I’ve been a saver for as long as I can remember. I have a vivid memory of when I was about 6, going to the post office with my mum, sister and brother to open a Post Offices savings account. I still have the book 😊 We used to go back weekly to deposit the few coins we’d collected. I absolutely loved watching the total rising.
This was an important moment in my life. It embedded the habit of regular saving. Winding the clock forwards many decades and that habit is still with me. I consistently save money from my salary so that when a planned or unexpected opportunity arises to join a training programme, go to a yoga retreat or workshop, I have the cash. It has served me well, but more on that later.
Are you a saver or a spender?
If you are a spender, you’re not alone and neither are you entirely to blame. Spending money is what our culture does. You are constantly ‘marketed to’ on TV, radio, social media, through the internet and your email. In fact, there are not many places to hide from it. It’s no wonder then that a lot of us are spending our money on the things that don’t align with our values and our goals.
The way we live our lives encourages us to spend more than we want to on things we don’t really care about:
Most of us are short of time. We leave our houses for long periods to go to work, which leaves us with little time for food prep. We tend to have lunch, and sometimes also dinner out, buying coffees and snacks on the go.
We come home exhausted, order carry out food or pick up a ready meal from M&S and spend our time watching Netflix. Netflix subscriptions have become a household essential.
All of this leaves us with an underlying and often unacknowledged feeling of unhappiness. To alleviate this, we turn to the high street and internet shopping to buy things we hardly use or wear.
We justify our spending, unconsciously saying - ‘I deserve it for all my hardship and struggle’
Our exhaustion flows over to our holiday time. By the time we take a break from work, we’re so tired that all we can manage is to flop on a sun-lounger somewhere in the sun.
These habits result in pain in our bodies and a feeling of overwhelmed and stress.
With all that going on, you’d be forgive for finding yourself in debt, unhappy and unsatisfied with your life’s path.
So, What’s Going on?
There are a few things at play here:
We live in an age of instant gratification. Unlike past generations, for us it is considered totally normal to go out for dinner or buy ourselves a prezzy even if it isn’t your birthday or Christmas.
It’s a scientific fact that making small purchases and “gifting yourself” with stuff gives you a hit of dopamine - the feel-good chemical. The neurotransmitter surges when you're considering buying something new, anticipating the reward. Actually buying, by the way, give us an even bigger dopamine kick.
Many of us adopt the spending habits of our parents and peers. Keeping up with the Jones’ anyone?
Emotional spending is a LEARNED Habit. That which we repeat we get really good at. Your brain creates pathways that engage a default response to emotional influences. So, the more you respond to stress or unhappiness with shopping… the more you'll respond to stress or unhappiness with shopping! Simple as that.
So how do you change this?
FIRST THING’S FIRST GET CLEAR ON YOUR VALUES.
Have you ever gone through a values exercise? THIS IS POWERFUL STUFF. Take some time to get clear on what you value most in this one beautiful life.
adventure grace joy freedom abundance
knowledge excellence community
perseverance love inspiration support family
altruism justice relationships resilience
quality entrepreneurship truth power
vitality gratitude prosperity affluence
Even although I regularly have money in the bank for a rainy day, getting clear on my values showed me what is actually important to me, in the big picture. Working out my values, I began to get clear on my long-term goals and started to plan the things I’d always dreamed of doing and having the sorts of experiences I longed to be having.
HERE’S A FEW OF THE THINGS I VALUE:
· Physical Health
· Mental Well-Being
· Life learning
· Close Connections
· Life Experiences
Getting clear about my values made me realise that I was still spending little chunks of money here and there on things that ACTIVELY WENT AGAINST my values and my long-term goals. That didn’t feel good at all!
FIND YOUR VALUES, so that moving forward you can:
Align your purchases with those values
I needed a tweak to my spending habits, so I paid attention to my mind. When it came to little purchases, I had a real tendency to say in my head - “just treat yourself!” and I noticed how those little £5-£30 purchases added up to A LOT. When the bigger more important purchases came up, so did the thoughts “I can't afford that’. I realised I was doing myself a massive disservice and shutting the door to the real opportunities that come with investing in things I value.
