Last Saturday, I had the great honor of joining my friends, Christine Havey Smith and Stephanie Dreyer at the Empowering Mothers Benefits Brunch. It was a wonderful event where we celebrated motherhood with a healthy dose of knowledge, laughter and inspiration. I had the privilege of helping these Moms find their money happiness.
As you already know, I am passionate about financial literacy, especially helping our children become financially confident. Another passion of mine is public speaking. I love engaging with a live audience while we chat about one of my favorite topics. While doing these presentations the past few years, I spotted a troubling trend: Women, in particular, struggle to spend joyfully. I wanted to help these women (and you too) discover the pleasure of mindful spending.
Money is emotional and many of the emotions we evoke when we spend are not very joyful. Instead we often feel guilt or shame for being able to buy things others cannot. We spend in anger or frustration over a break-up or some other slight, real or imagined. Or we try to cure our boredom or loneliness with the swipe of our credit card. I felt the same way until my father helped me find my money happiness through giving my money purpose. This doesn’t mean I stopped feeling those emotions or the urge to spend money to placate them, but now I see those emotions for what they truly are and deal with the issue at hand.
When I meet people who struggle to spend joyfully, more often than not, they do not have goals that truly matter to them. The goals they set are vague or made to satisfy others. So when they spend money, it’s often with unease because they are uncertain whether they should have bought the items they did, even if they could afford them. Deep down, they worry their money would have been better served elsewhere.
The very best way to feel good every time you spend money is to give your money purpose, then prioritize your goals because not all goals are created equal. Now that your money has purpose, you can make decisions that honor your goals.
And don’t forget, it’s okay to set goals and save money for things like a new designer purse, laptop, big-screen TV, video game console, barbecue grill, a vacation or whatever makes your heart happy. Wanting those things doesn’t make you bad or superficial, you just need to know where they fit within all of your goals. In other words, retirement and college education goals probably rank higher than your goal for a 50-inch TV. Once you’ve set aside the money for whatever goals are most important to you, you then happily save for that big-screen TV and buy it with joy once you can afford it.
As helping parents raise financially confident kids is my mission, it would be remiss of me not to talk about how we spend money on our kids. Today, many parents seem to correlate their success as parents by whether or not they can always tell their children “yes”. I get it. It is one of my greatest joys to see Lauren and Taylor’s eyes light up when they get something they want too. And it is joyful spending if I am buying that gift on my terms, not because they expect me to buy whatever they want.
Don’t mistake joyful spending with being able to always tell your kids “yes”. You may end up inadvertently creating entitled kids instead. I spend joyfully because my money has purpose so whether I buy a want or need—I am making a mindful choice. This is what joyful spending looks like and how I’m teaching my girls to use their money.
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