Anyone who starts sweating at the thought of managing money, raise your hand. Balancing spreadsheets, anyone? How about paying overdue bills? Oh, I see there are quite a few hands. Nice to know you’re not alone, isn’t it? Well, I can’t say I particularly enjoy it either. But since it’s a necessary evil, here are a few thoughts that make the whole process easier to stomach.
First, Captain Obvious axiom: Money is Means to an End. It’s not “be all and end all” thing. (Unless you’re the Wolf of Wall Street).
Managing money is a technically simple act, but it tends to be highly charged emotionally. Am I making enough to feed my kids? Are they paying me what I’m worth? God, what if they are paying me what I’m worth? Is there enough in my bank account to finally pay that lawyer? Will my partner be upset if I spend money on that gadget? Will my kids be proud of me if I’m making half of all their friends’ dads? Should I even mention money worries to my family?
Anxiety mounts even before we look at the math. For people who don’t enjoy dealing with numbers the worry of “doing the math right” amplifies the resentment of the already anxiety-ridden task, often to a point of utter avoidance. And we all know how that ends.
So what are the tricks for making money-managing more palatable?
The underlying thread for the anxious questions above is “not enough”. Not enough food, not enough appreciation, not enough security. What if we replace this scarcity mindset with “I can control how much there is”? And then take a short step into “I can control how much, therefore I can create Abundance”. Removing resistance from managing money is about feeling in control. What are the steps to moving into the mindset of being in control?
First: understand that Managing Money Is Simple. At its core managing money is basic addition and subtraction. It feels complex due to the emotional baggage, but the secret is that there’s no secret.
Second: create a budget and use it regularly. Can I say this again please? Make a habit of updating and reviewing it. For example, once a week. Captain Obvious alert again: you’ll know exactly how much money you make, spend, and save, at any given point in time. This may seem annoying, time-consuming, and a hurdle to removing resistance. However, in addition to feeling in control, the biggest perk of a working budget is that you don’t have to think (ok, worry) about money for the rest of the week. Imagine dealing with money for 30 min every week instead of constantly having money-related anxiety as a backdrop to your life!
Third: Here is another trick to make budgeting more appealing: create rewards for small, mid-way victories. For example, you’re saving for a week in the Caribbean, and you plan to make this goal in 6 months. Six months is a long time and requires exceptional skills at delaying gratification. Try to factor in small rewards every month. You succeeded to put aside $1200 this month? Awesome, go splurge on a $100 massage! This technique will help you stay on track, and inject some positive emotion into managing money.
Notice, now you’re creating Abundance and squashing anxiety. You plan for your goals, you make effective steps to make them happen, and you get fun rewards along the way. And the best part? Your level of money-related anxiety gets much lower, because you only think about money at designated times, and when you do, you are in control.