Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are gearing up to start the week and this year off on the right foot.
To help, today I have a guest post from a reader named Maria about emotional spending. Maria reached out to me a few weeks back and asked to share her story about how she improved her financial and physical wellness by paying off $8,000 in credit card debt and committing to a healthy lifestyle.
Maria is the founder and President of the Traveling Unicorn, a non-profit organization where creative, strategic and passionate Millennials come together to spread the message of world unity by raising funds for impoverished youths in third world countries. She is the Treasurer of the West Orlando Rotary Club and works for Wings Financial where she combines her love of Finances and giving back.
Maria provides a ton of actionable tips so you can start making changes now. I hope you enjoy the post!
It is a universally acknowledged truth that women can be emotional spenders.
Hurts doesn’t it?
Before you begin hunting for blood on the comment section…Think about this:
How do you feel about your own finances?
If you are in great financial shape and have in-depth knowledge of the intricate realm of finances…then GET’ OUTTA HERE (Just kidding! #sisterhood).
But, if the topic of money makes you feel uneasy and you find yourself unable to find a comfortable space (whether online or offline) to discuss personal finance, you have found the right place.
So what’s holding you back?
- The nearly impossible to understand jargon (you know the kind that makes your eyes glaze over)?
- The overwhelming amount of information?
- The fear of being scolded and yelled at for doing it wrong?
- The feeling of dread wash over you every time you think about debt?
And my personal favorite: ”I have no idea where to start?”
Related Blog Post: 10 Personal Finance Questions You’re Too Embarrased to Ask as an Adult
Maybe you want to finally start making some serious moves on your budding business journey and live life on your own terms.
But to do that… You have to face those scary hurdles and kick them out your way to truly begin your journey of empowerment.
In this article you will:
- Learn why money talk actually makes you feel so crappy
- Figure out what you truly want out of life…and why
- Get your shit together (the secret to becoming organized)
- Learn the power and secret of habits
And most important, I will teach you how to use that impulsive urge that stems from your emotions and rips a black hole through your purse and use that energy to not only…save you from yourself, but to finally have what you want in life.
So, Why Does Money Make You Feel Like Poop? (the fear list)
Four-year-olds can teach us something extremely useful: Question everything and ask why!
The why is crucial to everything. To make significant changes, you must learn and ultimately face the root cause.
Think of the “why” as a shovel and your excuses as ALL of the dirt that is covering up and dulling that sparkly diamond within.
Let’s begin shoveling!
Action step: Write down the reasons you hate thinking/talking about money, and under those reasons
—write the reason why,
——-and under those reasons
————-write the reason why.
This exercise will help you get down to the root cause.
For example, I will completely avoid looking at my bank statements after I have splurged WAAAY too much. But why?
—Because I’m scared to look at the damage that I’ve caused. Why?
——Because I did this, I have no choice but to own up to my actions and want to avoid being
a responsible adult. Why?
————Because I have no one to blame but myself. Why?
—————Because it makes me feel ashamed. Bingo
*My Diamond: Shame
“Uh, Maria …why is “shame” a diamond? Isn’t it that supposed to be a horrible feeling”
Why yes reader, you are right, but let me elaborate:
I would literally ALLOW my credit card debt to get worse and WORSE…and allow myself to fall down the spiral of doom (and my credit score along with it) because I would do anything to avoid THIS feeling.
Once I learned this about myself, the horrible feeling of shame was no longer…well horrible.
In a weird way, it propelled me to take action. It was the unlikely, sparkly diamond.
Now it’s your turn.
And you must remember to be nice to yourself.
I’ll be completely honest, this will be uncomfortable…It’s freaking scary to face your demons (you know…that shit inside your head that is holding you back)
Again, don’t beat yourself up, you are a human being.
You are not alone. (#sisterhood)
Don’t skip over to the next step, really do this. Be brave. Ok. Start…NOW!
Figure Out What You Truly Want Out of Life and Why (the dream list)
Okay now that the emotional torture is over, let’s move on to the fun part!
Instead of listing why dealing with money scares you silly, list 2-5 things that you are utterly obsessed with, I’m talking about HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE.
Whether it’s owning your own business, traveling, philanthropy, food, snacks, eating out every night etc.
The point is it can be anything.
This is all about you, so forget about the opinions of your peers and parents and just write instinctively.
Make time to think about all your dreams and get them down on paper.
Related Blog Post: How I Started Living Intentionally Without Even Realizing It
Now that you have removed the dirt, found the sparkly diamond and have a clear view of the route that you want to follow…Here is the final step for you to move forward and to keep yourself moving down that path.
