Finding Financial Happiness: Addressing Poor Financial Habits

My goal has been to live a happier, more fulfilled life, and to stop the self-damaging thoughts that I have. To understand I can have everything that I have ever dreamed of, and some of those things that I have yet to even think of. My hope is by sharing my experiences, others are able to change as well.

I  believe in order to accomplish these things I have to make complete changes. The biggest challenge of these has been renewing my mind. Changing your behavior begins with a single thought. Every day isn’t a walk in the park, but it is progress, which makes me grateful.

During this journey, I realized that there are many things that can affect how your circumstances are viewed, in addition to many things that can trigger negative thoughts. One of those triggers is money. Unfortunately, more often than not, many people equate happiness with having money.

I Worked Too Much

I was one of those people, yep, I totally beat myself up because I didn’t have the means to do the things I wanted, or felt I had to work crazy hours in order to keep up with what I thought was normal.

For example, I worked a full time and part time job, often picking up more than ten extra shifts a month. It led to being tired and overworked. I missed out on family events because of it, and when I did make it, I lacked the energy to really enjoy the time spent with them. Often I didn’t have time to recuperate on the weekends; because, I was working six and sometimes seven days a week. I picked up double shifts, running from one job to another. Holidays? Hmph, I worked those too. During Christmas, I worked like a mad woman picking up more shifts so gift buying wouldn’t break me.

Why was I doing this? Simply put, I was living beyond my means and spending money on things that I couldn’t afford and didn’t need.

I wanted to be able to hang out with my friends, buy awesome things, and travel. That, plus I lived a fairy tale that somehow all of my debt would magically disappear. Saying no wasn’t an option for me either, I have been known to be a people pleaser.

My Financial Triggers

I’ve been pretty transparent about how I’ve had a couple (or five) not so great thoughts. Here are some financial triggers that seemed to have affected me the most:

  • Living Beyond My Means- I was famous for this, spending too much on unnecessary things. I had difficulty recognizing the things that I needed versus the things that I wanted. Let’s be honest, I thought everything was a need, and I found a reason or rationalized buying it.
  • Lack of a Budget- Budget? Eww. I thought the word budget was dirty. Why would I budget? I had plenty of money (or so I thought). I hated math in school, and felt that this was another reason to do more of it. Nope, I didn’t need a budget, instead I hoped at the end of the month, everything would work out, and I would break even. Clearly, this was a bad theory.
  • The Comparison Trap– I struggled with this; thinking that I didn’t have what others had. The reality is, I had no idea what their financial situation was, I only knew what I saw. For all I know they could be in debt too, thinking it would magically disappear like me. Here’s the gotcha, as this journey continued, I started to ask other people with the lives I thought I wanted. Turns out, many people were like me, they avoided paying their debt (or their taxes), as though it didn’t exist.
  • Retail Therapy- This is a hard one. I shopped, like, a lot. If I was having a bad day or week, I would find myself at a mall or online (Can you say one-click checkout!?!  Who invented this? Eek!) to buy something new. It didn’t solve the problem, but it did make me feel better, at least temporarily. The bad thing was, I continued to bury myself deeper in debt, and I filled my house with stuff!
  • Poor Financial Decisions- Unfortunately, I was a wee bit too trusting with someone, which led to a large amount of debt that I’m paying back now.

Planning For a Change

If you have experienced any of the things that I have, developing a plan is important. Here are some things that you can do:

  • Develop financial goals- Make a list of the things that you desire for your future, and how they will be achieved.
  • Create A Budget- Although it sounds gross, and math isn’t fun. Budgeting is definitely a win. Be honest with yourself and the spending habits that you have.
  • Find an accountability partner(s)- Support is always a plus, find someone that is like minded, and support one another.
  • Develop positive thoughts about money- The progression towards financial happiness may not be immediate, be grateful for the journey and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t happen as quickly as you want. Develop positive money habits.

Stay tuned, as I continue to discuss my journey towards financial happiness.

Have you ever experienced any of theses things? Did you realize that your finances may be a barrier to your life and your happiness? What did you do in order to make any changes? What was your plan? I’d love to know in the comments!

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