We’re all coming around to the idea that the way we see money – and everything it represents – drastically impacts how we actually act with money. Likewise, how we were exposed to money as a child often affects how we deal with money as an adult.
But why? Why do these external factors make any difference to our money trajectory? When it comes to sorting our money out, we tend to prefer more actionable tips and quick-wins that we can logically equate to extra cash in our bank accounts. Mindset stuff sounds like a whole lot of hard work with no immediate reward, right?
But, unpacking the reasons you are the way you are with money can make you feel more in control, and therefore more financially confident.
What are money blocks?
Money blocks are things that hold us back from financial confidence. They’re not tangible things like a low salary or a high level of debt. They’re things that are deep-rooted in our mindset, that maybe make us spend a certain way, or stop us sticking to goals and plans because of a habit we formed years or even decades ago.
How do you establish money blocks?
Working out the things that hold you back with money involves a lot of slow burn thinking. It might not be a case of sitting down and writing them all out, but more a case of shifting into a state of awareness in your daily life. Then, when you find yourself thinking a certain way about money, you become aware of how it’s affecting you.
Examples of money blocks that could be holding you back
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my money blocks, and a good place to start is to think about bad things that have happened to you with money. From there, you can see whether any of those feelings are translating to your spending in your adult life. Things like when you got $200 for your birthday but then had to spend it on car repairs, or when you really wanted a new Lego set but your Mum said you hadn’t been well behaved enough. While that seems like a really trivial part of your childhood or adolescence, there could be a chance that you spend big to reward yourself, because you felt deprived of that reward as a child. In the case of the car repairs, you might be stuck in the mindset that you never get to enjoy your money because life is too expensive. A block like that could manifest in a number of ways, from being unable to hold onto money and spending recklessly for fear of losing it, to being so fearful of not having money for things like car repairs, that you hold onto money too tightly and never get to enjoy it.
I’ll share with you some of my big money blocks for inspo.
One of my biggest blocks is from a time when a client I was working with didn’t pay my invoice, and then went into administration. Needless to say I never got paid for the work. I felt so cheated out of that money, and like my hard work was worthless. When I think of that time, I felt hopeless, and like working hard wasn’t even worth it because bad things like that will happen. That negative money experience has frightened me, and now, whenever invoices are paid late, I slip into this scarcity mindset. I start panicking that I won’t get the money, and find myself thinking that my work is worthless and shouldn’t be earning me money.
Another of mine is that money is temporary, and therefore you may as well spend it. When my parents separated, my Mum became a single parent – and obviously our household income dropped. My Mum’s approach to getting through it was to spend money to feel better. We weren’t by any means reckless. I’m not talking lavish trips to Vegas or fancy cars. Just comfort spends to make us feel better about a shitty situation. I definitely carried this mindset through into my early twenties, when I’d shop to fill voids and feel better about myself. This manifested in body image and confidence issues, I think, and led me to spend on things that I thought would make a situation better.
How to establish your money blocks
Think back to any money experiences you can remember, and sit with those thoughts. What was money like for you as a child? Did your parents live abundantly, or scarcely? When have you used money as emotional management? Have you been given money by someone when really you craved their love and approval?
Then, think about your spending patterns as an adult. What do you know you do with money, that you wish you could change, or that you know you need to keep in check?
It can get pretty deep, but when you have a few things in mind, see if you can connect any of the money experiences to the spending patterns. Often you’ll notice similarities in the way those mindsets are translating to your spending, and unlock a state of awareness that’ll help you take control of your spending.
When you stop living by these money blocks, you can create new realities for your finances, and establish new spending habits that reflect who you truly are.
Ultimately, we all have our pasts with money, and we all have our spending habits that are a combination of a number of factors. You don’t have to meticulously control every single aspect of your spending. But bringing your awareness to why you might be self sabotaging when it comes to money can be transformative for your financial confidence.
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