Often, when clients come to see me, they are afraid I will tell them they can’t afford to have something they really want. They fear that they won’t be able to take that vacation to Europe or perhaps they shouldn’t be buying so many clothes.
Now, as a money coach, I’m used to people projecting their hopes and fears on to me. And we navigate as best we can. One of my biggest aims is to bring people to the place where they are not only conscious about what they spend, but they are happy with their spending. Yes, this really is possible!
Like many things, it is about balancing. Yes, I want to save for my safety net. And yes, I want to go to Europe. I love the idea of paying down my credit card, and I love the Nordstrom’s half yearly sale.
Part of this goes to discerning wants vs. needs. (Here is my article on how to do this.) You must focus on your needs first and then bring creativity to satisfying your wants.
Here is another way to think about it. I often look my clients and say: You can have anything you want. However, you can’t have everything you want.
And often, they just sit there and stare at me for a bit. I stare back. It is kind of profound, isn’t it?
So what do you really want? What will you chose to protect? If Europe is what you truly want (and I will assume that you have your safety net savings) then perhaps you are willing to make your wardrobe last another year, replace just the dryer but wait on the new washer, or let go of the landscaping project for now.
What do you really want? What do you want to protect?
I had one couple, when struggling with balancing their annual income and spending plan, decide that what was truly important to them was their Seahawks tickets. They worked hard to protect this- as it gave them immense pleasure and connection with many friends. So knowing they did get to have something they wanted, they cut back on eating out, decided to not travel back east in the summer and found more frugal ways to decorate their new home. They protected the Seahawks. (Which I personally love, being a big fan myself.)
It’s not that they couldn’t eat out more often. They could choose to do that instead. But they wanted those tickets more.
Another client, after coming out of unemployment, was very clear she wanted to protect her safety net she was rebuilding. It had saved her a lot of stress and had helped her avoid credit card debt during a very difficult time, but it was now seriously depleted. What helped her was to think like this: It’s not that I can’t have a new wardrobe. I can do that. However, I want to rebuild this safety net even more. I want to protect this. (I had her cut out a picture of a net under an acrobat, and carry it in her wallet. She looked at this “safety net” when tempted by a bright shiny object.)
What do you want to protect? And what are you willing to let go of or cut back on, so you can truly protect this?
Remember- you can have anything you want. But you can’t have everything you want. So decide—what do you truly want? Then protect it.