Most of us are searching for ways to improve ourselves in one way or another, but many of us also go way too far with that notion. We are too hard on ourselves, compare ourselves to others and will go to painful and stressful lengths to change. Some change is good, but taken to the extent some of us do it can be emotionally damaging. If that wasn’t reason enough to take a step back from our quest of instant perfection, here are a few financial ones.
Do you have every self help book known to man? Do you have self help systems endlessly downloading to your computer or blowing up your email? Do they tell you that all you have to do to be thinner, happier, have a more active brain and a great marriage is subscribe for this low price of ten dollars each? That’s forty dollars right there that you have lost.
Do these series and methods help or do they sit in a folder in your email or on your desktop. While some self improvement is a good thing in your life, an excess can be stressful and expensive. Also, while many people are genuine in their desire to help you improve, others are just making a buck off of your insecurities. Don’t let them.
Making Comparisons Without All The Facts
How we perceive others can be a big part of why we spend too much money. We look at others and see that perfect dress, state of the art make up and most advanced technology. We think to ourselves that we must not be making enough money and either drive ourselves crazy trying to earn that money, or go into to debt for it.
What we don’t know is that these people are looking at us seeing a big backyard, family trips or that sweet pool table in our game room. We all choose the things that are important to our family. We all decide what we can do without. No one should be attempting to have everything.
Deprivation Of The Fun Things In Life
While you are spending your money on self help and things you don’t want, but feel you should have, you aren’t spending money on those things that you do want and would actually make you happier. For example, you might feel that you may feel more fulfilled if you could acquire a certain crafting talent. That sense of accomplishment could erase negative feelings and you would be buying items that help create fun rather than tell you something is wrong with you.
I admit it. I’m an emotional spender. If I am feeling depressed or angry or trapped there is nothing like acquired validation. The problem is that this form of self medicating can ruin my financial (and thus the rest of my) life. Particularly in a day and age where all I have to do is click my savings away at online stores. Once I accepted that I had this problem, I was able to combat it.
Go Card Free
I don’t have cards. I don’t have credit cards, debit cards, store cards, or any other card that allows me to spend my money with a swipe while ignoring the cost on the screen. I have checks because I have to see how much I am writing out in order to use a check, but there was a time I didn’t even trust myself with checks. I carried cash for my daily needs. I shopped only stores near my bank so that I wouldn’t lose my money between the bank and the grocery store. In short, I restricted my access to convenient money.
I didn’t tell the whole world. I did tell my fiance. I told him that when we got married I couldn’t have access to the account. I would work, and I would bring in money, but he needed to be the one to police the account. It made me feel a little juvenile, but I felt this conversation was a better one to have than the one about where all the money went.
What I was in charge of was paying the bills. I would make sure our rent got payed on time or that our electric bill was paid in full. This kept me in touch with our financial situation and kept me more rational about wanting to spend.
These of course are temporary fixes. I couldn’t go my whole life avoiding money. I had to face the problem of what was making me want to spend. In my case it was an expression of self worth. Wasn’t I worth a new dress? Wasn’t I worth eight settings of dishes in my choice of color and design? Of course I was! It wasn’t until a friend pointed out my spending to me that I realized I had a problem.
Spending can be an addiction and just like any other addict I needed a support system. Since I recognized my problem early I relied on family and friends and was able to deal with my issue without proffesional help. Others are not so fortunate. Many don’t have a support system to help them and could end up swimming in a river of debt and unpaid bills. For these people proffessional help is the best way to avoid spending more money than they have.