EMOTIONS=Your Financial Choices

After filing my taxes this year, I reflected again on how totally different each year has been for our family financially. The thing that I keep seeing, is that regardless of our income, which has not varied much in the last 6 years, give or take $1-2,000, the things we were able to accomplish financially are drastically different. One year we took 3 family vacations paid with cash. One year we bought 2 vehicles. One year we were in debt up to our eyeballs from health problems and house repairs. One year… etc etc etc. As I was thinking about this, and being grateful for the lessons I have learned about money management, I realized that money issues, good or bad are all linked to our emotions. I am sure many of you already realize this, and I think back in the day I learned about this topic in college in a family finance class I took. But not until recently have I put it together as a principle to live by. Something to “watch for.”

So what exactly am I talking about? Think about it. Why do you go out to eat versus eating in your own home? Be honest with yourself here… 🙂
I am willing to bet that 90% of the time, you have food in your home you could eat, that wouldn’t cost more than $7-10 to prepare for your family and yet because of an emotional day, you feel that spending money on eating out will not only feed your family (duh), but it gives you a sense of security that you desperately want. Why? Because being able to spend that money on eating out leaves you feeling like you have money to spend whenever you need to, and gosh- everyone needs to eat- right??? It’s an easy out when finances are tight, to feel secure regardless.

Some websites to consider (there are a ton):

Think back on recent purchases. Did you try to price shop? Did you buy that item simply because it was there and you felt the need? Did you spend beyond your income knowingly and rationalize it? How did you feel later about it? Good marketers are all too aware of this principle and they will advertise to your “needs.” But what are the actual needs? Why do we buy things we don’t absolutely need? EMOTIONS. So in the end, we need to try to keep them in check. “Bridle your passions” as often as we can. Yes, there will be days. Those days when you feel like you will break without that one item. But I have learned that if you go without it, make yourself fix that dinner, push yourself to do without for another month until the money is there (since we are all planning our budgets- can’t stress this enough…) etc you will feel more in control, you will make wiser decisions, and many of your stresses will disappear as you feel financially in control.

Be aware of scams. Anything that promises money for minimal work, or from commissions from other peoples’ work is not going to satisfy in the long term like going out and earning an income from working with your hands and mind. Be aware of marketing schemes. Its’ their job- true- and if they didn’t do it, they’d be out of a job, and they do a good job of it. Just keep your head on straight and your EMOTIONS in check.

For example: Do I need a new hair dryer? No. Mine works fine. However, here’s the sales pitch:

“New Hairdryer! Uses less energy which saves you $! Your hair will be healthier with the new technology we can offer you! No more wasting your precious time in the bathroom- our new technology offers dry hair in half the time! Buy now and start living a better quality life!”

Do I feel I could use more time in the day? Do I feel that my $ is tight? Sure. Don’t we all? However- the point- is that I have a perfectly working hair dryer at home. I need to remember that!!! Always take the time to ask yourself “is this a need- a true need? or a want?” I believe:

If you always buy what you want- 
you will always want.
If you only buy what you need- 
you will always have what you need.