Here’s a secret: I hate money.
I love managing my money. I love understanding why people make financial decisions. I love tools and gadgets that make personal finance easier.
But I hate money itself. I hate the way it makes me feel. I especially hate the power it has over me.
And I know that it’s holding me back from being truly happy.
Your Secret Beliefs about Money
I asked a few of my friends to share their thoughts about money, their beliefs and what “rich” or “poor” feels like to them. Here are a few beliefs and feelings that stood out to me:
- Money doesn’t come easily
- If you want to save, you have to control your money
- I feel rich when I have “extra” money, but I second guess myself when it comes to spending it
- Not worrying about my budget makes me feel rich
- A small savings account makes me feel poor
Do you identify with any of these? I know I do.
Money represents so many emotions for us: power, worry, security (and insecurity). We want to control it, but that tends to make us stress out more.
What’s Holding Me Back
Some of my friends have recognized that they have some unhealthy beliefs about. Others haven’t explored that yet.
I know what my financial demons are, and I have yet to slay them. I’m also not quite sure how to do it.
I feel as if a confession might be a step in the right direction… so here’s my secret belief about money:
I believe that money is hard-earned, precious and finite. I believe once it’s in my possession, it should become instantly earmarked for my budget. Every dollar that comes in goes towards debt or monthly expenses. Any extra money gets shuffled into my savings goals. It’s all allocated and accounted for. I earned it, and I need it.
The consequence: I’m unable to give my money freely to others.
There. I said it. I’m selfish with my money.
It means I can’t treat my friends to a dinner or a drink without feeling like my budget is going to spiral out of control. I can’t splurge on an evening out with my boyfriend and treating him to dinner – knowing that I will love that restaurant, even if it’s a little pricier – without worrying about my checking account balance.
And it’s irrational. I have plenty of money.
My belief stems from my childhood, and the feeling that there wasn’t enough money to do the things I wanted. I’m making up for lost time, but instead of enjoying it, I’m hoarding my money because I feel insecure. And that means skimping out on my friends and my loved ones.
But just because I grew up this way doesn’t mean I have to deal with it the rest of my life.
What do you want to believe in?
Here’s what I’m committed to believing in:
Freedom is greater than money.
If you give freely, you receive freely.
My first step is to stop obsessing over spending categories and tracking every penny I spend. And I’m going to do the previously unthinkable: I’m going to stop using a budget.
Without a budget, I’ll probably spend more money. I’ll probably watch my checking account balance fall below the sacred $1,000 mark.
But you know what? The freedom will be worth it. And so will the ability to buy my friend a cup of coffee without checking my budget first.
What money beliefs are holding you back from feeling rich and making peace with your finances? Parents, what are the beliefs that you are cultivating for your kids?
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