Do you know you should have a budget, but also know you won’t stick to one?
Do you believe that other people magically manage their money effectively, but there is something wrong with you that you don’t?
Most people know they should live by a budget, but we don’t know how to create a budget that they will actually follow.
Budgets are like diets: we start strong and then “cheat” and then “fail.”
Just like diets, most budgets don’t really work in practice because they assume we only engage in rational behavior.
Just like food, money is not rational.
Money is deeply emotional.
Money is deeply rooted in feelings and beliefs we have about safety, risk, scarcity, and abundance.
When our budgets don’t work with our money emotions, we abandon them quickly.
You are not lazy or irresponsible. You are likely doing the best you can with what you’ve got.
What you’ve got is a culture having the wrong conversations (or no conversation at all) about money, a lack of meaningful education about personal finance, and a misunderstanding about how we relate to money.
If you are longing to follow a budget, but don’t trust yourself to actually do it, start by getting curious about your “money mind.”
What was the money story in your family growing up? Was there never enough?
Was there what you needed, but not what you wanted?
Was there shame or guilt in messages about money?
Was there a lot of money?
How was it talked about, or not?
How do you feel in your body when you think about money? Do you feel tight and anxious? Do you feel suddenly blank and confused? Does your stomach turn a little? Does it feel hard to breathe? These sensations are nervous system responses to the idea of money. You might go into fight/flight/freeze when it comes to money. We rarely make rational decisions from these states.
Are you surprised to find that you have a lot of feelings about money now that you think about it?
You are not alone. We all experience this and that is why we can’t talk solutions without doing the work of getting to know and healing our money emotions.
Financial Wellness Tip:
Take 15-20 minutes (or 5, if that’s what you’ve got), and write out the answers to the questions above. Take a peak inside your money mind and get to know a little bit about why you do (or don’t do) what you do.
Then, place a hand on your chest and say to yourself, “This is not my fault. I am not bad for feeling these feelings. AND, I can heal and make changes that serve me in my own time.”