Saturday, October 6, 2007

Emotionally Frugal

I have found recently that the reason I am not spending money isn't that I don't want to, it's that I don't want to enough. Buying things doesn't make me feel good. At all. In fact, spending money makes me feel bad. I think of times when I was spending recklessly, accumulating the debt, and how it didn't make me feel good then. Sure, it was great to get new things and much of our debt was for necessary items (groceries, utilities, gas). But we did do a bit of shopping in there, too.

When I wrote the post about the worst financial mistake ever, it rekindled the emotions I had at that time. As accomplished as it feels to have finally paid it off, reflecting about how we obtained that debt in the first place is inspiration to continue to be frugal. This past summer I got a little lax with the debt payoff. We lost the drive and intensity, partially as a natural result of being frugal for some time. I admire and envy those who work for years to pay off their debts. (Wait, did I just say I envy them? I mean I envy their intensity.)

Emotions can play a huge part in your finances. People buy things to feel better (retail therapy, anyone?) and avoid credit card bills so as not to feel bad. The trick is to use those emotions to your advantage, both positively and negatively. For me, thinking about how bad it felt to be in over my head, trying to stay afloat is a big part of what drives me to get out of the red. It also helps to celebrate the milestones, in small, frugal ways, of course. When reason and logic can't keep you from spending, try using emotion.


Louise said...

you are so right about emotions playing a part in our financial lives, both spending and saving. It is often overlooked by financial planners and some pf bloggers.
Love your wedding pic avatar!

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