Two things determined my relationship with money when I was growing up, and they both had a devastating effect: A “rich people are greedy” mindset and zero education on money management. Combined, their result was me living in my overdraft, feeling like a victim of my circumstances, and finally going flat broke in my 30s.
What followed was no less painful in many ways: I did realise I had to educate myself about money, but there were many systems and approaches which just didn’t work for me. It took years of trial and error to arrive where I am today, secure in my knowledge and my finances and having so much fun with my money.
I’d like to save you the rocky road to understanding and managing your finances. Too much of the information available in workshops, books, and on the internet focuses on “frugality”, on where you can penny-pinch and deny yourself. It’s about as appealing as a double root canal without anaesthetics!
Here are 3 rock-solid principles you can apply right now to always have enough.
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1. Abundance, not frugality
If you put the search term “money management” or “finances” into a platform such as Pinterest, it’ll spit out a million pins about saving and frugality. Like I said above, it’s enough to make anyone run in the opposite direction, fast.
And yet I, too, say that you need to save, ideally 20% of your money. However, I prefer to see this in the context of abundance. My suggestion is to split the amount of money you can save (even if it’s only 10%, or 5% of your net income) into half. One half is “paying yourself”, meaning it gets saved and invested but never touched. This money will pay you interest, and if you do this for a few decades, you can even live on this interest one day. The other half is “saving for spending” and is dedicated to save up for things like a holiday, a car etc – luxury things for yourself.
So, again: You do this for yourself, and it’s not at the cost of paying bills or having fun in the shorter term. This is where point 2 comes in:
2. Focus on pleasure and always have enough
It makes no sense to me to pursue passion and joy, and then take a dry and serious approach to finances. In fact, the true key to abundance in my opinion lies in extending the sense of overflowing love and abundance that you get from prioritising your passion(s), to your money.
Don’t make money management a chore. Experiment and find out what gives you joy. For me, it’s online banking – I pull out my phone every day to log into my bank and smile at the money in my accounts. I also glance at my Credit Card to keep track of my spendings.
The best way to connect money with pleasure is to allocate 5% of your net income for “Play”. This is money you blow every single month, on things you don’t need but want. Nothing feels more abundant than paying for a round of cocktails in the bar with friends, or buying that piece of jewellery that jumps out to you on a website. Play money is just as important as savings are.
3. Cut what doesn’t contribute
Instead of thinking penny pinching, how about evaluating your spendings from the point of view of what gives you joy? There’s the rent, the heating, the electricity. You enjoy your home, its warmth and having a computer and a fridge, right? So that’s fine. Now go through your more peripheral expenses, such as subscriptions. How much do you use each of those, and do you truly enjoy them?
This is how I got rid of my TV years ago. Sure, I enjoy watching a series every now and then, but I can just as well buy the DVDs. TV is one of those things that might give you comfort, but not necessarily joy. In fact, could it be that its comfort prevents you from experiencing the joy your passions would give you? Think about it. It might not be true for you, but it certainly was for me.
If you apply these principles, you’ll always have enough. You’ll find you suddenly have money for your passion, for your life, and for those little luxuries that make life even more beautiful.