Remembering What You Want

I didn’t mean to drop $100 on paints, brushes, pens and markers. It’s certainly not high on the long list on financial priorities that hit you in the face when you become a pseudo-homesteader. Septic tanks, chicken coops, soil, house siding… these things aren’t cheap. Not to mention a car that has 225 000+km and a sagging rear suspension, cats to be sterilized ($100 a PIECE!) and school uniforms to purchase…

journalling gouacheBut as my morning meditation reminds me: I move lighthearted and free through my days. Worrying about the details will not change the outcome.

Money is not something that is often addressed openly in our worlds, there are no cool Guardian articles about women and their money. Or how it’s cool to have planned spending accounts, it’s sexy to save for retirement, or savvy to invest in the stock market.

I’ve never been “good with money” or so I tell myself, incessantly.

From a really early age, I conceptualized money as a foreign entity that came mysteriously and left very quickly. I’ve acted very irresponsibly with money, spent thousands of dollars on rounds of drinks and American Apparel tank tops, expensive Italian sweaters for babies and splurges at Urban Outfitters on nothing more than bowties and pantaloons. I have, in all frankness, purposefully ignored money, for fear of having to confront it.

But no longer. These past 6 months, I’ve been exploring my first world personal struggles and hatching plans to make peace with them. My struggle with money is the last dark place I need to open up, air out and shine light on.  This idea of finding true happiness only after I’ve reached a specific goal or after I’ve acquired the right things, or stumbled into money… well it has kept me from addressing what’s really important.

As the design business grows, the dollars and cents attached to our work grows, and I have to take responsibility and pride in those numbers. I can’t be ashamed of my past, I CAN change my mindset about money and make it work for me. I can reclaim my earning power, I can quiet the voice that says that I can’t charge for that, or they can’t really afford that and so I’ll bring my fee down.

So here’s what I need to Remember:

1-away from a scarcity mentality

I already have so much, I can pay for so many great things, can feed my family really healthy foods, put a roof over their heads, enroll them in activities.  Really there’s nothing that we are lacking in our everyday lives. Focusing on the things I can’t afford, really doesn’t serve me or better my cause.

And since 80% of the world survives on less than $10/day… I’m good. Plus,  we can all benefit from not always getting what we want, when we want it. There’s always more for what we really need.

2-financially proactive+ Mindful

Moving towards being proactive instead of being reactive (which is really similar to what my food issues stemmed from). So I’ve hatched a plan for myself that I’m starting to put into place: 10% of my earnings stay in my savings and the rest goes towards paying off some lingering debt. I recently spent time with a very financially savvy lady who helped me see that I can totally overturn my old habits and feel joy when I pay a bill, instead of inner stomach turmoil.  With each financial transaction I make, I’m actually taking care of myself and my family. And that should be celebrated.

And yes, sometimes (once a year) I will spend $100 on paints and art supplies because that’s an investment in my creativity, and I can mindfully make that decision, instead of shamefully hiding the evidence.

3-habitualizing finances

I am working towards making peace with my past financial shames: not being “good” with money is not something that I have to carry forever, nor does it mean anything about who I am at my core. I can create new financial habits by automating transfers to dedicated spending & savings accounts.  I can commit to monthly financial reviews with B and I can pay closer attention to the upcoming revenues and expenses. You all know that I like plans and systems, they help me stay excited about things and they have the added benefit of having a safe guard in case things go wrong.

So when I’m in Homesense, and I’m hoarding the polka dotted bowl and cups, all I need to remember is what I *really* want:

To have healthy financial habits

To remind myself of the abundance I have

To be in control

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