Getting better with money can feel like this maze that is something out of a Stephen King novel, but when you break it down there are only a few reasons why we slip up when it comes to money. Once you know these you can get better with your finances and start yourself down a road to a better and brighter future. First you need to get past these 5 obstacles, then you will know how to get better with money.
Obstacle 1: Spending Money As A Way To Relieve Boredom.
Tell me if any of this seems familiar? You’re at home. Sitting on the couch. Boredom sets in. Then you catch yourself thinking: “I’m bored, I should go shopping”.
So you jump into the car, or more likely open up Amazon, and begin a quest to lift your boredom. You go and search for something new, or new to you (if you are more of the frugal variety). It’s exciting and you feel alive again.
Eventually, you find something. Buy it. Then return back home. Only to find that you are bored again a day or two later?
You aren’t alone.
This is pretty common in todays world. We turn to spending as a way to feel better.
I struggle with this one all the time. Ever since I was in grade 8 (best 3 years of my life!) and onwards we would jump on the bus and go to the mall to hang out and buy the newest
tape errr… CD.
Spending money was just a part of the enjoyment, and it felt very rewarding to get something .
When you are looking for ways to get better with your money, getting past boredom is all about routine.
Just like everything else in our lives, we have routines based around things we do. You just need to establish new routines to replace the ones that cause you to buy things when you are bored.
Find other ways to relieve your boredom, like reading , exercising, going for a walk, or literally doing anything else to get your mind off of spending money.
Obstacle 2: Using Tomorrow’s Money to Buy Things Today
Here’s the deal that no one wants tell you when you start to ask “How can I get better with money?” But we are friends and I need to be frank here.
Every time you use debt to buy something, you are robbing your future-self of that money, and more in the form of compound interest. None of us really want to think of it that way, but it’s the hard truth.
When you use a credit that is future money you are using.
Money that you are eventually going to have to work for and then some (because like we mentioned there is interest), Essentially you are working longer too pay for something you’ll no longer use by the time it’s paid off.
You need to quit future-financing your life.
Or put another way:
Borrowing from your future, to pay for today, to impress people today that you probably won’t speak to in the future.
It just doesn’t make sense?
To get around this go on a cash diet and only spend money that you have. Using debt to finance your current lifestyle is only going to leave you in more hurt come tomorrow.
You’re on the right path!
Obstacle 3: Using Money As A Way To Fit In
I’m so guilty of this that I almost didn’t add it in here. Because I’m an adult (ish) and I still fall victim to this.
We all work hard for our money. It seems only fair that you get to celebrate that hard work.
When friends get together it can be hard to not conform. I don’t even want to call it social pressure, because the other people aren’t pressuring me. It’s an internal thing.
If everyone is buying steak, and you get an appetizer or soup, do you feel cheap?
When everyone else is driving the nicest new car and you are driving an old beater do you feel a little embarrassed?
It’s easier to spend and feel like you fit in.
It is hard to feel like the left out one.
But it’s ok, you are here for the long term and if you start cutting back a bit it won’t be bad. Your friends will still like you.
And if they don’t? Well, I think we both know they weren’t really your friends.
They were spending buddies.
There’s a big ol’ world of difference between those two groups of people.
To get around this obstacle, start to be true to yourself. If you want to get better with your money and you think that can’t happen going out with friends, then skip going out that night. If you think you can handle it then go out and tell them that you are saving up for something and need to be careful with what you spend your money on right now.
Chances are they will feel relieved and might spend less too. That’s what happened when I started doing it.
Obstacle 4: Using Money To Fill A Void
No need to go too deep on this one, but if you are buying things to feel better and a day or two later you feel crummy again… there is probably something else going on.
I’m no Dr. Phil but if there is some voice inside that is telling you spending money equates to you being a fulfilled person you need to think about that a little bit.
Figure out what that is, you will be waaaayyyy better off in the long run if you can fix whatever emotional issue is causing you to spend.
For me, I used to spend on little things as a way of treating myself.
And like all bad habits it got worse. Soon treating myself to little things graduated to bigger things. Much bigger things. Eventually, it caught up to me and things had to change.
The truth is that I was rewarding myself with stuff because I thought I needed stuff to be happy. Now I know that it’s not the case at all.
Do a little soul searching. Ask yourself why. Dig deep, it’s ok it’s just between you and well.. you !
Obstacle 5: Giving In To Every Passing Desire.
THIS ONE IS SOOOO HARD!!!!!
Because the desires never stop. They are always coming at you. Commercials, media, internet, there is so much out there designed for you to want things NOW!!!!
It used to be (and I realize I’m dating myself here… again) that if you wanted something you had to go out of the house to get it.
That was a huge barrier. You had to leave the house and go somewhere!
It meant getting in a car/bus/bike/horse/dinosaur and going down to the store and picking out something.
Then that something you wanted actually had to be in stock! Crazy times they were (as Yoda would say).
They were crazy, crazy times!
When you have these desires for new things, then make a list. Hold off on them. I have found over the years that by delaying my instant gratification I enjoy the purchase more. More often when you delay you will find that you don’t really want the item as bad as you did.
Delayed gratification is the way to go.
These are things that we all wrestle with. You aren’t alone. But if you want to become a superstar with money these are some of the obstacles you are going to face. I’m facing a lot them right now.
Here are some ways to overcome your obstacles:
- Go on a hiatus from online shopping. Its a lot hard to buy stuff when you have to leave the house. Try a shopping ban. Cait from Blonde on a Budget can get you started with that.
- Stop buying what you think you need to impress everyone else. They stop being impressed by that item pretty much right after you show them your new “thing”.
- Be true to yourself when you are with friends. If you are with them, they like you for who you are, not for how much you spend. Fill your life with
thingspeople that matter, and be honest with yourself.
- Stop using tomorrow’s money to pay for today. Your future self will thank you for it. 🙂
Can you think of any other obstacles that you need to overcome to improve your money situation ? Let’s talk about it in the comments below. 🙂
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