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How to Succeed at Managing Your Money (Even When It’s Too Painful or Scary to Think About)

by Edris Tucker September 22, 2014

The dog is barking. He’s highly agitated. He can sense what’s on the other side of the door. Then it comes…through the mail slot: a fistful of envelopes, or rather a mouthful for old Rover. You’re happy to let him chew them through… better that the dog ate your statements than you should have to open them. However you reluctantly grab them from his mouth, wipe off the drool, and throw them in the corner on the desk. They will sit there long after they are dry…

Have you ever felt this way?

Too many of us abdicate our power when it comes to money.

Young or old, rich or poor.  If we are not in control of our money, even if we are highly successful in other areas of life, then someone else is controlling our liInjured Piggy Bank ves and our circumstances. Often, we feel that we are mere puppets with strings, pulled by a larger economy.  However, many experts will say that the strings of our own personal economy are largely within our control if we wield the responsibility that comes with the power of choice.

Just the thought of all that wielding makes some of us tired and our exhaustion often makes a bad situation worse.

People do it every day.  They sign contracts without understanding or even reading the terms and conditions, they lend money to people they know will not pay them back, they pay bills without reviewing the statements, they screw up their credit by paying late consistently, they spend money they don’t have to impress people they don’t care about, they spend tomorrow’s money today with little saved for the future, etc.

If all it took was managing the mechanics of a budget, everyone would do it with ease. After all, there are tools and tips all over the internet for budgeting your money. The problem is that our monetary and spending habits cannot be changed by altering our actions — they must be changed by altering our thinking!  Our thinking is ultimately what holds dominion over our financial outcomes…in fact it’s what ultimately holds dominion over ALL of our outcomes. There is no way around it.

For example, if you believe that it will take forever to pay off your debt, you may wind up spending money here and there and drain your bank account even further. If you believe that you can’t buy a house because you’ll never have enough money, you will look for other ways to reward yourself financially, when buying a house may in fact be possible. If you think you have to continue supporting your kids financially, you may not be acknowledging how much stress you are placing on your budget. And if you keep counting on things to get better, and then a recession hits or you lose your job, you may not have made any adjustments to your spending or you may not have emergency funds in place. 

Our thinking is directly connected to our spending. So how do we pay attention to our thoughts? We can try to chase down what we are thinking but that is almost like asking a fish to pay attention to water… unless we start practicing. How do we practice? The easy way.  Write. When we keep a journal, we don’t have to judge our thoughts. We just write down what is running through our heads. Having a coach to read along and ask pertinent questions can help us shine a light on what we’re thinking so we can decide whether those thoughts are serving us or not and if not, how to change them.

If you’re struggling with managing your money…the best place to start managing first is your mind.

 

Is the way that you’re thinking slowing you down?

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