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I Can’t Control My Money

Today’s lie of the day is available as BOTH a podcast and in writing.  The podcast is a bit more intimate and animated, but take your pick, or try both! ;-)

This lie was one plagued me for a long time! When it comes to money, I have been really fantastic at spending it.  I had a great time doing it, too!  My theory was, if I have money, why save it?  It gives me power to have what I want, RIGHT NOW, what fun! Whenever I tried to take a time out and learn about money, or my finances, I literally got anxious, like looking at numbers literally made me sick.

Money is such an interesting thing – it comes, it goes, we like to keep it, we like to spend it, and finding a balance can be pretty damn tough. I was living this lie for years – believing that “I don’t understand money” and “I don’t get how to save money”.  And the wonderful thing about these lies was that they allowed me to spend, spend, spend!  And, when I saw something I wanted, there was no thought wasted.  I wanted it, I deserved it, I bought it!  I ended up with clothes I never wore, books I never read, and an apartment full of crap, cluttering up my bookcases, my tables, and sometimes the floor.

 Once in a while, I would have some credit card debt, and as soon as I paid it off, I of course deserved a reward and would run back out and buy more stuff to celebrate! More clothes, more books, more of everything I already had 25 of but couldn’t find because they were stuffed behind all the other crap in front of it… 

And then, I finally had enough. I decided if I could survive my childhood, live in other countries where I had to learn the language to make it by (and did!),and  negotiate Verizon into cutting down my 3-month lead time for DSL service to 2 weeks, then dammit, I can learn how to manage my own money. 

And wouldn’t you know it, no sooner than I made this decision, a class appeared for me to learn to manage my money. I began to talk myself out of shopping, and I consciously looked at my checkbook.  And, wait for it, I started SAVING money.  Instead of viewing the leftover money I had like I had just won the lottery, I looked at that money as an investment in my goals and my future.  I simply put more of it into my savings account, instead of into other people’s cash registers.

In fact, when I recently got a coupon to save $18 if I would just buy 3 products valued at $30, I began to calculate instead of shop.  “So, if I spend $90 on crap I don’t need, I can instead pay $72 and end up with 3 bottles of crap that clutter up my apartment, that, if I really did need any, I could have spent $30 on just one bottle?”  Where’s the sense in that?  (If you re-read that sentence, then you understand, it made no sense!) I tested myself by entering into stores and talking myself OUT of buying anything and was so proud of how I looked around and said, “I DON’T need that, nope, don’t need that either.  I have 3 of those…” 

And, the most empowering aspect of all is that I feel I am now in control of my money, rather than it controlling me. You see, if I can save money, and spend less, that means, if I hit a rough patch, I have the skills I need to survive it, which means, in the end, that I don’t have to be  afraid of not having money anymore, because no matter how much or how little I have, I will always have the ability to control my actions around money. 

If you’re caught in the “I can’t control my money” lie, I want to leave you with a call to action to help you be more empowered around your own money:

  1.  make the decision, right now, to step out of this disempowering belief
  2. find a way to educate yourself about how to save and invest money – that could be a magazine, a class, however it is that you learn best
  3. figure out your spending personality – a great resource to use is Olivia Mellan’s book “Money Harmony” – which can help you determine how to approach each personality

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