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I’ve been working hard on sorting out my money for the past 4 years – I thought I was doing ok…
My net worth has vastly improved, I have savings and investments and my blog is doing well.
But then I started planning a wedding!!
We had our first show around last weekend in preparation for a wedding in around 18 months time. (FYI – if you’re planning a wedding, apparently you can never start too early as I am rapidly finding out!!). Of course, we fell in love with the first place we saw (which also happens to come with a £6450 price tag for hire, and not much else), which now means that all the other venues we see will be compared to this one, and this will take some beating.
We have had a week away from the first viewing and time to reflect on our response.
(I say we, I really mean me)
Here’s what I realised;
I had allowed my emotions to take over my thinking, and this is exactly why I got into debt in the first place.
Old habits die hard I guess.
Out With The Old?
Changing a habit of a lifetime is very difficult to do. If you’ve tried to give up anything you’ll know how hard it can be. The act of throwing the cigarettes in the bin, or setting up a new budget is the easy bit.
The hard bit is the mental torture you put yourself through afterwards.
We are creatures of habit, and boy do we like holding on to them!
January is a time for reflection on the past year and for aiming for a good year ahead. If you’ve set yourself some goals, the biggest issue you are going to have to achieve them is…..YOU.
In my case, the old pattern of being emotional around spending money had started to play out.
We may still yet end up going with this first venue, but if we do, it will be a conscious decision and an acceptance that it will cost more money, meaning that other areas of the budget will need to adjust accordingly so that we stay within it! I’ll be re-reading the post you helped me write so that I can get some thrifty ideas!!
So What Is A ‘Broke’ Mindset?
This is quite simply one that will only ever keep you stuck in a rut of living payday to payday. It is similar to a phrase I first heard from T. Harv Eker in his book: “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind*”. He actually said poverty mindset, but I think that can be grossly misinterpreted.
He claims that based on the way you answer questions about money and life, he can predict whether you have money or not. He says that there are a number of tell-tale ways he can spot a broke person verses a rich one.
He also claims that we set ourselves a limit of how much we are “allowed” to earn and that this subconscious glass ceiling can be broken and reset to a much higher number.
He references Donald Trump with his ceiling being “billionaire” status, and whether you like Trump or not, he serves as a good example. Eker makes the point that no matter how many times that man goes bankrupt, he will always get back to where he was. He would never “just” be a millionaire or less because his mindset simply wouldn’t allow him to. He has grown accustomed to being a billionaire.
For many of us, our “glass ceiling” may be our overdraft. No matter how much we try, we always seem back in it again.
Now whether this is just clever marketing to sell his courses (that he REGULARLY plugs in the book), I don’t know, and obviously there are always going to be exceptions to this.
A lot of our status in life is dependent on our backgrounds, whether our parents have a privileged position in society, and whether or not we are fit and healthy and able-bodied enough to work.
However, I do think there IS something in what he is saying. I’m sure you have heard plenty of “rags to riches” stories. You only need do a quick google search and you’ll see them.
In order to change anything about our life, we need to change ourselves first.
“If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible” – T. Harv. Eker.
To explain a bit better what I mean, I’ll give you examples in my own life and see if any of these resonate with you:
Putting Things Off
Decluttering, listing things on eBay to sell, booking extra hours at work, cleaning my house, ironing. It doesn’t matter what activity it is, if I don’t want to do it, I won’t make the time to. There is always “something else” that needs sorting out first.
I remember reading an instagram feed which was a conversation about ironing sheets for the bed. One woman commented “who has time for that” and was met with a barrage of criticism from people who did make time for it. I don’t condone internet trolling, but it makes my point – one woman’s priority is another’s pointless activity.
It’s all about what WE decide is important. If I don’t want to clean or do what it takes to lose weight, I won’t.
The same goes for my patients. I have seen plenty of people who know they are overweight and need to lose it, or smoke and need to stop, but manage to come up with every excuse going for why they can’t, even in the face of serious illness.
But excuses keep us stuck in the same place all the time. Something needs to change in order to change!!
Conversely, people with a lot of money (self-made millionaires/billionaires I’m talking about) have worked damn hard to be there. They pull out all the stops to make things happen, and they do it quickly. Many of my mentors have echoed the same thing in their seminars and books, and they are all millionaires.
I know who’s example I’ll be following in 2019!
What To Do About It
Where are you putting things off?
Don’t make excuses anymore – when you want to do something you WILL make time and you CAN make time.
Use an app like toggl to track where you are directing your time. You may be shocked!
Maxing Out My Budget
If I have a limit in my budget, you can bet I’ll find a way to spend it. I had a £2,000 overdraft in my student days, and I was always in it. I spent every little bit of money I had and more. It’s almost like I didn’t like to see any money in my account!!
After years of struggle, I’m now firmly out of my overdraft and plan to stay there. But I am having to learn to be comfortable with money being left in my account as a buffer.
