The following is an article I wrote for the “Your Money Matters” section of the January 2017 issue of the Scroll. It is titled “What is Your High.”
Your Money Matters – What is Your High?
Our relationship with money can sometimes be unhealthy. Because of this, we don’t always use the resource as we should. For example, if you have experienced a scarcity or lack of money as a child or an adult, your viewpoint on money can sometimes come from the viewpoint of lack. This view impacts the way we deal with money and can cause people to hoard money or to impulsively spend when they do have money at their fingertips.
From an emotional level, money is something that can be used to get a quick high. This includes shopping sprees that we can’t afford. This includes the high we can get from buying a new car or flat-screen television that we can’t afford. This high is immediately followed by feelings of depression and guilt, which can lead to a vicious circle of highs and lows.
So why do we overspend financially?
We could be seeking instant gratification without any regard to the consequences. I never understood the shopper’s high until a few years ago. I went clothes shopping, and when I was finished, I felt extremely high. It was a good feeling. And it remains a good feeling if it is within budget. Otherwise the high from the immediate satisfaction comes crashing down when reality hits.
Dealing with Stress
Spending money could be a way to temporarily deal with stress, but after the high is over, it leads to another type of stress.
A big question is what role does money play in your life? It is important to control your emotions toward money and try to learn the triggers that cause you to overspend. Also, try to figure out what you are getting out of the ups and downs of emotion when it comes to money.
Maybe something to do is to not make purchases when you are emotionally distraught. Especially purchases that will end up costing you a lot money. For example, getting a new car should never be an emotional, impulse purchase.
As we move forward into the New Year, we need to challenge our viewpoints on money. It serves a purpose and that purpose is to take care of our needs. Let us change our perspective on money and view it from a healthier standpoint. Because let’s face it, money is important. Money is what pays your rent/mortgage, groceries, light bill, gas, etc.
Spending should be based on needs coupled with a few wants. Ask yourself why you are spending, especially if you don’t have the money to pay for the item.
I am all for treating ourselves. We work hard for our money, and we do want to experience the reward from working hard. The thing is that we must be careful that we do not spend it to get a quick high. And the bottom line is that if you can’t afford something, you should not spend the money. The emotional high you receive from spending will come crashing down. This is especially true if you are already in financial trouble.
Since we are beginning a New Year, it is the perfect time to take control of your money. If you are interested in talking to a financial planner, please see me. I began a relationship with one last year, and it has been a relationship that has me seeing money from a holistic view. Let’s make 2017 a year about making our relationship with money healthier.