In this week’s episode of the podcast, we talked about how our relationships with money has evolved over time.
The thing with personal finance is that your views and positions are constantly changing. Most of us aren’t staying in the same place – we’re trying to work toward something better.
However, that doesn’t mean our views are always changing in a way that’s beneficial.
And no matter how far some of us come, there are unhealthy aspects of our relationship with money that we can’t seem to shed.
If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut with your financial journey, you might need to improve your relationship with money before you can make giant strides.
Here are three ways you can start improving that relationship today.
Don’t Come From a Place of Fear
One of the biggest reasons my relationship with money has been unhealthy is because everything involving it has come from a place of fear.
After watching my parents struggle with money and not having enough of it, I was always afraid of ending up in the same situation.
So when I got my first job, I started saving right away because I knew the importance of having an emergency fund.
I continued saving, but it never seemed to be enough. I would reach milestones I set for my savings account – $5k, $10k, $15k, etc. – but I never felt fulfilled. I didn’t feel like I had made a lot of progress. I just wanted more.
After a lot of introspection, I finally realized why: my fear was holding me back. Realistically, my emergency fund could cover me for a year or more, but I wasn’t excited at the prospect. Instead, I was still scared it wasn’t enough, and I absolutely hated withdrawing money, even though I had saved for a reason!
Trying to be rational about it wasn’t working, either (clearly). So I finally divided all of my savings up into multiple savings accounts earmarked for specific goals. That has made it a lot easier for me to use my money in the way I intended it for – to live a better life.
I still have a lot of work to do, but the fear has been subsiding over the last year or so now that I’ve also been more focused on value-based spending, and not just the numbers.
Hoarding money isn’t worth it. You work hard, and you have a right to enjoy your money, especially when it’s in line with your values.
Stop Letting Money Control You
Money is a huge part of our every day lives which is why it’s easy to allow money to control you. If you’ve ever thought: ‘If I just earn more money, I can do __________, and my life would be much better’ you’ve probably allowed money to have some type of control over you.
It’s important not to succumb to this mindset since more money often means more problems. You shouldn’t view money as your ultimate savior and you shouldn’t let lenders, bill collectors, and other factors dictate what happens with the money you work hard to earn.
Often times, we feel that we need more money because everyone is sticking their hands into the pot whenever we get paid. It’s not a good feeling, but that’s why it’s important to control money and not allow money to control you. I’m working hard to pay off my debt as well so I can control more of my money and not feel like my debt owns me.
By viewing money as a tool to help you get what you really want out of life, you can start to realize that money is the ‘how’ and not the ‘why’ or the end goal. This is why I like frugality and valued-based spending. If I don’t want to spend money on something, I don’t and it doesn’t matter what other people are spending money on.
I like finding more affordable ways to do things and have fun because it means that money doesn’t control certain aspects of my life like my entertainment outings for example.
Remember That It’s Ok to Change Your Goals
When I first started budgeting and working hard to pay off debt, I set some pretty lofty financial goals. When I didn’t reach them, I beat myself up about it pretty badly. But after talking with my financial accountability partner, I realized that it’s ok to not reach your goals.
Instead of beating yourself up about it, remember to appreciate the progress you have made and set more attainable goals for the next time.
There are also times when your financial focus may change. For me that happened when I decided I wanted to quit my job sooner rather than later. Of course I still want to pay off my debt, but at that point in time earning more money with my business so I could quit my job was a bigger focus for me.
You may find yourself changing focus at times too, and when that happens remember that it’s ok to change your goals.
How has your relationship with money changed over time? Can you think of other ways to improve your relationship with money?