You may have noticed I write a lot of blogs on money mindset and I do this because I am convinced that this is the pivot between a comfortable relationship with money and a struggle.
But even though I am 100% convinced of this I still sometimes find myself struggling with my mindset.
And as much progress as I felt I made over the years, the current pandemic situation has been a trigger to all my limiting money beliefs as they rear their monstrous heads again.
As embarrassed and ashamed I am about revealing them I want you to see that we all struggle with some element of money anxiety and no matter the work we do around our mindsets they will always be there in some form or another.
And that is ok.
By recognising that they are there and building positive money habits we can create a safety net to catch them each time they appear. Which thankfully will be less and less over time as the powerful money habits take root and support our financial wellbeing.
These are my particular version of the money mindset demons, you may recognise some or have your own brand, but the point of my sharing is so inspire you to take a look at your own and start thinking about actions you can take to manage them.
Fear of running out of money
I wake up some nights with the suffocating fear of being trapped. I am not trapped in the sense that I cannot run with some impending danger approaching, my trapped fear is that I have no money, with no way of making any as commitments and responsibilities loom and I can do nothing to meet them.
This is not a recent fear. This is the fear that woke me as a child when we didn’t have money and oddly the childish thoughts that ran through my head then are the same ones that I have now.
In that fearful nocturnal place, I run through options and always settle on the only solution being to land a fortuitous windfall from somewhere or someone. A solution totally outside of my control, and so it does nothing to allay my helplessness.
Guilt of overspending
I love luxury and beautiful things. When I was a child and we didn’t have all that I perceived my friends had, I convinced myself that I would be happy when I was able to buy all of life’s luxuries.
As soon as I started earning, my goal was to spend and make myself happy. And yes, every luxury purchase made me happy. However, my desires became more and more unaffordable as the hit of instant gratification began to dissipate at a faster rate.
I have a huge fear of debt (a story for another day) which worked to my favour thankfully because as my credit card reached maximum capacity and the bank account reached zero, I would be forced to stop. And then the guilt would set in as I struggled through the remainder of the month. On the plus side, it did teach me to be super frugal when I need to be.
COVID 19 resurrected that horrible grasping desperation and need for frugality and every time I spend on anything I consider non-essential that horrible debt fear and guilt arises.
Overwhelm of drowning in expenses
I often say I had more money when I was a penniless student than I have now. Now I have an overload of fixed expenses and a truckload of variable ones.
And yes, as I am always banging on about, I have Marie Kondo’ed my spending and cut out the excessive leaks and unconscious outflows and only left that which “brings me joy”. It seems a lot brings me joy though or if not me, my family and so through all of my own making I am burdened with a lot of expenses.
My nocturnal fears of running out of money are fed from this overwhelming ongoing outflow that I cannot seem to plug effectively. This lockdown period seemed to germinate a host of other unexpected expenses which piled on more overwhelm.
Shame of not being enough, doing enough and giving enough
Beside my childhood solution to the lack of money of finding that elusive pot of gold, I also promised that young me, that I would become a successful career person, make lots of money and make sure I and all those I loved would live happily ever after basking in my financial success.
I became hugely studious, something that definitely did not come easy to me, and laser focused on only following a career likely to lead to lots of money.
I could never seem to reach the heights of success I had dreamed about though, and more importantly I was unhappy.
I blamed my perceived lack of success and my unhappiness on a number of factors, lack of opportunity, lack of connections, poor management, not being clever enough, pretty enough, extrovert enough, “normal” enough and any other “enoughs” I could come up with.
But overriding all of this finger pointing and unwillingness to take responsibility was shame.
The shame that I haven’t made the lives of those around me better and that I have in fact come no further than that scared little girl who used to lay in bed at night and vow to herself she was going to change everyone’s lives by being better.
Covid 19 has brought that up again, because I feel I am right back in my ten year old shoes not able to help anyone enough.
A jealousy of those who have succeeded and are wealthy
Don’t get me wrong, I love for people to succeed, however every time I come across a successful person I make up reasons why that can never be me. And those reasons always create a huge amount of envy and negativity.
I assume success has come easy to that person and lament how unfair my life is that everything is so hard.
The end result of that story is I use up so much energy in my jealous haze that could be better spent planning out and implementing action steps to achieving me own goals.
So, apologies for that negativity dump, I hadn’t realised how wildly rampant my ugly money mindsets have been !
On the positive side I have been doing work on my money mindset over a number of years and have some tools in my toolbox for managing them.
The life-saving Emergency Fund
While my emergency fund is not funded where I have realised I want it to be, I am working on it.
I have developed tools around managing my money which means I now know where it is going and for the most part am happy with the destinations.
The destination that serves my “scarcity” mindset is my emergency fund and I have the comfort that while the conditions are currently not ideal, I am still persisting in directing what I can to this account.
I don’t always get this 100% right and do still have occasions of running over budget. However to manage my guilt around overspending and my expense overwhelm, I have created the checks and balances to catch myself quickly when my spending is becoming emotional.
I use an App to monitor my money flows and check on my credit card and bank accounts at a minimum once a week and when I need to be very vigilant, typically when I feel some emotional spending coming on, once a day.
I plan how much I need to spend on necessities and for life’s luxuries I apply the 48 hour rule. Bag but don’t buy for 48 hours. If in 48 hours it still seems like a life changing buy I am all in, no guilt. ok, a small manageable amount, but I am a work in progress!
And to manage the “not enoughness” and the jealousy I have established a practice of gratitude.
Whenever I feel the outraged jealousy or the depressing low self-esteem settling, I pull out my journal and get to work.
And I realise how blessed I have been in life. Yes, we all have histories, past and current challenges but they strengthen us, they show us what we are capable of and more importantly what the universe is capable of. When we stop looking inward, mourning all we do not have and look outward, celebrating the richness available to us, and reach for that richness by committing to act, the universe understanding our direction steps in to give us access to more than we can ever dream!