Day 298/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
When it comes to spending habits, my life is clearly defined by two distinct periods: before becoming a single parent, and after.
Single with no commitments and fewer responsibilities before 40 years of age, there's no debating that I developed less than helpful spending habits.
All the threats and scare tactics in the world didn't make much difference to my saving efforts. I saved well, for more experiences, and enjoyed each and every one of them. In fact, I deprived myself of very little.
That was a time of interest rates running between 18 and 20% and up to 27% on credit cards. I needn't worry, my income was good and I didn't spend what I didn't have as a rule.
Of course rules are meant to be challenged and that I did when overseas, spending my credit card to the max knowing I could return home, get a job and my first paycheck before the next credit card payment was due.
Young and carefree!
Now I'm old and carefree. I'm very happy that I didn't spend all that time and energy ferreting away money for retirement, or on expensive mortgages, or worrying about healthcare, or some other fear based anxiety that kept me on the treadmill in the rat race. I decided to live, and I'm still living.
When I needed additional security I did the next thing and started and succeeded with a business. That bought me my freehold home.
After that I started another business to give me a reasonable income while I raised my son single handedly. It gave us enough to satisfy our needs and a little extra for holidays and fun.
Living overseas, when it was time to come home I did so with cash.
Did I ever worry about money? Yes, of course. Worry is in/was in my DNA so I found lots of things to worry about, including money. Yet my life has been fairly effortless. The worry never helped one little bit and was wasted energy. What did help was having a fairly good idea of where I was going and what I would need.
Returning home was going to be when my son reached a certain age, so that gave me 10 years to stay steady in the direction of that goal.
When I wanted to build a new home on my return in my home country I knew my budget was borderline so I hunted down a reputable builder who would work with me to purchase all the materials at cost price.
Over the course of some time I learned a lot about money. It was a great accomplishment to understand money and know how to get it to work for me, instead of me working for it. More importantly shifting my perspective from worry to curiosity about money was a game changer.
There are lots of reasons that money is not exactly abundant in my life, yet I always have enough. That experience is also coded into my DNA. Will that change? Perhaps.
One caution I want to add is the idea that you can "fake it until you make it", with money or anything else. Seriously, this is the worst advice you can receive. There is nothing empowering about knowing you are faking it. It's not going to generate the right energy and motivation in your life, period. Forget this advice.
What settles the money question is living within your means. That simple truth that you mother taught you. Live within your means. What do you earn? How far does it stretch? What can you live without?
Nurture the discipline to live a life that works for you in the present. At least make that effort to live comfortably and joyfully now, without overspending on shyte that has no value tomorrow.
I love Sadhguru's advice, "If you were born into this world, you are already in profit. You were born with nothing, and now you have something."
Manage your spending habits by managing your lifestyle. Get really curious and interested in your lifestyle and how you can adjust it to enjoy the life you want, and do that within your means. Get creative, get curious, get courageous with what you need.
When I want something, first I hunt around to see if I can get it for swap or free. I also give a lot of stuff away free in my community. Then when I need something in particular it's not difficult to ask. Today I picked up a second-hand worm farm cafe for free, to restore and set up for a friend for a Christmas gift. Okay a worm farm cafe may not float your boat, but it's what interests me and it's $85 I don't need to find. Lots of people have used ones set aside in their garden shed no longer in use. Why not search them out and put them to use. I swapped it for a handful of calendula seeds.
If I can't get it for swaps or free, then second-hand markets are my next go to. Recently I purchased a huge glazed pot in perfect condition for $35. Potted up with an easy care succulent, that's another gift for a family member.
If you have spending habits that are hard to get under control you may need to take drastic measures and cut up your cards, remove apps on your phone and other devices. It's never been easier to spend money than it is now.
More importantly you need to have a money goal. If it's important enough to you, then that is likely to help you curb your spending habits.
Consider where you want to be in the longer term. Do you want to retire at 65? Do you want freedom to work part-time when you have children? Do you want to work part-time, period? Do you want to take an annual holiday? Do you have an interest that you can turn into a business venture that will occupy you for the remainder of your life?
Retirement never interested me, anymore than getting engaged with the whole retirement planning thing. I chose to have the education and career that would interest me into my dotage. One that wasn't physically demanding, I wanted to continue to earn for as long as I felt excited and engaged. Additionally, I want to be occupied with people, not necessarily sitting at home on my deck watching the grass grow. Although I'll admit, I do enjoy watching my garden grow.
Leaving travel plans and experiences of life until I retired was a choice I consciously avoided. Experiencing the world whilst I was young enough and healthy enough was an important priority.
Yes I know it goes counter to popular opinion and sound advice. And I would say, "exactly!" Popular opinion and the "done thing" never really worked for me. I looked into the future and at all the retirees that I knew and I realised that wasn't the lifestyle that I wanted for myself. I wanted something else, and there were no roadmaps, no directions, no instructions. I had to figure it out as I went along.
Best decision ever. I live on my terms, and have been doing so since I was 45 years of age.
And here I am. Taking the next step. Still taking the next step and still eating well, resting well, feeling safe and feeling secure and feeling alive every.single.day.
A last word: Don't forget that the another thing about spending habits and money attitudes generally is ancestral inheritances of the kind that blindside your efforts, with a mix of personal beliefs and expectations. That's where a psychotherapist can really help you to unravel what's there for you. It's the fastest way to overcome those sorts of obstacles, so get help.
Seriously, if you're reading this and there's any internal dialogue going on that's not totally supportive, get help. The only thing that is going to change the way you spend is to understand the way you think about money, both consciously, AND more importantly, subconsciously. It's got everything to do with your money memory, and your sense of security and safety, passed down through the generations to arrive with you and the life you live now.
Forget about mindset and willpower around money. These are tools of commerce that have no place in your life if you are serious about evolving into a creative and sovereign human who is the master of yourself and your life. If that's not important, then carry on. No change required.
If that is important, then "know thyself" is the rudder setting the direction of your life. Put all your energy into understanding every single corner of your many layers of memory. Every experience of disharmony is the doorway to more understanding, and if your spending habits are not supporting your life, then that's a great starting place.
I do the work I do because I know what it has taken to turn my life around, and I'm offering to share that with others who are serious about evolving.
Get help. Stop struggling. Make big strides with support.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.