I write this blog post out of pure experience and realization about emotions in my own budget journey thus far.
I’ll explain beforehand that I’ve actually been budgeting off and on since May of 2017. I became more consistent in my budgets in January of 2018, when I started doing them on youtube. And the things I have learned by being consistent and staying on top of it were… shocking…
I’m an emotional spender.
The reason why this was so shocking for me is because I have always considered myself to be frugal. As a kid, I didn’t necessarily spend money like that. If anything, I was always finding it whether in the pockets of my jeans or the bottomless pits of my backpacks. I just didn’t have the urge to just… spend money.
But I’ll also note that as a kid, I was extremely sensitive. And I mean EVERYTHING made me cry. I would get teased about that, made fun of a bit, and constantly instructed to grow a “tougher” skin…
And I did. I was still sensitive, but I got better about hiding it. I got really good at not showing vulnerability and I don’t consider that a terrible thing to have. But what I didn’t realize is how that sensitive nature re-manifested itself.
HOW BUDGETING HELPED
In doing my budgets consistently, I started to see my habit with spending money frivolously through my eating out budget. It was easy for me to pass my eating out category because I live on my own and work 10 hours a day. At one point I was working around the clock, and now I’m also starting a business. So one could easily make a good argument to say that I “didn’t have the time”.
The problem started to get bigger when I realized I DID have time. I had time to sit down and do a meal plan. To go grocery shopping instead of waiting in a drive thru. To cook bulk dinners, but I just wasn’t. Around the time I started realizing that, I started having a lot more mishaps. Events like my bank account being hacked in May, and then the layoff with my job.
It was just a lot of things building up.
And as the stress continued to pile up, I continued to pacify myself… with eating out expenses. Rationalizing that it was okay. With all the stress I was going through, I deserved SOME sort of treat…right?
And that’s what made it click. If anything, I deserve to not be sabotaging my progress. I DESERVED to not be digging a deeper hole for myself than what was already there.
If ANYTHING, I DESERVED a lot more than what I was settling for…
Cheap food with irritating customer service.
To bring it up to speed a little bit, in July I REALLY cracked down on my eating out habits. I placed myself on a STRICT eating out budget. And I did well there for the most part. In July, I had managed to have the most “No Spend” days I had ever had since starting a budget.
I thought I was doing good. Life was still stressful, layoff was still looming over me, my parents moved in, cars broke down, just a series of constant events.
But then… my emotional spending habits started manifesting in a different way. And this time a worse way because it seemed like in the end I was doing a good thing.
With the kind of business I’m trying to pursue, which is 2D animation and digital art… it really doesn’t cost much to start. And a lot of the technology I needed (wanted), I already had. I had a graphics tablet, a camera, adobe creative suite, and eventually, I started looking into free programs as well.
But I bring this part up because… I was beginning to do a lot of spending for my business. I felt like eventually I would make it all back. That if I invested in quality, the quantity would flow right in.
And that is a WONDERFUL idea…
When you have the resources.
My reality was that I wasn’t pulling in enough income to justify the extra expenses I was making. Now, while everything I purchased was related to my business in some way… a LOT of it I didn’t need right then. I started realizing that I was buying up stuff trying to cover up my own insecurity. Feelings of doubt and that my skills weren’t good enough. I knew deep down that no amount of high priced technology would make my ending results GOOD. But my emotions helped me rationalize that it would help. I don’t know, it would just “give me an edge”… you know how your mind plays tricks on you.
And I found myself spending a LOT on my blog. On my youtube channel. And Erin Condren is just showering herself with all my dollar bills! At the time of writing this, I have an order from Erin Condren being shipped… for business purposes… but purposes that I didn’t need immediately. I signed up for a blogging course that cost a few hundred dollars and I still have yet to get past lesson 1. And I’ve had this course for a few months now. 😐
I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that emotions have a HUGE impact on my finances. I call to mind my desire to get a dog. But I’ve began to notice that whenever I get deep into a depression, THAT is when I start seeking out breeders and inquiring about puppy availabilities. Luckily, I’ve yet to actually go through with a purchase. But I have also lost a couple hundred in a deposit as well. 😐
I love how there are so many budgeters out there stressing the importance of starting a budget. Telling you the functional role it plays in your finances. Showing you how to get from point A to point B, and their tips are wonderful!
