What is your “money script”? These are sayings we tell ourselves that can hurt us or help us. Sometimes I say, “do what you love and the money will come”. In fact I do believe it is a true statement but there are other personal promises we must act on in order to fulfill that simple thought.
When people say, “we can’t afford it” many think there must be a greater force determining what the family can and can’t buy. It sounds like “we have no control over what we can buy”. If your parents said this you may be less likely to use budgets and charge big items on your charge card without a plan on how to pay for them. This mental talk can make you think, “what the heck” I’ll suffer the consequence later.
The better inner dialogue is “I’m choosing not to buy that right now so I can purchase something else that’s more important to me later”. This is called thinking of purchases as an option in which you have control over buying or not buying. You will feel like you are taking your power back and that is a good feeling.
During your formative years perhaps you heard “ask your father” or “men are better with money”. This was especially bad for young girls to hear. It implied women could not set financial goals or simply, that men were in charge. In later years we are told it can make those same women less likely to ask their boss for a deserved increase and less likely to make money decisions at all. Scheduling a regular meeting with your spouse to discuss your family expenses, income and savings decisions helps that individual. You don’t want to check out of the financial side of your life.
You may be a retail therapy junkie. You’re in a bad mood and you decide to go shopping. This is a comfort level that may make you feel good now but be really down on yourself later. Linking feelings of happiness or disappointment to the mall will replace emotions with objects. It blocks the coping with the normal highs and lows of daily living. Instead, make a list of activities to do with the family or by yourself that are free and when the aggravation of a bad situation takes over, go to your list. You will discover that a walk, bike ride, trip to a coffee bar with a friend is a better and more lasting fix than new clothes.
If you grew up hearing, “okay, you can have this money but don’t tell mom or dad”, you may be the secretive buyer. This buyer is an adult financial secret partner who believes you can trick yourself or spouse by keeping your money in a secret account or you put your purchases under the bed before anyone comes home and sees what you’ve done. This can shatter the trust in a relationship. It sends the message that your spouse isn’t trustworthy enough to know the true financial facts. It also puts a lot of stress on the partner keeping “all the secrets”. You are giving up the opportunity to buy what you want, when you want it, for carrying the entire financial load. That can be a huge load for one person to carry alone. Don’t wait to get busted. Come clean and share the financial truth.
Real wealth is net worth, not all the outward trappings. If you’re spending into the red to “keep up”, stop it. A real help is to volunteer by helping those who have less than you. It’s a reminder as to how much you have to be grateful for. It is also a reminder that money skills can be learned so that you never find yourself in this stressful predicament.
Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate with schools in Austin/Round Rock, Dallas/Plano, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Online. For more information, please visit www.ChampionsSchool.com.