In a recent blog post, I talked about “The Four-Letter Word” that can have a huge impact on the psychological value of money we are saving or spending. If you missed it, I encourage you to take a few moments to read it! Today, I am going to keep the theme of words and address two words that get us in to trouble, especially when we find ourselves seeking out a way to feel better about ourselves – to make up for feeling “less than”, when we feel lonely, angry, tired, overwhelmed, or put upon. These feelings are a result of our everyday experiences and we sometimes find it hard to cope.
So you find yourself seeking out solace in the Retail Therapy world. We go shopping to help remedy the feelings that we don’t like to face, to numb us, to help us feel rewarded for getting through another day, week, or year. Often, we don’t even know WHAT we are going to buy, but we know we will find something. After all, we live in America! We have so many options!!
Do you pay attention to the voice in your head while you are partaking in Retail Therapy? You know the one: it’s telling you why you need that purse, that pair of shoes, the latest electronics, the new something. It’s giving you the green light to spend your hard-earned money, even if you haven’t budgeted for this purchase. It’s the voice that’s justifying making another purchase on that credit card that you vowed to pay off, or to spend part of your emergency fund.
It starts with two words: “I deserve”. You find yourself agreeing with that voice, almost chanting these two words in unison with it! “I deserve to buy _______, I’ve been working so hard”. “I deserve ________, I just got a raise”, or “I just got a bonus, so I deserve ______.” Other reasons you convince yourself that you deserve are peripheral triggers: my boss is driving me crazy, my friends all have this, everybody else can afford this . . . all starting with the thought, “I deserve”.
What do you deserve? As a financial coach, I believe in rewards, but I also believe that these rewards should be in alignment with affordability. For each of us, that means something different. Take a few minutes and decide what is an appropriate amount you can spend to pick yourself up, while not getting off track with your vision for wealth. Make a list of personal perks that won’t leave you with the shame, guilt, and overwhelm that your inner voice will use to berate you after your Retail Therapy spree. You deserve to feel in control, calm and confident with your money!