PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH?

I felt like a KANJOOS.

That’s an Indian word for “miser/scrooge/stingy”.

Money

It was a Friday night and I had gone out with friends. 

We’d seen a show, and headed on to a pub after for a bit. I was acutely conscious of the fact that my wallet was lighter than a hummingbird, and that I really couldn’t afford to be out spending like I was.

Having eaten before going out and being an occasional drinker, I’d decided to conserve my limited funds – music, dancing, friends were all I needed that night. 

But here was the dilemma – how could I keep this up?! I didn’t want to stop socialising completely, but I just couldn’t afford it anymore. So how to go out with my friends, to dinner, the movies, an occasional night out dancing, and not blow a hole in my already strained-to-the-max budget or be seen as a cheapskate? 

As everyone around me pounded back the pints, I swayed to the music, my hips feeling as restricted as my thoughts… “Is this how I want to live my life, always calculating how much money I have left, what I can afford to spend tonight, wishing I could just not THINK about it anymore?”.

In India, when people go out, it’s quite different from the North American way. In the US, Canada, even NZ, people pay for their indulgences individually.

That way, no matter how much money one has to spend, everyone can go out and have a good time, within their personal financial constraints.

Want a $30 lobster and $10 glasses of wine? Go for it.
Can only afford a $7 quesadilla and beer? No problem.

Ultimately, you’re in control of your money, so you can have as expensive or inexpensive a night out as you wish.

Whereas in India, when the bill comes, it’s split equally. So if you have one $7 drink and everyone else eats + drinks $30-$40 worth, it doesn’t matter. You all end up paying the same. Which is great if you’re flush, but adds up if you’re skint.

If you ask to pay just for your share, you’re looked at as… cheap beyond cheap.

But that’s not the point of this wee background story.

There’s no right or wrong way here. It’s what I realised by pondering these differences, that made me write. A realisation I’d been ostrich’ing a fair bit!

OUTING MYSELF.. HERE GOES!

I saw how I’d save paisas, and blow dollahs. Spend $3000 on bargain clothes shopping one year (under $30 an item), but refuse to buy the $150 dress I’d coveted for 3 years. Spend $200 – $1000 on adventure trips like white water rafting and Everest Base Camp, but avoid spending $40 on a haircut. Loan $1500 to a roommate who couldn’t pay her rent, then let it all go instead of accepting $750 when she refused to return the full amount. Spend $100 on a fancy NYE party, but wince at chipping in $20, cos it was triple ‘my share’. Um.. 

WHAT the WHAT!?

Facepalm. The very definition of… 

Penny wise, pound foolish.

  1. Being careful when it comes to spending small amounts of money, but careless when spending much larger amounts.
  2. Focusing on minutae, while losing sight of the big picture; obsessing over tiny inconsequential efficiencies while glaring inefficiencies are going on elsewhere.

No wonder I felt so small and petty.

‘Cos this ISN’T about money at all.

It’s about ME.

My stories around money. My beliefs about money. My perception of my self worth and deservingness. Scarcity thinking vs abundance thinking.

Yes, you see, penny wise pound foolish is not just an ATTITUDE.

It’s a belief

And it was hurting me.

Was it really about the money? Or was something deeper at play here? Isn’t MONEY itself nothing more than life force energy? 

Was I really a tightwad? Was I a frugal person who thought it was unfair to pay more than ‘my share’ of a night out and always would, no matter how much I had? Was I a generous person temporarily obsessed with the hole in my pocket? Would I be more relaxed about spending if I had more money? I, who once offered a friend all my savings to help her through a tough time (she ended up not taking it, but you better believe I meant it), who would fly across the world if someone needed me, what makes me buy the three $20 pair of shoes instead of the one $200 pair I really want? 

I wondered.. who am I and what IS my relationship with money?!

For a long time, I had a great one. I made enough, saved enough, had enough, gave generously, blew all my pocket money as a kid on gifts for my parents, sponsored a child in Africa, held it lightly, manifested it like magic!

So why didn’t it last? Why the ups and downs over the years?

Because of certain other money beliefs that weren’t serving me. 

Beliefs like… money doesn’t grow on trees. You have to work hard for it. Money causes families to break apart. You’ve got to watch your money or people will try to gyp you out of it. Easy come easy go. Money is fickle. I will never have enough. Money makes you selfish and materialistic. The more you have, the more you waste instead of helping people. You can’t trust people. Money isn’t that important, it’s only money. I can’t afford ___. And so on.

Beliefs that were so deep rooted that no matter how good life was, they’d pop up to create a mess and bring me back to what I was familiar with – struggle.

If you’re like me and most people, you’ve gone through life with certain money behaviours and beliefs without ever knowing why or what they are.

You’ve never examined your relationship to money. You’re not aware of how much money or thoughts of it control your life and experiences. Or you are, but haven’t done much about it.

