“I deserve it!”
“I’ve had a rough day, it’ll cheer me up.”
“It’s a bargain, they’re 50% off!”
“My friend Katy swears that everyone needs one of these.”
“I need the right car and it’ll only be an extra $500 a month, I can afford that.”
“I live a stressful life; a drink at the end of the day helps me wind down.”
If you’re anything like me, you can relate to one or more (maybe all!) of these quotes as things that you’ve heard yourself say to justify your spending. It’s these things that keep us locked into constant debt, in a state of living from paycheque to paycheque. If we want to change things, get out of debt, get out of the cycle of overspending and living from hand-to-mouth (even if it’s a silver-plated hand-to-mouth situation like ours is!), then we need to take three steps:
A few months ago, we decided to finally – finally – take control of our finances. Don’t get me wrong, we thought we were in control of our finances… actually, no, if I’m perfectly honest, we never really have thought we were in control of our finances.
We budgeted… and then promptly ignored the budgets, justifying ourselves with comments like “But it’s on sale! It’s such a bargain!” and “I’ve worked really hard and I deserve this! I’m going to treat myself!” or even “But it’s so nice, I’ve got to have it! It would be a shame to miss out!”
We reconciled the accounts and checked what we’d (over)spent against the budgets… and then went out for a nice drink & high quality meal to make ourselves feel better and drown our sorrows.
We got anxious and depressed whenever a visit to the accountants was coming up because we were ashamed and embarrassed by how we’d managed our finances.
The things is, I know we’re not alone in this. People have rarely had any real financial management education; we’re taught to SPEND, not to manage. We’re taught to buy things now, get another loan, start using that credit card. We’re taught that if we’re feeling sad, we should go out and buy things because that ad on the TV says that we’ll feel better if we do and the magazine said that car is the answer to all my dreams.
I was sitting in a gorgeously green & lush garden café in Byron Bay with my beautiful bestie who was happily tucking into her second glass of Prosecco (I was on another kind of fizzy – water- as I had 5 more hours of driving to do that day) when she said something that jolted me like a cattle prod. “It is so good to owe nothing to no one. To be able to do whatever you like and not have to worry about any debts or upcoming bills or anything like that.” She sighed happily and ordered another glass of wine, while I buried my face in my water, hoping to all hell that she hadn’t picked up on the “oof” that came out of my mouth when her words hit me in the solar plexus or seen the flash of envy that turned my eyes bright green for a second.
I can hand on heart say that this was a defining moment for me. This was the moment when
Ooh! That’s a bit harsh! I can hear the indignant, affronted replies from here: “What do you mean, I am where I am? Do you mean that I’m choosing to have no money and live from pay cheque to pay cheque while I dream about winning the lottery all the time? No way! I want to be rich! I want to win the lottery! I don’t want to work any more! I want to lie on a beach all day, drinking Pina Coladas and doing nothing! Do you think I’d choose to live this way if I didn’t have to?” Well actually, yes; that’s exactly what I mean. I do think you’re choosing to stay poor and not be rich, for sure. Let’s face facts, if you wanted to be wealthy, you’d be wealthy, right?
Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, Along with my husband, John, and my brother, Alan, we are the YouTube channel, Stop Being So Poor - The hows, the whys and the fun in making money.
The articles on this website may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.