In response to a recent inspiring post by the lovely Dav Piper (another Psychologies Ambassador) about money saving tips, I sat down to write this blog.
When I left my employed work, to follow my dream as a Transformational life coach, I very quickly noticed in myself, clients, and fellow coaches, the importance of getting clear about money. It took me by surprise how often humans get in a tangle about money!
What I mean by this, is that in order to charge for your services, you need to get clear about what your services are worth, and you need to be able to communicate that to others. In order to save money, or spend money wisely, you need to take ownership of your own values and the meaning of money for you, and you need to make the decision to save.
For example I have had several clients who have cited finances as a significant obstacle to making a life change. When we examined that obstacle closely, it quickly became clear that their financial situation was actually unknown. There was an assumption that money was tight, but it was not known to be true. When we dug deeper we also found wriggling discomfort at the idea of mapping out what was being spent. I’ve experienced that discomfort too. We’d rather make assumptions, than own up to ourselves where we are frittering away our cash. It’s quite astonishing, especially when our assumptions are stopping us from pursuing our dreams!
After noticing this subject come up repeatedly I started to pay attention to the simple tools that can help us to take charge of our finances.
Find your reason. Why do you want more money, what would it give you, which of your values would be more fully aligned if you had more savings or less debt? Freedom? Adventure? Flexibility? Control? Creativity?
What beliefs are holding you back? Notice your own language: words like “always” and “never” are clear indicators that you have slipped into a belief or assumption. Think about your childhood messages – did you grow up hearing that money was trashy, sinful, or selfish? I certainly had swallowed some myths about needing to focus on worthiness rather than earning money, which might explain why I ended up working in the NHS. When we consider spending money on our own self-development, we need to consider whether it’s a worthwhile investment. But how often do we stop ourselves with the myth that we “aren’t worth it”? These stories obscure the possibility of knowing we are totally worth it!
If you’re self-employed, are you funny about charging? Do you hear yourself stating your price, and then backtracking and offering your services at a reduced rate? What message does that give to your clients? Will they value their cut-price purchase? I’m not talking about over-charging, I’m just talking about considering what you offer and what difference that makes to others’ lives. Is it time to reconsider your prices?
Set yourself a challenge to monitor your spending for a week. If you can’t manage that just try it for one day, but make it representative. Do you buy coffees, or sandwiches? Do you impulse buy when you are feeling sad, lonely or hormonal? Don’t try to change anything, just get curious about where your money goes and when. (My big one was late evening impulse buys of books from Amazon – I love my books!!)
Once you’ve done the spending check, ask yourself this question: “If I saved £5 per day (or £1 if you prefer) and put it into a special fund, what difference would that make to my life? Would that mean a holiday? A laptop? The course you’ve been dreaming of doing? Could you afford to reduce your working hours? Could you afford to donate some of your time? Money doesn’t have to mean more “stuff”. It can create more meaning, more freedom, less dependence on others.
Automate your savings. If you set a clear target, even £1 a day, don’t rely on remembering. Set up a standing order so that the money goes into your savings pot without a thought. When you go back to look months later, it’s like a beautiful gift, just waiting for you!
What I love about these simple checks, is that they don’t assume to know your attitude to money. We all view money in our own way, but we can all benefit from reviewing our hidden beliefs and challenging ourselves to review our money behaviour. I’m going to set myself some time to try out Dav’s suggestions for making savings, because actually it’s just laziness that means I’m on the same tariffs as I was 2 years ago. And I could spend that extra money on holidays with the children because that taps straight into my core values of freedom and adventure!