Whether you’re rolling in it, always working for it and never having enough, coming into it easily and spending just as freely, broke and in debt, whatever your situation, if you’re happy with it, great. 

If not, then do something about it. Here are 4 steps you can take today to start you off.

1) Become aware of your money stories.

This affects everything. Everything. If you don’t know what they are, how can you change them?

2) Then, be honest. With yourself. Your partner. Friends. Family. Tell the truth – I would love to go to ___ and do ___, but I don’t have the money for it / am choosing to lay low / paying off my debts etc. Authenticity, baby!

If they are true friends, they will understand and you can still do low key activities with them.

If you’re broke, remember it’s only a situation – not an indicator of your self worth. There is NO shame in admitting it. Some of the world’s richest people have been bankrupt over and over again and landed on their feet!

FYI, If someone treats you as less than because of your bank balance, LOSE them.

 3) Get to work on your money beliefs – examine them, challenge them.

Be willing to do what it takes to start changing them.

When you come to love and appreciate money, instead of hating or needing it desperately, you won’t be ruled by it anymore. Instead, you’ll see it as a means to an end and change your relationship with life for the better.

4) Change your language.

Stop saying you’re not good with money, poor, broke, etc. Start seeing yourself as thriving and good with money, say you’re getting better with it if you can’t say you’re great with it with conviction! Where your words go, your thoughts follow, and from that you will act in ways that push you up or pull you down.

Money is a topic people just don’t talk about, that’s why it ends up owning us instead of vice versa. To create a healthier life, you must have a healthy relationship with money. Even if you don’t discuss it with anyone else, at least be honest with YOURSELF!

Stop being an ostrich – get your head out of the sand so you can get right with your money story. Write the next chapter of your life the way YOU want it.

And don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging there asking HOW – I’m going to help at least one of you!

MoneyIf you’re ready to stop letting money be a source of pain in your life and be in charge of it, you could win a copy of Kate Northrup’s book ‘Money: A Love Story, Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create The Life You Really Want’.

Simply leave a comment below telling us your money beliefs / what you want to change, and share/like/tweet this post! Cheers! 

I’ll draw a winner at random on February 10th, 2014. As for my own relationship with money, let’s just say it’s a work in progress ;).

z Tia Hi! I’m Tia. Multi-passionate Sparklepants, Life Lover, Curator of Awesome. I run this website featuring kickass inspiration to help you sparkle through life, no matter what! Click here to ignite your Inner Sparkle — that shimmery part of your spirit that says YES to courage + connection, and NO WAY to ‘shoulds’ + restrictions.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wonderful post Tia and i am reading Kate’s book now, I love and feel good about what I have read so far. It is time to write my money story! Like you my money story is a work in progress.

  2. Abena says

    Same here! I have both made and spent a *lot* of money. Growing up, I heard “people with a lot of money are mean-spirited and evil”, and as much as I don’t believe that, perhaps a part of my subconscious does. I appreciate the freedom money provides and want *that* thought to infiltrate my subconscious mind!

  3. Bev says

    Tia, it sounds like you were speaking directly to me and only me. I think that I operate out of fear instead of abundance. I do believe that our thoughts have a major impact on what comes back to us!! I need to clean up my thoughts and practices around spending!! Would love to read Kate’s book. Sounds like an inspiring and helpful read. Just like your blog was!!

  4. Terrilynn Clark says

    Awesome information. In my experience money has been like a curtain surrounding me – open in times of abundance and snapped tightly shut when the nickels run low. I am seeking balance in every aspect of my life and money is an excellent starting point.

  5. Daysha w says

    This article is inspiring. I have my own business and my beleifs seem to keep me right above my spending needs. I can’t find the abundance I’m desiring, and know it is trough my decisions that must happen on a daily basis. I want to get it under control!!

  6. Kirsty H says

    Wow – perfect timing! I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit recently, and would love to look deeper into what’s really going on with my love/hate relationship with money. I’d love to relax a little :) Thank you for sharing!

  7. Monique Minkens says

    I must admit my money beliefs have held me back and I often worry about money. I feel like I live within my budget yet there are times when I can’t do fun activities due to lack of funds. It feel awful and like a bad person when I can’t do fun activities because I don’t have the funds and berate myself about how I need to learn to budget better.

    I’m sure I would benefit from learning more about budgeting but I also need to realize money does not define me.

