In my last post I talked about the positive impact taking control of your money (by telling it exactly what to do each month) will have on your financial wellbeing. Now it’s time to talk about the fun (but for many the more difficult) part – enjoying your money.
Enjoy your money
If, like me and so many other mothers, spending money on yourself is something that rarely happens, perhaps because it makes you feel guilty, this step is important for you.
It is important because money should be enjoyed. It’s one of the tools available to us for building a fulfilling life and enjoying it will improve your financial wellbeing.
I believe this passionately – we work hard for our money and yet so many of us don’t allow ourselves to enjoy it.
Now, before I lose you, understand that by ‘enjoy’ I do not mean you should spend your money only on the fun stuff. We have to be realistic – there are always going to be boring things that have to be paid for – bills, insurance, new tyres for the care etc.
We can’t get away from that no matter how we might wish to.
Yet having to pay for these things does not mean we should only spend money on the serious things. There is enough money for you to enjoy it and by allowing yourself to you will achieve two things, which I believe are essential to our financial wellbeing:
- The resentment you may have felt that there was no money to treat yourself in the past, will melt away
- The risk of damaging impulse-spending, and that horrible sick feeling you get afterwards, is vastly reduced
So how can money be enjoyed?
It can be simple things like a coffee out once a week or a magazine or beauty subscription. Bigger things like a meal at a nice restaurant or a shopping trip. And then there are much larger expenses – experiences like a holiday or new car.
Enjoying money need not always involve spending it straight away, however.
Just as, in my last post, I described the feeling of joy I had when I was able to pay for my son’s birthday party in cash, saving for a particular purpose can be enjoyable too. Watching money you have carefully put away each month be put to good use, or money you have invested grow because of the choices you have made, is incredibly satisfying.
Can you reframe your relationship with money so that saving it is as satisfying as spending it? Thinking about your long-term financial goals may help you do this.
I’m not going to pretend that I’ve got it all figured out – I still have consumer debt and a student loan, my emergency fund could definitely be bigger and there are still months when budgeting doesn’t quite go to plan.
But what I understand now, that I didn’t until I turned 30, is that I can control my money and I can also enjoy it. This realisation has transformed my relationship with money and contributed immeasurably to my financial wellbeing.
In turn, my mental health is better because I have all but eradicated my feelings of anxiety when it comes to money.
Not only that, my resentment has evaporated because I have found room in my budget for treats for myself. I no longer feel like I’m working all week to earn money that I can’t spend on myself. (Although I admit that I do still feel anxious, even when spending money I have budgeted for myself – this one will take time, I think).
Overall, I feel in control.
And that is priceless.