So the first thing that I do when life coaching clients seek financial advice is to have them share with me about their budget. What’s the dollar amount that you are spending? What’s your gross income? The too usually don’t coincide with each other. Then, my life coaching clients often they tell me that they trimmed their budget and they cannot see any more to cut. The other day, I was out with a friend who is having financial difficulty. She seemed quite worried. After we paid for our dinner ($30 a piece) I watched her get into a cab to go home (instead of a subway). As I got ready to get into the subway, I asked myself…is that what it looks like to cut back? My working thesis is that some people just don’t remember or know how to cut. Sometimes there is a sense of entitlement to have the things we have…”I couldn’t possibly give that up.” OK, you don’t have to. But if you want to be financially responsible you might want to really think about it.
We all are comfortable with our standards of living and don’t want to change or cut back. We have a lot invested in money and how we live and often our egos are even more wrapped up in it…how will it look if I don’t live this way, or what will it mean about me, etc. I suggest to my Life Coaching clients that they get unattached to how they have been living and design a game out of saving money. It can be fun if you let it… in fact there are numerous of fun things that can be done for little or no money. You can go to the park, rent a movie https://tragedyinfo.com/matthew-conn-obituary-death-matthew-conn-michigan-accident-matthew-conn-obituary-2021/, go to a museum, play a game, sit and talk with friends, have a catch, paint a picture, read a book, etc. Most times we forgot that there are things to do that don’t cost money and are fun too.
Stop for just a second and go back through that scrapbook in your mind…do you see the snapshot of moments you are most proud of…how much did they cost? And if they did cost a few bucks then think about what made that event so great? What value of yours was being honored in this situation or event? For most of us the response will resemble “I loved being a support to people who are important to me,” or “I loved the adventure, or stretching myself,” “I loved the challenge,” “the camaraderie,” etc. Then consider… how else can I create the same experience/feeling without spending an arm and a leg. For example if what you loved about one of your best moments was stretching yourself, then consider how you can stretch yourself without spending a fortune. There are a multitude of ways that you can stretch yourself, push yourself to do something you’ve never done before or perhaps never even thought you could do.
This is a time to get creative, unattached and make the big calls. If you can relate to cutting back as an adventure, you will win. I tell my Life Coaching clients all the time that the game is about perspective as with so many things in life. Money is often used as a crutch, something we have that gives us a sense of security or power, but it is not what gives happiness. Even though many of us we have molded it into just that.
Making the Big Calls
When I say the big calls I mean things like whether to skip a mortgage payment, whether to take your kid out of private school, whether you can go on a vacation, whether you need to move out of your place into a less expensive abode, etc. I know that every circumstance differs, but my advice is that you need to do what it takes to get yourself right-sized. I’ve witnessed too many people just wait too long to deal. If you deal decisively and powerfully, and if you can give up the thinking that somehow you are lesser now for having down-sized or failed at providing, etc you will likely feel a sense of power and clarity…you have created some space for yourself. When things are right-sided and you get back on your feet, you can always increase your life-style again.
A Last Word for Spouses
If your husband or wife is the bread-winner, know that he/she has a lot of pressure to deal with. Instead of looking to him/her to fix things and hence often adding more pressure to him/her, roll up your sleeves up, make some cut, get your perspective and be his/her partner. This is the time he/she needs your partnership most.