Treating yourself when you’re happy or sad is not always a good idea
Have you ever gone through the vicious cycle of having so much money (usually on pay day or bonus season) and then none at all? Samesies. But because we work so hard to earn our keep, it feels natural to want to reward ourselves with something nice—a shiny new pair of shoes or perhaps a beauty antidote for those unsightly bags underneath your eyes. Ah yes, instant gratification—for those nights you spent caressing your work laptop instead of your beau or jowa. But once the retail high fades, just how good do you feel, especially when you realize you need some of that money to get through the next two weeks or worse, you’re mired in debt?
Truth is, women are emotional spenders. Money, for many, represents love, power, or control, especially in relationships. And “our emotional attachments to it strongly influence the way we spend and handle money,” said Deborah Fowles of The Balance, a personal finance property.
If you think about it, the secret to a bright financial future is no secret at all. Live below your means, advised Time, understand the difference between what you earn and what you spend, that’s it. Once you do, the sooner you’ll find yourself with enough money to do whatever you want.
The process sounds drab and unexciting, but it isn’t. Not when the result is freedom—freedom to do what you love or freedom from financial worries. But it won’t be easy, especially in a culture where many children are coddled into adulthood. Here, important things we women can do to help ourselves.
Your financial security doesn’t depend on your parents, partner or spouse.
We’re always talking about independence or equality. If you’re a fresh graduate, employed but still live with your folks, that’s cool. Maybe offer to chip in with little things like groceries or pay for dessert when dining out with the fam. Married and with a job? Who said your spouse was put on this earth to pay all the bills? That’s inequality right there. Do your share and while you’re at it, educate yourself about money management and investing.
Financial goals = financial success.
We’ve all made it part of our goals to ‘be fit and healthy’ but what about being financially independent? Sure ‘save money’ counts, but what are you saving for? Be specific and list down the steps you need to take to ‘save for passion project’ or ‘get crazy rich.’
Most importantly, don’t use money to make yourself feel good.
Not everything that makes you feel good can be bought. Why not do things that promote creativity or self-respect so you don’t have to seek those feelings by spending?
Build an emergency fund.
Because life happens all the time: a parent or child gets sick, there’s a death in the family, your business flops, you lose your job. Such things could force you to take on heavy debt—credit or otherwise—that may be difficult if not impossible to get out of. Always. Be. Prepared.
Talk about money with your jowa, spouse, housemate—anyone you’re sharing a roof with.
It’s important to be involved in the day-to-day management of your household’s finances and to talk about money with people living under one roof. Dating and living together? Talk about how much you guys can contribute and adjust your expenses according to what you can afford. Have a roommate? Create and agree on rules that empower you both financially.
Never take on a loved one’s debt, even when you intend to marry.
Sure, we all have responsibilities to family, but that doesn’t include carrying on their debt. Contribute what you can wholeheartedly and without expectation. Meanwhile for the engaged, wait until both of you are out of debt. And do learn to protect yourself with a pre-nup because it’s not just for the rich.
Often times, money problems are manifestations of our issues in life, love and other relationships. Maybe it’s time for some self-examination; think about what emotions drive you when it comes to money. Do you spend when you’re happy, sad, angry or all of the above? If yes, then by now you know the high is fleeting. Financial freedom, on the other hand, enables you to make life choices that make you truly happy.
Art Alexandra Lara