Get Your Shit Together
And when I say “Get your shit together” I’m talking about getting organized.
I can live in a messy, disarray of filth and never be bothered by it.
I am LAZY and could never in my life STAY organized (I tried so many times!)
That is, until I learned some tricks that have me running on autopilot.
Fun Fact: Autopilot gives you more brainpower to focus on shit that you actually care about.
And how do you build ‘Autopilot’? Through Habits.
Think of yourself as a BOSS (Meryll Streep) and Autopilot (Anne Hathaway) as your personal assistant.
How to create your personal assistant AKA, Autopilot:
- Build rituals
- Do said task on the same time and place
- Begin by taking teeny, tiny, baby bites..THEN build up (this how you will stick with it)
For example…The gym.
I would always get super motivated to go to the gym because I wanted a hot-rockin’ body.
I would go for three months straight…and then STOP.
It would become bikini season again (hence the beginner’s motivation)…go for 3 months and then STOP!
- I had to always make the conscious decision to go
- I never had a set schedule of when and where I was going
- I would burn myself out by going HARD from the get-go
Now, I’m a regular gym rat (1-year strong baby! )
I always pack my gym clothes the night before and have it set on top of my laptop ready to go!
By doing so, I removed the decision-making part of going (I already made the decision when I packed it the night before…which I now do without thinking *autopilot*).
Hence, the actual possibility of going increased by 90% (That’s more of a rough estimate…but you get the gist).
I always go right after work, even if I’m tired, feel gloomy, or if I just want to get home to snack and watch tv…My body just takes me there on its own.
There are days where I am so absent-minded, that I surprise myself by ending up at the gym (that’s how I know this ritual nonsense is legit).
And of course, I go to the same place at the same time 5x a week (HUGE factors).
And lastly, I started off very lightly (like barely breaking a sweat…and I sweat pretty easily)
As I kept going, I naturally gained more stamina and was becoming stronger…AND I eventually began to go harder therefore, I EVENTUALLY started seeing results that I have never reached before. (I went from a size 6 to a size 2 in 12 months).
The lesson of the story is this: ‘Eventually’ is better than ‘never.’
You are looking for long-term gains here not short ones.
You want to look good in a bathing suit forever not just by next summer!
I know it’s so tempting to go hard from the get-go due to that fresh motivation you experience in the beginning…but to stick with it, you must start easy and small.
The same goes for getting in financial shape.
The very first thing you must do is defeat that scary, hideous monster that wants to suck out your soul….debt. More specifically, credit card debt.
Here is an example of building your “F$&K DEBT” ritual.
Every Tuesday at 7pm, you sit down in front of your laptop…In your room, on your desk. And on your desk (right next to your laptop) are your two lists that you just created, the fear and the dream list (they will serve as the fuel to keep you going).
Let’s play a possible scene from a little movie called YOUR LIFE:
You hesitate to log in to your online banking account.
You are scared to see the damage .
You glance over at your fear list and see why you are scared and you will feel centered and slightly more brave (OK, I can do this)
Next, you glance at your dream list and read the reasons why you need to be rich and you get an intense surge of excitement “Oh my god, this is nothing…being an empowered goddess is way more important than this.”
And suddenly..boom! *empowered goddess rebirth
You open your bank statement and see the damage. Okay, now that you have seen it…you scroll down to make your payment.
You knew that your “F$%K DEBT” Tuesdays were coming so you decided to have one drink instead of four last Friday night (saving you $60) AND NOW, you are using it to declaw yourself out of debt.
You do this every Tuesday….at 7 pm…on your desk.
This ritual has become a habit and you are now on autopilot.
Until one day you realize that…YOU are out of credit card debt.
You get up and dance like a happy maniac with your person!
It doesn’t have to be credit card debt (but If you do have cc debt, I highly recommend you eliminate that first).
Psst…This specific ritual dug me out of $8,000 worth of credit card debt last year.
And remember to cut back slowly!
You want to build the habit first, and then you can begin to be aggressive.
My special secret sauce that adds flavor to the process is by treating it like a game (like the one with rules and rewards) but that’s for another post.
After reading this post, I hope you’ve learned how to:
- Recognize what is holding you back
- Figure out what you will truly save for (your fuel to fly)
- Find out how to dig yourself out of debt to get closer to your dreams
For more tips and added accountability, you can sign up for my free e-mail mini-course where we can tackle these specific actions together and on your own time.
Stop Worrying About Money and Regain Control
Ready to regain control of your money? Take the first step with this free starter pack which includes:
- 2 Monthly Bill Calendar templates
- 1 'Start Paying Off Your Debt' Checklist
- 1 'Drastically Cut Your Expenses' Checklist