You’ve gone to your talented financial planner Alvin Carlos, and he's given you a beautiful budget and a great way to organize your financial life. You know your income, you have your retirement set-up, and you know how much you can spend each month. However, you consistently make choices that cause you to go over budget. You have all the financial tools at your disposal, but you can’t seem to get it together when it comes to overspending and utilizing these tools for your best interest.
Sometimes knowledge avails nothing when it comes to overspending. It’s possible to have the best tools, but still be your own worst enemy at managing money. It’s disillusioning and overwhelming when it’s the end of the month and yet again, you’re over budget. You know it’s not smart, you know you have good financial-planning tools, but you don’t know how to stop spending.
The answer to overspending isn’t more knowledge, but to work through the mental blocks and emotions that keep us believing we need to spend to feel good. Life is stressful, responsibilities are many, and there’s a good reason the phrase “retail therapy” exists. A good shopping trip can be a blissful break from reality! But if you’re consistently overspending each month, that retail therapy is hurting more than it’s helping. You need to find a new solution to the stresses and emotions of life.
Acceptance is the first step
Acceptance is part of the answer. First, you need to accept your reality of overspending and be aware that it’s happening. It’s ok. Be gentle with yourself. There’s no need to beat yourself up! This is about facing the facts rather than being disappointed in yourself. Acceptance is a beautiful first step so congratulate yourself for being honest.
Become aware of your money story
Now that you’re getting honest with yourself, you need to figure out what your money story is. We each have a money story that helps us see why we do the things we do. Open a document or take out your journal, and contemplate these questions:
Where did I first learn about money? What was the attitude towards money in the household I grew up in?
What are my negative feelings around money? What are my good attitudes towards money? How did I learn these feelings and attitudes?
What is my consistent money worry? Where did I learn this worry?
How are my current money behaviors hurting me? How do I want to feel about money?
My personal money story is filled with a lot of lack and impostor syndrome, because I didn’t grow up with much and somewhere along the way I learned that I don’t deserve to get paid much. Until I could get clear about these issues it was not possible for me to work on overcoming them. Alvin created me a budget, but I couldn't follow it until I allowed myself to feel supported. Alvin also gave me some great tips for creating more income, but I couldn't follow those steps until I believed that I was worthy of it. Now I am operating in a place where I am willing to go after my true earning capacity, and I'm more willing to turn to self-care instead of spending to fill my soul.
Live a solution
It’s time to create a positive solution to replace your negative overspending habit. This takes practice, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and loving with yourself in this process. It’s helpful to have a mentor, therapist, or coach to accompany you on this journey to give you accountability and positive feedback.
Step 1: Willingness. All you need to get started on your money solution is willingness. Willingness is the greatest tool we have to do things differently in life; it even brought you to reading this article. Willingness allows you to surrender, even if only a little, so that you can become open to change.
Step 2: Forgiveness. Forgive yourself for the money choices you’ve made up to this point. Beating yourself up does nothing but help you feel worse about yourself, which probably perpetuates your spending rather than stopping it. Tell yourself, “Self, I know I’ve done some things to hurt you, but I choose to do things differently. I forgive you, and I love you.” Repeat this mantra as many times as you need. Allow the mental shifts to happen.
Step 3: Mindfulness. One of the major problems of our society is that we are better at doing than being. It’s time to slow down, chill out, and learn to be at peace with only yourself as company. Seek out and practice mindfulness techniques, and you will see there are things far richer than spending money to fill your life.
Some of my favorite mindfulness techniques:
Practice repeating a positive mantra when you notice your desire to overspend. Ie: I welcome abundance, I choose love, or I believe in joy.
Have a gratitude journal and learn to be thankful for what you have.
Meditate to music with a positive message.
Sit and pay attention to your breathing for five to ten minutes.
Pay attention to where you feel the most authentic joy as opposed to immediate gratification in your life.
Go to the park and observe nature.
Step 4: Create a new money story for yourself. It’s time to have a positive belief system so get out your journal again and write down your new story. Write whatever comes to your mind for five to 10 minutes. Post your new story in a prominent place in your house and/or share with a trusted coach, mentor, or friend.
I’m certain that you will find these steps useful. Money and overspending troubles go deeper than having the right tool, budget, or amount of money so don’t be afraid to get honest with yourself and dive into the solution. With a little desire and willingness, you can have a healthy money relationship and practice freedom from overspending.
Rachel Schmidt is a Spiritual Coach. She supports people in reaching their goals by working through mental blocks with tools that bring healing and peace. Check her and her blog out at rachschmidt.ontrapages.com.