5 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Money
Love is in the air… but how about with money?
Love it, hate it, obsess over it, or ignore it — having a healthy relationship with money is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. By now you probably know that your relationship with money can influence how you spend and save it.. That’s not to say you’ll be rich if you love money. Rather, you may have a more carefree approach and feel less weighed down by financial concerns. If you have an unhealthy relationship with money, you’ll end up feeling scared, resentful, shame, guilt and even trying to avoid money altogether.
Not sure if you have a positive relationship with those Benjamins? Here are the 5 telltale signs:
You Throw Shade at Those Who Have Money
Let’s acknowledge that there are lots of circumstances at play when it comes to money. However, if you are resentful or outright mean when you meet someone who may seem to have more money than you, chances are you feel bad you’re not outwardly rich.
Guess what? Your net worth doesn’t equate to your self-worth. Focusing on the negative isn’t very good for your mental health and your overall happiness.
You’re Scared to Look at the Numbers
Maybe you have debt. Or you know you overspent for the last few months.
Whatever your situation, your challenges won’t go away if you’re afraid to look at them. If you’re scared to look at the numbers, chances are you’re in an avoidant relationship with the reality of your bank account.
When you avoid your money situation, it could mean you’re feeling shame or guilt around your decisions. Repeat after me: I made choices I thought was best for me at the time.
If you come from a place of fear when it comes to your money, you won’t be able to enjoy what you have. You may feel like you never have enough, or that you don’t have the power to change your financial situation. Guess what? You do.
You Don’t Have a Clear and Consistent Strategy
This week you decide you’ll create a budget using cash envelopes, but a few days later you decide that you’re better off taking advantage of credit card rewards. Or you want to pay off more than the minimum due on your credit card but you stop when you read about how it’s a better idea to invest.
There’s nothing wrong with learning about different tactics to save money or pay down debt, but when you don’t take consistent steps towards one thing, it may mean you’re avoiding your overall financial health. It may not sound sexy sticking to one or two tried and true strategies, but it’s what will make the most progress.
You’re in a Ton of Consumer Debt
Spending more than you earn is a sign that you avoiding the reality of your financial situation, and not prioritizing your future. You’re living a lifestyle you can’t afford because you keep trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Putting your purchases on credit is going to lead you to a hamster wheel of debt. This can lead to resentment and other types of negative feelings around money in general.
You’re Afraid to Spend It
Yes, there is such a thing as saving too much money.
If you feel guilt or fear around spending money, it’s a telltale sign that you can’t enjoy what money can provide. Sure, you want to have some savings or money set aside for retirement, but there needs to be a balance.
Maybe you find it hard because you can’t justify spending money on something fun for yourself. Could it be because you feel like you need to “punish” yourself after being in credit card debt all those years ago? Or are you scared because you feel like if you buy those pair of shoes, you’ll end up being a shopaholic?
It’s OK to take a balanced approach. Sometimes spending money to make your life easier is the right thing to do.
What Do I Do Now?
If you want to be in a better financial situation, it starts with being honest about your situation — even if it feels scary. Getting crystal clear on what’s going will help you process your feelings around money and get you on a path to financial well-being.
You may need to give yourself some space but start by tracking what’s coming in and going out. Pull up those credit card statements, pay stubs, and even paper receipts you have lying around. Add them all up. Take a deep breath.
If you find that you’re in debt, it’s time to make a consistent plan. If you’ve tried different solutions but haven’t stuck to anything, start small. Consider downloading an app that can help you figure out what expenses you can cut out or help you negotiate a lower rate for recurring services.
As you keep working on your financial situation, remember that money is neither good or bad. It’s simply a resource to help enhance your life. Even if it’s uncomfortable to think about money this way, taking action — no matter how small — will help you feel empowered and ready to take control of your money once and for all.