If you love to spend money, but hate yourself when you do, you are not crazy. Many of us love to shop, buy gifts or conquer a great sale. But afterwards we feel that gnawing in our stomach. That doubt. That guilt.
We often get questions from readers about this feeling. For instance, Brooke, a participant at one of our events, told us this story:
I really love my job, finally. After reading a million articles about people who couldn't believe they get paid to do what they love. I am finally one of them! With too many false starts to count, I found a fit in advertising. Apparently my hair-brained ideas and constant doodling are valuable when focused and refined. The pace is insane and the workload massive, but I finally make great money to do what I love.
So why do I feel horrible when I buy things? Almost everything I buy makes me feel guilty later. Whether it's an iPad I need for work or a skirt on sale — I feel guilty. Initially, I love looking at the options, trying stuff on, deciding which one is best, making the purchase and then, like heartburn from a bad burrito, I feel it. A fiery knot of self-judgment and doubt forms in my stomach. I start thinking, "Why did I buy this? Was it really a great deal? My credit card balance is killing me. I could live without this. Can I take it back?"
I feel trapped in an exhausting cycle. And it takes all joy out of my success and ability to purchase things I like and need. How do I stop feeling like this?
Brooke has an approach to money ingrained in her as far back as her first doodle. We all do. We call your natural approach to money your Money Personality. It affects your daily decisions and feelings about money. Brooke has enough stress with her long hours, she does not need to feel more stress buying what she needs and likes.
There are five ways every individual approaches money; what we like to call, five Money Personalities. Everyone has a Primary and a Secondary Money Personality, and without seeing Brooke's results, we'd guess she's a Spender/ Saver. (It's more common than you'd think). So you lead with your Spender Money Personality and buy the iPad. You enjoy the process, the purchase, and the new gadget for work. Then your secondary Saver jumps in and dumps shame and guilt all over you for your purchase.
You can stop the frustrating emotional rollercoaster with these three steps.
- Feel Free To Get Real. How do you really feel about money? What do you fear and what do you like about money? Note your inner dialog about upcoming purchases and even past expenses. The unknown is scary so understand yourself and your patterns better and remove that fear. If you have five minutes, take our free online quiz to identify your Primary and Secondary Money Personalities. Give it some thought. When you know yourself better, you can ride the twists and turns on the rollercoaster without feeling sick to your stomach.
- Forgive Yourself. No one is perfect. But no one else is the perfect blend of you either. Don't beat yourself up. Forgive yourself for overspending, taking too many risks, not following a budget or worrying about whether you should have spent the money at all. Forgive yourself and move on.
- Celebrate Your Balance. If this love-hate relationship with money is common in your life, don't despair. Your opposite perspectives can provide helpful balance in your relationship with money. Your Primary Spender Money Personality makes spending money, a necessary part of life, not so painful. And your Secondary Saver Money Personality can keep the amount and frequency of those purchases in check. Your opposite approaches to money can provide tremendous balance and equilibrium in your life.
We can't escape money. But we can escape feeling bad about our purchases, our savings and our relationship with money.
You're not alone. You can take steps to experience peace in place of frustration in your relationship with money. If you see this teeter totter money headache in your life or someone close to you, we'd love to help. Please leave us a comment or email us at Info@TheMoneyCouple.com.
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