Today I want to take a look at how looking after yourself is a really great way of staying on track with your money goals.
The other day I went to a conference for women and it was the most amazing experience! One of the things that came out of the conference for me was how self care is such an important aspect of everything that we do.
Self care is important to control work stress, it improves your relationships with your family and friends, and it stops you from playing out harmful roles like martyr or victim or superwoman (if you go to the conference you’ll understand what I’m on about!). It also, importantly, stops you from OVERSPENDING!
The conference inspired me to write this, because the whole aspect of self care really did resonate with me when it came to thinking about money and how we spend it.
What usually happens
How many times have you gone out shopping and you’ve purchased something because you had felt like you deserved it or felt like you’d had such a tough day that you needed to buy something to de-stress? How many times have you then gone on to regret these purchases when the credit card bill comes or when you look at your bank account and realise that actually you have x, y and z to pay for instead.
We do it ALL THE TIME!
If you’re an emotional spender, then you’ll recognise this pattern very well.
One of the things that I advocate in my community is having some money set aside on a monthly basis for your fun. This is not money that you spend on your family or your partner.
This is money that you use just for you.
What would you spend this money on? It might be that each month you want to go and have a massage. Great. Now you have to have the money in your budget to do that. So rather than neglecting it and putting it down your priority list to “some-day”, actually DECIDE to have the money set aside. In other words, it’s a form of “paying yourself first”.
I would suggest that when you look at your budget, you try to set aside around 10% of your income. Initially you might not have this much to spend with all your outgoings, but I want you to challenge yourself and examine where you can make savings to free up this money and stick to it.
Now I’m going to make a confession here because I’ve been going wrong with this for a while and partly this is out of trying to put money into investing and put money into paying off debt.
What I’d been doing is rather than putting 10% of my money into a separate account for me to spend every month, I’d been putting around 5% or less in there. And actually that was making me feel really, really restricted. I was noticing that I was getting upset because I was running out of money within 2 weeks of being paid and it was stressing me out! I then started to steal money from other areas just so that I could continue to go out with my partner and do nice things together.
I have now realised that what was going was a form of self-punishment by restricting myself. It’s like I was unconsciously saying: “I don’t deserve this because I got myself into debt. I don’t deserve this because my investment pot is still very small”.
Restricting myself in this way made me feel like I was broke.
Clearly I wasn’t putting enough aside, and I was in denial about how much money I actually needed.
How I Turned It Around
I had my annual money date in February, and I re-examined my money percentages again. This is when it made me see that I had been putting in far too little towards my own fun, so I decided to change it and reallocated the money.
This has now enabled me to book things like massages, afternoon teas and getting my hair done. All these things may seem frivolous, but they make me feel good. I like going out shopping for clothes and I like to have new shoes and you know, there’s no guilt involved because I’ve got that money set aside now.
Why Is This Important To Know?
Emotions and feelings cause us to take certain actions like spending money, because we’re trying to “heal” the feeling that we don’t want. It’s like putting a plaster on a gaping wound that actually needs surgery!
Guilt is an emotion that can lead to overspending on Christmas presents for example.
Stress could also be a trigger for spending money for you. Coming home from work, you might go past a shop that you love, or you might use some internet shopping sites like wish or amazon. You think that you “deserve” to buy things because you’ve worked hard and you’ve had a bad day. This is an action being taken in the wrong direction.
Our triggers lead to actions – but only you can decide what action you take, and we want positive actions that will help us to sort our money out!
So if you realise that the stress gives you the trigger to go and spend money, then we have to break this pattern in a way that’s sustainable and a way that makes you feel good about yourself.
Having some fun money set aside is one of the best ways to stop this cycle from happening. Providing of course that you are only using your fund money and you are not robbing your other pots to do so. There is an element of discipline involved as well.
How To Do It
Having a separate account set aside just for your fun money is a really good place to start. I have a separate account from Monzo, and every month, I transfer money from my main bank account to this one. If you want to set one up too (it’s so easy!), use my affiliate link, and you’ll receive £5 as a thank you from Monzo (and I do too!).
It’s really straightforward to use, and I love the way that it gives you instant updates when you spend money (so not like your normal bank account where it takes a couple of days for it to clear).
Why It’s Good For You
If you use your fun money well, and say, have a massage every month or a nice relaxing spa weekend with your friends or whatever makes you tick, that will be enough to make you feel whole again and make you feel cared for.
I think all too often women give so much to others and it’s draining!
We give, give, give, give, give all the time and we neglect sleep and we neglect eating properly and exercising or seeing our friends and all these things because we don’t feel like we have time to do it or we don’t feel like we’re allowed to do it on some level.
I think having the fun pot there gives you that permission to treat yourself each and every month. It’s essential!
When you know that your fund is taken care of, suddenly this frees up your brain space to then look at spending the rest of your money on the essentials, like investing, saving and bills. When you know that each month you have money set aside just for you, then you don’t need to feel guilty about spending it, because all the other areas are accounted for!
It Gives You Stamina
The other reason why it’s important is because it gives you the stamina to keep going. So if you’re paying off debt and if you are trying to invest or you’re saving for something huge, you need fun in your life to make you feel better about what you’re doing.
If you restrict too much, you will have a blowout at some point and you’ll go out and spend on your credit card because you haven’t done it for such a long time. So fun money is a way of keeping your good money habits sustainable.
It Stops Overspend
The other thing it does is it breaks the cycle of overspending. So rather than spending on EVERYTHING just because you want it, the fun pot actually makes you more discerning. You’ll want to look after it and spend it on stuff you actually want, not because it was an impulse buy at the end of a shift.
Do you want to spend £50 in a shop like wish, (where you know most of the stuff you get sent is a load of rubbish anyway!), or instead, are you going to keep that £50 and use it for a lovely relaxing massage or whatever floats your boat? Your 10% fun money is sacred, so don’t spend it on random rubbish!
However you do this, do it your way, but make sure you make this a PRIORITY. If you truly want to pay off debt or save for a house or build your investments sustainably, I strongly suggest you do this. In fact, it’s a doctor’s prescription!
I hope that was useful! I’d be really interested to know your, your thoughts on this. Add your comments below on come on over to the Facebook Group to tell us. If you’re interested in discussing this more, then why not book in a 1:1 appointment with me so we can work out the steps you need to take to reach your goals!
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