I can’t stop spending. By cutting down on buying things I don’t need, I thought I’d have so much spare cash I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’m not spending on many ‘things’…so why don’t I have any spare money at all? In fact, I’m worse off than at any time previously. What’s going on?
So, no, I’m not buying clothes. I’m not buying make up. I’m not buying physical books or trinkets or ornaments or shoes. I have enough of those things. What am I buying? Where is my money going?
I look through my bank statement with furrowed brow, loosely convinced I’d been a fraud victim. But by combing through every last penny with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I realised, yes, I spent it. But on what?
Get this. I spent it on food. On petrol driving to my place of work a half hour run away. On endless cups of good coffee. On a haircut. On phone bills. On house bills.
I figured by reducing the amount of things I bought, in turn, I’d reduce the amount of money I spent. I’d be able to save to allow us to fix the essentials in our house. I’d have spare money for amazing experiences. But no. I replaced buying things with, well, buying things.
The spending habit is hard to break. I was so conditioned into spending to make myself feel good, that when I stopped buying so many physical items…I carried on spending, of course I did, only this time on non-physical items. A treat of an expensive haircut. A luxury of a car, albeit not a luxury car. On unnecessary coffee trips, because I convince myself I write better there. And don’t even start on my Kindle habit. Reading expands your horizons and doesn’t have to take up space in your house. But it sure makes a different kind of space in your bank balance.
What an eye-opener. I’m learning that I place value on experience over physical items, which is a good thing, in my eyes. But I need to re-evaluate what is really necessary to me. Is it justified to spend £70 on a haircut every few months? To me, no. It’s a treat…but why do I need a treat? What’s missing? Why do I feel the need to look a certain way? And come to think of it…isn’t a good head of highlights just anther accessory, underneath it all? I’m still buying for the sake of buying in the end.
Money troubles me. Lack of money triggers a sick feeling I just can’t shake off. What if something happened? What if I have an emergency expense?
The trick is to reduce my dependence of money as a crutch, as a tool. It’s entirely possible to live money-free, as Mark Boyle’s moneyless manifesto discusses. I need to re-arrange the priorities in my life and make more of the opportunities I have that are held back by my perceived lack of money. If I stop attaching so much importance to money….will I be able to reduce my focus on it and enjoy the things that really matter to me?
Money is a tool, but it can bind us or free us. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not how much of it we have that matters, after our basic human needs are met. It’s how we attach meaning to money that truly liberates us.