were unacceptable.
Yes, these apartments would meet her needs for shelter, but her real need was to have a home, where she would feel safe and comfortable and be proud to bring friends.
She took another look at her money situation, taking her REAL needs into account. She increased her original rent budget by 15% and found the perfect apartment—one that she could afford but that also met her need for a place that felt like home.
Today, I have an exercise for you to get very in tune with your needs. But first, I want to offer this…
It is very common to hear the voice of our “inner critic” when we start to think about or state our needs. You may have received early messages from people in your life or your cultural background that make you feel bad about what you need. Maybe you were made to feel that your needs were shallow, unimportant, or too big.
Today, I ask you to still the voices of those inner critics and allow yourself to play a little in this exercise:
Exercise: Your “Needs and Wants List”
- Take a piece of paper, and divide it into 2 columns.
- Label the left column “Needs” and the right column “Wants”.
- Think about your current conditions: Your home, your transportation, clothes, health habits, relationships, spiritual life. Let yourself envision items or experiences that seem to be missing from your life. As an item comes to mind, place it in one of the columns, you decide. Don’t worry about making the list perfect.
- Remember, honoring your needs doesn’t mean forgoing pleasures and comforts. Your needs are not just about survival. They are also about being in touch with what is really important to you.
Sometimes your needs can be attained without spending a dime.
Other times, money is that tool that can get you exactly what you need.
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