Your "wealth" may be less about what you earn, and more about how you spend!
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
If you don't include necessities, what were the last 5 things you spent money on.
For me it was:
A cheeky Cappuccino from Starbucks
Signing up to 2 charity events the Level Water 24 hour open water swim, and the Hope Centre Sleep Out
Waffles (well pancakes) on Galentine's Day...and a supply of "gifting waffles"
A train ticket to meet a friend in London
Two handmade necklaces for me, one as a gift when in London (see point 4)
Of the above, I'm still smiling about 3, 4, 5 (and looking forward to gifting one of the necklaces next week), I'm, well, "looking forward" is a little strong, but I'm in relatively cheerful anticipation about the two charity events because of the challenge and certainly the company, and I'll be honest - the Cappuccino, which is usually a predictable monthly treat was a "let's try the berry one"...didn't like it, won't buy it again, made a coffee at home, but know for next time!!
However, to me, that was money well spent...which is a big deal for me because I used to feel very differently!
Don't lose your generosity...just be mindful who you spend it on (and you can substitute "time" or "energy" or "love" for "MONEY" as you reflect on this!)
I'm known to be very generous - at one point - overly so...and at that time I would feel resentful that my money wasn't achieving the love I craved. But that's the thing...you can't buy love.
I won't bore you with the internal work...which I'm still doing...but rather than "cut off" from being generous, I cut down on what (and who) I spent on...in fact, one thing I do regularly, and actually also do this with "time"...is have a mental list of priorities...if I haven't given those at the top enough (of whatever currency I'm reflecting on) - then it's a definite "NO" to those lower down...and I'm on that list too!! (Yes, it was a big mindset shift for me too!)
If you don't spend wisely, no amount of money will be enough!
Now don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that not only do I make healthy money (now), and do so in a career I absolutely love and I have a side hustle for the less predictable moments, but even then - when I was in a role where money was even predictable (I'm now self employed) I felt I didn't have enough...but also back then, I don't think I could tell you what I spent it on.
Yes, I bought clothes, but many I ended up giving away. I bought meals and gifts for others - and about 3/4 of them I ended up feeling a bit used because they were (I was) not appreciated in the way I hoped, and I went on expensive holidays but probably couldn't tell you much about them. I'm talking over 15 years ago now for the holidays, but the other stuff - I still have to be conscious about! Back then, I felt a lack...and of not just money but appreciation too.
If you spend wisely, even if you have little, you are rich indeed
It was really only a couple of years ago that I finally made a "normal" (entry level equivalent) wage as a freelancer, but over the last 15 years I've been feeling wealthier and wealthier...in so many ways my actual financial situation destablised, but my mindset shifted.
I think about what - and who - I spend on...and try and choose things that I know will bring me way more in joy or personal growth than they cost...and I'm still surprised to find how much is free or low cost for the amount of happiness it brings. I love to walk or run with my husband or with friends, I can sit at home over a cup of tea and a book - even an old one - cuddling the dog, I can make a phone call, drop a text or an email - or even handwrite someone a card or letter.
I do have larger expenses - but my holidays (not so many recently admittedly) are thought through, with people I love spending time with, and consciously enjoyed...even down to delays; and some of my more extravagant purchases - are always well used - and things I am now even habitually grateful for.
I also gift without expectation of return...but also now without expectation of appreciation, gratitude or acknowledgement...it always comes though because of choosing who to gift to wisely - because I appreciate and acknowledge my own value. And related to this is another big shift was being able to say no to work I didn't want, as much as take on work offering a discount, or as a volunteer - simply because I loved the opportunity or the people.
As such I believe that while I probably earn a little less than I did before, you cannot put a price on fulfilment.
Ways to shift to an abundant mindset - regardless of the amount of money you have
- Practice Gratitude
While I advocate a simple reflection at the start or end of the day:
- Who are you grateful for
- What are you grateful for
over a formal journal (although I personally keep one), if you are really struggling, maybe think about something in the context of NOT having it. This can help remind us what it is worth.
- Share gratitude
TELL people how much they mean to you - words are free, yet you'd be surprised how many people would prefer to spend on a gift rather than a moment of real, deep recognition of someone. The bond of oxytocin you will create from that will last far longer than the dopamine hit of an impulse spend.
- Think of your time and energy as you do money - only spend it on what is VALUABLE to you
All of the above are finite. So be aware of what is of value to you, and always try to make your choices accordingly. And yes, you may slip up, but again, rather than waste time and energy beating yourself up, learn from it, recognise why it might have happened, and move on...YOU are worth much more than a little error.
- Reflect on what money means to you
Money is a tool...but we often imbue it with much greater meaning.
Sometimes, through no fault of our own, money may be a way we show love - perhaps parents who didn't spend time with us just bought us what we wanted and so we might think we need to buy gifts for others for them to be friends with us. OR if perhaps you are lucky enough, as I, to have had a "golden parachute" - is money just a way to control your choices - might YOU also use it to control the choices of others - and how much more freedom (not to mention empowerment) will you have when you unhitch it and spread your own wings!?
- Remember that you CHOOSE to share...others have their own "well of abundance" too
I'm not talking about charity work - of which I do a lot - I think a lot of good can be done in funding the work of the very many awesome causes out there - whether we benefit from them or not, and there IS a positive feeling one can get from knowing you've done something for others. However, I means in general. Especially if you are someone who is blessed with being comfortable, it's very easy to want to give to everyone around you...the thing is, in the long run you may be teaching them simply to become dependent on you, which may eventually feel draining, or even be teaching them to live beyond their means, because you'll cover it. And, also unless in very specific cases, THEY DO have their own resources too - YOU are not necessarily responsible for them...so share by all means, but know that you are offering a benefit - an extra - not a substitute! If you are worried about having more, then suggest things that don't cost so much to do together, because as I said - let's focus on the REAL value of the moment!
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For self development tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt
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