This is the difference between victim mindset, and responsibility mindset.
In victim mindset, we cannot afford the nice things, yet “need” to spend money on the little bits and pieces to just get us through the day.
Shifting to responsibility mindset, allows our investments to align with a more awesome version of ourselves – to do and experience the things we really want.
When you’re clear about your values, it’s much easier to align your spending to ensure you don’t have to say “no” to the things you really want to do or experience.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPENDING AND INVESTING
There’s a difference between these two. Spending doesn’t align with your values. Investing supports your goals and your growth. And the best investment you can make?
Is in Yourself.
"The best investment you can make is in YOURSELF" - Warren Buffett. If the most successful investor in the world said so.... it's probably true!
THINGS I NEVER KNEW I SHOULD INVEST IN:
I have made a number of great investment decisions over the years. I’ve invested in:
Property – I am a homeowner and a landlord. This gives me a comfy home and an income.
Massage therapy training – as well as learning the skills, I learned all about how the body functions and how to take care of it.
Yoga teacher training – this helped me grow in ways I hadn’t anticipated and taught me how to hold space for others.
Yoga health coaching training – this fundamentally helped me believe in myself and nurtured my passion of being able to help people live Vibrantly.
Each of these has been a step on my life path. Each have helped me plan for my retirement and/or given me a form of income, as well as expand my capabilities for doing good things in the world. For each of these I invested a big chunk of money! Investments worth making, I’d say.
However, it took me a while to realise that there are other types of things in which to invest time and money. I now also regularly invest in:
· Body integrity / connection with my body.
· Habit evolution
· UNDERSTANDING OF SELF
There’s nothing tangible there. It’s not a comfy couch or new leather handbag or even a holiday experience to talk about back in the office. There’s nothing to show off… or so it seems.
But the returns on investing in myself in this way have been greater than any other gift, thing, or accomplishment.
Optimal energy levels, clarity in mind = ability to perform & succeed = no supplements or special foods required.
A feeling of groundedness. Responding instead of reacting. Not taking things personally = more wealth of relationships.
Healthy routines automated in my day = more time in the day. The ability to create new habits like meal planning & prep = saving on groceries.
Acceptance of what is. Appreciation for the things I have = LESS Emotional spending = SAVING MONEY instead.
Of course, there’s something to show for it! I am a different person to share a house or an office with. I’m so much more present. More able to take care of myself and I can therefore offer so much more value to everyone in my life.
MY SPENDING HABITS NOW ARE AS FOLLOWS:
I buy things that align with my values, i set a budget each year for personal growth. I love to travel. And yes, creature comforts are still there. But, going back to the values part, I take time to ensure I’m buying from a place that isn’t feeding an emotional shortcoming. Instead investing in stuff that brings me joy and helps me to reach my goals. Recent investments include:
o A mentoring programme
o A training in Berlin
o Yoga workshop with my teacher
o A yoga retreat in Italy
o A food dehydrator
Am I in a victim mindset, or a responsibility mindset?
It may be time to shift your mindset in terms of money and what it’s worth. In the Vibrant Living program, we do a tonne of work in shifting mindsets. Let this be your first practice in engaging a solutions-oriented mindset.
One of the best ways to do this is to talk to people who are already there. Who is in your life that’s invested in themselves? Coaching, education, mentoring, learning… what is the feedback these people have for you? You can check out some of the feedback from my clients https://www.clarecare.co.uk/testimonals
AND ONE LAST THING
WHEN YOU INVEST IN YOURSELF, MAKE SURE THERE'S A COMMUNITY ATTACHED TO IT.
There are a lot of courses out there that give you a lot of information. But information is available mostly for free but definitely doesn't necessarily equal transformation.
Did you know that goals have an 80% higher chance of being reached when you work together with others? My advice - get yourself into a community of like-minded individuals. Support others and be supported. The change happens so much faster and it’s a lot more fun.
Don’t miss out on those big, beautiful goals!