They give so many tips about getting out of debt, staying out of debt, and if you have a problem with overspending in certain categories to generally cut back and monitor those expenses. But what I’m here to tell you is that if you don’t understand the underlying cause of your overspending habits, you will always…
When I thought about it… I have a history of self-sabotage. And “Self Sabotage” doesn’t mean you don’t have any successes, not at all. But it constantly delays you in getting that success. For instance, I managed to buy a car in cash! I would label that a success. But with all the extra money I spent towards eating out, I would’ve been able to fix my car on the spot instead of rearranging my budget for extra money I didn’t have. I’ve spent nearly $1,000 on eating out this year, and probably just as much on business expenses. At least $2,000. Imagine what I could’ve done with that money had I just saved it to begin with? That’s the point I’m trying to get at. Self Sabotage delayed me from success… doesn’t mean I can’t get there though. 🙂
Money IS Emotional
The past few years, I have always been good about saving money. What I’ve realized though, is that one prominent wave of emotions can just erase that all away! I’ve always tried to say that it was just hard times, too much was happening, etc, etc and it was! That is NOT to be overlooked at all. Hacked bank accounts, layoffs, and transportation falling apart all at once is not necessarily something to just glaze over.
The problem was how I HANDLED that. Let me show you exactly how my emotions enabled my financial failure (so far anyway)…
- Eating Out. The pressure was piling on and it was easy for me to escape the stress by indulging every now and again… every. Single. Day.
- Calling Off From Work. The biggest self-sabotaging emotion you can have is sadness and depression. It got so bad til I just could not make myself move. And not making it into work means I’m not getting paid… which is setting back my income.
- Slowing Down My Business’ Productivity. August was a dramatic impact to my overall productivity for Chaotic Canvas and Kraizy Colorful Plans. I was supposed to had finished my blog and launched it on my Youtube channel as well as done quite a bit of preparing for all the videos I wanted to launch in September. September’s productivity DID increase, but nowhere NEAR what I had in mind. I just couldn’t pull myself to work.
What I Realized
Emotions are detrimental to my finances and they continue to enable this self-sabotaging spirit I have grown accustomed to. I found myself telling myself quite often that if this didn’t work out the way I planned, I shouldn’t be disappointed because I knew it was going to happen anyway. And thinking like that is how you immediately defeat yourself. You create an atmosphere of automatic failure because you don’t give yourself an opportunity to succeed.
Don’t doom the plant to failure before you’ve even watered the seed.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that this is going to be easy for me.
When I really thought about it… I’ve subconsciously had a self-defeating attitude for YEARS. Because it always seemed like it “worked for me” when in reality, it was just conditioning me to accept mediocrity. I was good at “just passing”. This is why NOW I feel like my art abilities are mediocre, my writing is mediocre, my communication is mediocre, my everything is mediocre. Because that’s what I’ve been accepting… for YEARS.
The GOOD news is… I’m stubborn! 😀
And I just can’t give up a good thing without giving my all on it first! I’ve shown myself that I really CAN have an upperhand on my finances. I’ll say that up until I turned about 22 or so, I was very frugal and good about saving. After that, I would save, but I would immediately deplete my savings after that. I just couldn’t seem to keep as much money as I used to. This year, I’ve been really consistent about my budget and making it work for ME and I can honestly see how much it’s helped. It’s shown me a LOT where my weaknesses are when it comes to my finances. Things I really have to be aware of because I really want to save up for a home!
I’m sure I can get there a LOT faster if I work on this self-sabotaging spirit I have. 🙂
So if this article sounds like you, don’t feel bad nor alone. The only terrible thing about realizing you have a self-sabotaging spirit… is NOT realizing it. And doing the same insane thing over and over again without learning from it. Life is just a collection of lessons and you’re going to learn something ugly about yourself one way or another… and this just happens to be one of mine. I hope you enjoyed, I hope you all have a good day and…
Everything will be okay. 🙂
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