I am also learning to be ok with not necessarily spending my budget in full. When my salary goes up after my training, I want to be conscious of spending creep. Ideally, I’ll stay on the same salary and bank the remainder.
The danger with pay rises is that we adjust our SPENDING along with the pay rise and always feel broke. That’s why people on really big salaries can “feel poor” even when they earn more than most people – their outgoings leave them with very little buffer every month and this puts them at risk.
What To Do About It
Are you maxing out your budget every month? Are you telling yourself that “you don’t have any money”, but manage to find the money to have coffee or eat out for lunch nearly every day?
If this is you, track your spending for a month and only use cash. I bet you’ll find it a massive eye-opener! Suddenly you’ll find the money you need to kickstart your savings or pay off debt faster. To develop a better mindset around money, we need to give up spending every little bit we bring in and get used to saving and investing a proportion of it.
And this takes time and patience.
Buying Things To Look Wealthy
For a long time I thought that in order to be “rich”, you had to like “rich people things” like designer clothes, shoes and bags. I used to read fashion magazines and coo over the latest miu miu handbag or jimmy choo heel.
It’s safe to say that those are no longer a distraction in my life.
I now spend time cooing over stock-market dips and get excited that I can buy more. Opening new savings accounts excites me more than buying the latest handbag (I can’t say the same for shoes though – these still make me happy).
Self-made rich people generally don’t do this. They don’t plaster themselves in designer gear or carry around the latest accessories. They KNOW that this is a massive waste of money, and they KNOW that spending cash on these items detracts away from the ability to generate assets (that definitely AREN’T a waste of money).
I read about this in the Millionaire next door*. It’s often the people who look unassuming and drive around in old cars and have modest houses that have the most money. They don’t spend money on things that don’t make them money. When they buy toys they use assets to do it for them, not their well earned cash.
For me, this concept took a while to understand, but now I get it, I don’t care if I am driving around in a crappy car, or if I don’t follow the latest fashions.
What To Do About It
So where are you being “showy” out of habit? Where can you ditch the unnecessary spending and sort out your savings or your debt? I suggest printing out bank statements for the last few months and use three highlighters (red, orange and green) to show the following:
- Essential spends. If you didn’t spend money on these it would be bad (mortgage/utilities/MAIN food shop/petrol/council tax) – use green
- Money you spend on things you don’t really have to spend money on, but would ruin your quality of life if you didn’t. Only you can determine this! (e.g. netflix/sky/season tickets/clothing/socialising/gym) – use orange
- Spending on everything else, usually out of habit or poor planning (random money withdrawals from an ATM/drinks out/small repeated trips to the supermarket/amazon spending etc) – use red
Be honest with yourself. What did you highlight as “orange” that was really a “red”. For me, I would put birchboxes and equivalents into “red” because it really wouldn’t be a priority of mine. For beauty bloggers, it probably would be, but then they might be reviewing it on their blog for example. However, not having sky sports would seriously impact my partner, and I don’t want a grumpy man around the house!!
Try a no-spend on “red stuff” for 6 months and see how much money you can save.
Giving Up Too Easily
This is a big one for me. My money situation ONLY started to change when I put into practice what I had learned, AND kept going in spite of everything going on around me.
For example, I have invested every month now for 3.5 years- it’s the longest amount of time I’ve ever maintained something like this.
I could have easily decided that when I was in need of that money, I could stop the payments for a while, but I remembered what I had read about compounding and time out of the market being bad in the long term, so I have stuck with it.
I’m not throwing loads of my cash into investing, because I still have debt and I still need savings, but I will keep going with it regardless.
It’s not as easy for my savings, but I am trying to be disciplined, and I have opened up an account that is out of sight, out of mind which helps.
I have tracked my net worth properly for the past 2 years and have seen it rise over this time. This is such an exciting concept to me, and keeps me motivated to carry on my debt-freedom journey!
The other part that helps me massively is learning more and writing about it. Having you for support with me keeps me focused on my goals because it’s not just about me anymore.
What To Do About It
There will be MANY times where you will feel like giving up. I have used my credit card numerous times when I probably shouldn’t have (but now pay it off in full every month) for example, and I have certainly spent money when I should have saved. It’s human nature and habit!
I would also have money set aside every month for you to spend money however you like – call it your “fun money”. It’s like being allowed chocolate on a diet. It keeps you going!
Remember your “why”!! I want to be debt-free before I start having babies. What do you want to achieve? Perhaps it’s a dream holiday to Disneyland for your kids, or paying off your mortgage. Whatever it is, have it firmly on your mind and/or stuck up on the fridge or wall. Write it out everyday in a diary if you have to. Whatever works, keep remembering your goal, ESPECIALLY when you want to slack off or give up.
Learning about how to manage money is one thing, the mindset around it is another. We are battling with ourselves and this is hard! We will never be in control at all times – the old patterns creep in unexpectedly from time to time, but if you put in place some firm boundaries and do things consciously, you’ll manage to minimise the impact.
Until next time,
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