START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
After writing about money for nearly a decade, it’s hard not to notice the adjustments you make with how you spend, budget and invest. In the early stages of my money journey, I was doing the best I could to get back on track financially, pay off my debt and move forward with my life.
It took just one year to get to a place where I could start building new habits and putting my future first. But it took much longer to understand the emotional side of a dollar and how valuable understanding the psychological side of spending and saving truly impacts our financial lives.
So, today, I’d like to share some of the financial lessons I’ve learned based on old habits that did the trick at the time but that I wouldn’t necessarily encourage others to attempt.
In the beginning, most of the advice I found and followed was traditional. It was all about restricting myself in every way possible to put everything I earned towards my debt. I removed all aspects of spending to the point where I didn’t know how when I finally had money to spend again. I was terrified to go back to a place where I had nothing — and that’s when I first learned about the scarcity mindset.
A scarcity mindset is an obsession with living without something you need. Suddenly, thinking about life without money is all you can focus on, and it becomes impossible to break through the fear that comes with buying things you may have saved for. You become so used to living without something when you finally have access to that need — it almost becomes a burden.
For that reason, cutting yourself off from everything in times of dire need can be extremely dangerous. So instead, the focus should be on finding balance and being able to repay your debts while still teaching yourself how to spend and save responsibly. Otherwise, you’ll have to go from one lesson to the next without being able to take a breath — and that can make money exhausting.
Growing up in a society that puts a ton of emphasis on work before play took me (and still takes me) a lot of self-reflection to make sure I don’t burn myself out. I’m used to always working more than one job at a time and cramming in as many extracurricular activities as possible. Finding downtime is a chore in itself, and I still struggle to allow myself to relax without feeling eternal guilt.
I even used to go as far as making myself feel ‘lazy’ for paying for close parking or spending money on any convenience fee. But, now, I embrace those costs. They lessen my stress and save me time — and seeing as time costs money, it’s a great way to understand what purchases I consider worthwhile versus the investments I can live without.
I’ve stopped correlating most of my financial decisions to any negative connotation because I never want to make myself feel bad for spending money on something that I once considered a good idea. Even if it isn’t my favourite expense, it can always become a lesson.
Read: Why ‘Hustle Culture’ is Incredibly Problematic
Something I’ve learned throughout the last decade is that saying no to some work opportunities can be a wiser decision than saying yes. I hate turning down money — and who doesn’t? But what I hate more than turning down money is having to turn down time I could be spending doing the things I love or being with the people I love. So if I lose balance for taking on too many responsibilities, it’s not a win. Because, as a close acquaintance once told me, financial freedom is about time, not money.
Although I’ve changed many of my opinions and perspectives regarding money, some have stayed the same. I’m still highly dedicated to helping people understand a few things:
You don’t have to follow traditional money milestones
Owning a home isn’t for everyone (and isn’t always a wise investment)
Tracking the emotional side of your money is equally as important
We shouldn’t normalize debt to the extreme that we do
The best first money step you can take is to save for financial emergencies
What are some of your money rules or mindset shifts that have come with time? Let me know in the comments!
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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