Hopefully with the holidays behind us you are not seeing the credit card bills in your mailbox this month. The piles of debt we can sometimes find ourselves in can be limiting and cause a great deal of stress in our lives. There’s not much more that can cause significant strain in a family than financial risk. It’s scary to think about what could happen and how quickly things could change as a result of lacking money. As a single income family I definitely know that stress and can attest to the impact it’s had on the way I work with and manage my family’s budget.
How we feel when we purchase things, whether we need them or not, causes both physical and emotional reactions in our body. The act of shopping, paying for something and carrying it to your car is so much deeper than just the physical act of buying something. There are responses triggering stress in our body before, during and after we purchase things. These responses happen whether we have money for that purchase or not but our method of payment can influence how deep and intense those responses are. When we use our credit cards and know we don’t have the money for it or we’re signing papers for a loan we feel a heightened pressure. It also happens with smaller purchases like buying shoes or school supplies the kids need.
Take for instance when you go to the grocery store and you load up the cart with everything your family needs. You were careful in not adding too many things that you really didn’t need but that cart is still pretty full. How many times have you stood at the checkout with a slight panic feeling over what that cart of food will cost or gasped a little when you heard the total? Even when money isn’t an issue for my family I still freak a little when I see a large total for food. It happens to all of us. We can feel money controls us more often than we control it too often in our lives. That’s not a comfortable feeling at all.
Everything has a Price Tag
It literally seems everything is for sale these days and most things can seem way out of reach for us. We try to be smart with our money and stretch those dollars as far as they will go while getting what we need. We look for quality so it will last and balance that against a price tag to see how much “quality” we can actually afford. It can make it feel impossible to stay ahead of debt and not find yourself in a situation of lacking money should an emergency arise.
I believe there are a couple factors influencing our feelings of things being out of our reach financially and constrained by debt getting things for our family. First, we live in a highly driven marketing and consumerism based world. We are presented with things to buy that we “need” all the time. We live in a world where we are told what we “should” be doing, how we should be living and what that life looks like. We are flooded by images of richness and luxury comfort living that is appealing and desirable and yet leaves us in massive debt.
Secondly I believe our purchasing feelings are greatly influenced by our own insecurities. This is one is tough for us to admit but most often we find ourselves over extending ourselves because we think we deserve it. It isn’t that we don’t deserve it but we have this urgency for when we should have it. It’s right there so why not have it now? We can make payments on it and pay it off in no time! It is extremely hard to deny ourselves things that we feel we deserve, need or think we should have. It is hard as a parent to explain why your child can’t have a phone or expensive toys when they see their friends getting them all the time.
Disconnecting and de-tangling from the emotions of purchases is a set of it’s own feelings. We find we’re lonely, different, excluded, bored, anxious and even depressed. When you stop spending and step back from that type of cycle it takes a minute to realize who you are and where you are. It can be extremely uncomfortable too. However, if we really want to reset our spending and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck the answer isn’t a better paying job or a raise. It is literally re-doing our entire mindset about living and what that looks like.
From the point my husband wasn’t able to work anymore and we had to start living on just my income I admit I was very stressed out. While I knew that change was coming and I thought I was prepared it was still extremely scary and at times still feels very uncomfortable. I worry a lot more about job security and having gone through a few layoffs in my career I panic at that thought these days. I spent hours pouring over our budget to make sure we would be able to pay bills and what that now looked like for things we used to do like vacations or extra spending. I became super sensitive about any money we spent because I had fear of how we would do this on just my job income. It’s still not easy at times and I will wake up worrying about this responsibility.
In going through this experience in our family I can share that it does truly take one step at a time to figure it out. We must ultimately expand our view to see the value of things that are not associated with money. We must look past our things and material possessions to see what else is in our lives. That full picture view is what gives you the power to figure out the money stuff and is key to finding a lifestyle that isn’t being controlled by your family budget.
The whole reason I started this blog over 2 years ago now was to share with you the transformations in my family as a result of these changes we had to make. There was a lot we have learned in this process and have had to overcome to get to a safe spot financially. We are fortunate even though I do still greatly stress sometimes about the money. Mostly that is due to the incredible volatile nature of work that could result in a loss of job at any time and managing a small business to help offset that risk. However, I do know I’m doing all I can to protect my family financially every day. I also found some emotional support for those moments I feel that financial panic creeping in. I simply apply it on my arms and back of my neck. (To get what I use click here: dragonspitapothecary.com/not-scared-of-money)
If you want to secure your family’s financial future you have to make those conscious tough decisions to start moving in that direction. For me it was doing small things like reducing our grocery bill by getting rid of things that were impacting our health and budget. From having worked in healthcare for over 30 years I can tell you that over 80% of the claims paid by an insurance company are for things that we can treat at home with the same or better results. That means big savings in your family budget.
When you truly sit down and make a list of everything you pay for and buy in a month you can find those opportunities to reduce what you spend and still get effective, high quality products and services. These are the things I found on my list to reduce immediately:
Dishwasher soap & dish soap
Soaps and body washes
Shampoo & conditioner
Hair styling products
Facial care products
First aid supplies
Over the counter medications
Vitamins and supplements
It can seem trivial but when you realistically add up what you spend on just these types of things each month you will be amazed at what it is costing you! I was spending almost $100 a month sometimes on these things! Over the course of a few months I tracked these expenses and then I tried different approaches to reducing these expenses. I even tried couponing and working the 6 week sales cycles in my local stores at first to cut these costs but ultimately I still ended up spending way more because I was trying to stockpile what we used because it was on sale. Plus I was driving everywhere and shopping different places all the time which was a huge time hit.
The difference compared to what you can get when you make them or buy a natural version adds up to a lot of money saved. When I changed to using a natural product that I could buy or make I didn’t need a stockpile of stuff taking up space and our budget expenses for these things went way down, even compared to intense couponing. I also wasn’t going store to store watching sales or spending time looking for coupons or making purchasing decisions based on sales and coupons. Seriously it was a huge time hit to plan around sales and coupons! The bonus I found when I removed the chemicals was my family stopped getting as sick as often so we were able to reduce the doctor bills on top of it!
You can say you don’t believe in essential oils and it’s just a bunch of baloney but here’s the deal you won’t beat the price tag or impact to your family budget. That alone is worth serious consideration if you are wanting to change your family budget’s bottom line. You also won’t beat your family’s change in health and what that means financially. So if you don’t believe me that it works then believe me that it actually saves you money and then see the results for yourself. We can stop living in a money scarcity mindset by proactively reducing our expenses and ending the paycheck-to-paycheck living cycle.
Make your own list and put your own numbers on it. Track it a few months and see your own results. Then let’s help you learn how to transition to more natural options that will change that spend scenario and positively influence your budget. Let’s talk about how to get high quality products that do work and provide the benefits financially, emotionally and physically while saving real tangible dollars. If this is your 2020 goal then start here: dragonspitapothecary.com/live