This time of year we are often pulled by our emotions and veer off our intended course. Having a solid spending plan makes all the difference - and prevents a spending hang-over, or a credit card bill from surprising you in January.
What is a spending plan? Well - it is a map and a guide. You make one before you set out so you don't get lost.
Your PLAN could have the following categories:
Decorations - Tree, Candles, Wreaths, Lights, etc.
Holiday Meals & Entertainment - Pay particular attention if you are hosting, or attending lots of parties where you will bring wine or gifts for the host
Gifts - Write down the names of the people you give gifts to
Santa (if it applies)
Pet Gifts (I know... but for some people this adds up :-)
End of Year Tips (housecleaner, hairdresser, doorman, etc.)
Next to these categories you will put an amount you plan to spend. The hardest part, and the part we often resist,...
I chose to have my children at the 'young' age of 24. It was motherhood that called to me before a career. I was fortunate to be able to follow my desire to stay at home with my growing babies - and we made many financial sacrifices to make this a priority. Yet I wasn't done growing and expanding myself. I felt myself become restless within my mothering role, yet also experienced a very real inner conflict and tension about what that would mean for my family. I was just as committed to my role of being a mother.
Along the path to this work I am currently engaged in, I struggled with the tension, the questioning, the doubt, the fear, and especially the financial pressure as I tried to 'figure it out!' It felt lonely and overwhelming. It was a common issue among my peers, but there was little guidance or the kind of support I was craving.
Perhaps you - or someone close to you - have a different experience balancing motherhood and your...
It is the final stretch before our tax deadline... this may cause all kinds of reactions. In my world, it is an opportunity to respond to whatever the result may be from a grounded stance.
What does a 'grounded' response to taxes look like? Glad you asked! Check out my suggestions below. I actually think this can be helpful in many situations, not just with taxes. As the unexpected bill, or windfall, can often trigger impulsive actions that look like a crazy ball bounced in a small room.
To your thoughtful relationship with money - taxes included!
Staying Grounded - Responding Mindfully to a Tax Bill or Tax Refund
(written with the extremes in mind, but helpful for a 'tax event' of any size)
The very first step is to plant your feet and find centering with your breath.
After a few inhales, and exhales, notice your level of activation - this can be excitement or anxiety - but give it a number on a scale of zero to five.
Have you ever found yourself in a room filled with people who seem to have more money than you? You learn that the person you are talking to just moved into a new house (or insert any desired thing), while you feel stuck paying off your credit cards - though the balances are where they were last year. You feel a tidal wave of shame take over, followed by some pretty harsh self talk.
What about the friend - or public figure - who talks about how making money is so fun and easy! You find yourself collapsing inside, wondering why it is so incredibly hard for you to just make ends meet! You have been stuck in the same place for years, and your envy of them is growing into an unflattering form of resentment.
Or the conversations where you feel superior - even if you may not want to admit it - because you are a better person than 'those people' who are making, or spending, a 'ridiculous' amount of money. You, at least, are on moral high ground (even if not...
It is International Women's Day...
We have been taught, as women, that if we give, we will receive in return. If we provide for our family, our family will take care of us – love us, and support us. If I do this for you, you will do that for me.
In this contract there is an inherent assumption of reciprocity. But too often in our culture, this natural balance is interrupted – disrespected – forgotten.
Women have traditionally been in roles of giving – mothering, caring for the elderly, the sick, and even the poor. Cooking, cleaning, nurturing, birthing, rearing, volunteering and teaching have made up the work of our days. All are unpaid - or low paid - but expected and culturally relied upon nonetheless.
In the very first schools our country formed, it was decided that women would both be more suited for the role AND that they could be paid far less than a male – it was economically...
It is mid-December. We are entering the very height and frenzy of the season - shopping, errands, parties, performances, and celebrations (oh my!).
"More" and "extra" - more food (and eating...), more shopping (and buying), more running around (less downtime), more, more, and more becomes the constant mood and reality we find ourselves in.
"Finding your center" is something I discuss often with my clients. Because without tethering to our own anchor, we are easily - and readily - swept into the swirl.
In this swirl we are particularly susceptible to doubt - "Are there enough presents to give the kids?" "Do we have enough money?" "Do we have enough time to fit in .... (fill in the blank)?"
It is particularly daunting for parents. The line between what it means to love and be generous gets blurry. There is an overwhelming emotional desire to create a magical holiday - no matter the cost. Often there is an unconscious pressure...
It has been a full summer - a wedding, a family reunion, guests, house projects completed, and the running of my business in the midst of summer break with two teenage girls. I hit my limit - and recognized that there would be some emotional casualties if I wasn't careful to take care of myself.
It can be so easy to just keep going, to keep DOING, to suppress our own needs in the face of others. This has been a long pattern of mine, one that is thankfully beginning to recede into the past. The longer needs are suppressed the harder it is to even know that you have them, or what they really are anyway.
At the heart of this financial work that I do is the question, "what are your needs?" The question recognizes the obvious financial needs, but invites the exploration of our emotional needs. Sometimes these are so buried that they take years to surface. Or we may think it is one thing, but when we meet the need we are left a little confused......
The "Grocery Budget"...everyone seems to wonder how their spending compares to everyone else. "Is how much we spend normal"? "I should really clip coupons, (shop at ....., never eat again!)".
It fascinates me - particularly this one category. Because it is the one category that we all share - we all have to eat. And so, inside this category lies some interesting psychology.
Spending on food can be justified, excused, celebrated, or induce shame, or guilt ("there are people who go without food - regularly!"). Extravagance - even essentials - can create different emotional responses.
Sometimes a few extras slip into this category really add up. A magazine, a candle, a $7 snack for the kids to keep them quiet while you shop after school, more low nutrient food, produce that eventually gets composted from neglect. No one but you will ever know...
I had a client years ago who would berate herself monthly for how much she spent - but from what I see, it was...
In the safety of a conversation with a new or prospective client, the dream I hear most often is simple: "I want to feel like an adult with money". Their goals also involve getting out of debt, saving more, feeling less ruled by spending impulses, and earning the money they know they could be earning. Yet at the core, my clients have a deep desire to feel differently in the way they interact with money. To be conscious, clear, and action oriented. It has nothing to do with how "smart" they are - how young they are - how old they are. It is simply an experience that they are craving.
I am passionate about supporting this growth - how you may have 'been' with money no longer needs to be a secret shame that is carried, coloring decisions, relationships, and opportunities with its dark oppressive cloud.
There are financial costs to not getting our money house in order. There are also huge emotional costs.
We spend a tremendous amount of mental and emotional energy worrying. Regretting. Fearing. Projecting. Beating ourselves up - further depleting our confidence in this one area of our life.
You see...When you feel uncomfortable about the state of your finances, it may be hard to be present with your spouse, your family, or to get a good night’s sleep. Because as soon as you slow down, the shame creeps in.
In your mind there is often a voice that says: “you are not good with money, you should know better! Why can’t you get a handle on this?” Oh, that voice….
I know that voice.
I know intimately how high the tangible and intangible costs are because I paid them myself – for years. I spent many nights when my girls were little, clenching my teeth with financial anxiety.
It was at this...