  8. Megan says

    I’d really like to get better at being more consious of how I’m spending my money, without being over the top obsessed with it… A balance of being aware of how and where I’m spending it, but also not being afraid to spend when I should. Not sure that makes any sense, but it does in my head…

  9. says

    Hi Tia,

    This is a topic that I have thought about for years and years. I have friends that have enormous savings but live like paupers. Visiting their home in wintertime means wearing a parka because they keep their temperature turned down so low. I swear that they have the title of Vancouver’s smallest TV. Their big screen TV, which still dominates a significant portion of their living room space, is an old projection-type TV that is no longer working and it’s too expensive to fix (and would be a poor use of money, anyways.) They are the best example of how I am trying not to live as we have similar upbringing….not enough money and too many kids.

    I realize that I have some money wrinkles myself when I look at what lengths I will go (or distances I’ll walk) to not pay for parking. Or the distaste I feel in putting too much postage on a letter because I don’t have the right denomination of postage stamp. ;^)

    Sounds like I need to read this book! Keep up the good work, Tia!

  10. says

    Hi Tia…it looks like a great book and sounds as though you are well on your way to healing your relationship with money.

    The way I see it money is nothing without you. It can’t be used without you, it can’t spend itself. Money as an energy needs you to use it. Basically it needs you more than you need it!
    :-)

    • says

      Great post Tia and indeed a somewhat taboo subject (even more than other things I do and dare not speak on your blog).

      I have lots of shame around my money situation AND I like to blame my catholic upbringing (for money and many other things!). My money belief is rooted in the “rules” that, to go to heaven, you have to be humble and poor, that too much money is an evil selfish sin, and that you have to give it all to others (including at least 10% to the Church). Even as a wounded catholic boy, I complied and generously gave and gave and gave – out of guilt (that word!) and out of belief that I must be a martyr to access eternal life. I kept nothing for myself. These are my money wounds! There, I have spoken by truth! It feels good!

      Today, I get it! My heart is at peace with the church. *breathing*. I can only blame myself and take full responsibility for my current situation. Right? *breathing*

      I am changing my money beliefs. I believe that money is simply a tool used by humans to balance whatever you seek that makes you live a fulfilling and happy life AND your contribution to the make this a better world. So – the more you have to give of yourself to the world, the more you seek for yourself AND the more you seek for yourself the more you have to give to the world.

      Sounds complicated? After reading it over a few times, the bottom line is money is most important when balanced with purpose AND abundance in both money and life purpose is both deserving and FABULOUS!

  11. Suzanna Persa says

    My money beliefs? Not sure what they are, my parents were both Immigrants and didn’t really talk about money. I just know our household was always in a constant struggle for everything and lack there of. We were always told work hard to get ahead and to settle for less than when we had to. We were never taught about saving, stocks, investments or anything else of the sort. Just trying to unravel my money mindset so I can change it from the old worn out tape that is playing in my head and sub-conscious.

  12. says

    Well, Miss Tia, I’ve begun slowly by loosening the ties I have to the belief that I have to work hard for my money. I haven’t worked hard in years! ;) I am a Life Mentor, Energy Healer and Bodyworker with a small business that is supported by individual therapists. I am wealthy with experiences, creativity, family, friends, compassion, arts, food, joy, abundant laughter, peace and tranquility, connections to all parts of the Universe, etc. I have prayed to the Abundance Gods for a long time for these things, and I have them all! However, there is a subset of the Abundance Gods (namely, the Money Gods) that have yet to deliver. So I sat for a long time, trying to figure this out. Here’s what I figured: The Abundance Gods are not picky about what they shower upon me; they are Abundance Gods, for goodness’ sake! That’s what they do! The Abundance Gods would not hold back on only one small part. Huh? What? Uh, then it must be ME! I must be blocking the $$$ from falling into my lap! Heh-heh-heh! So that is why I am designating 2014 as The Year of Allowing. Allowing works on many levels–I allow $$$ to flow to me from everywhere. I allow myself to accept $$$ from wherever it is that $$$ comes. I allow myself to be generous because it feels good to give to others. I allow others around me to be generous, so they will feel good, too! I allow me to Be True to Who I Am. And I allow others to Be True to Who They Are. I allow all things that will add to my abundance to come to me easily and gracefully, with no resistance. I’m hoping this year is that “turning point” I hear about from others…
    So there you have it!

  13. ANDREA says

    I feel that no matter how much I save, money finds a way of creeping out of my hands into situations that have no value in my life. I just wish I had enough to help me to stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow.

  14. YogiCrystal says

    Wow, this post is quite timely for me… interesting. I was actually just having a stressful night worrying and thinking about money. Going over and over, regretting what I spent over the holidays, etc. My relationship with money is quite negative and has been for a very long time. I feel that money worries weigh us down and separate us (I’ve certainly felt alienated from “friends” during those nights out too). I definitely want to develop a more positive attitude about money and how I can manage it better during the tough times. Thanks for the tips again Tia!! <3

  15. says

    Awesome information. In my experience money has been like a curtain surrounding me – open in times of abundance and snapped tightly shut when the nickels run low. I just wish I had enough to help me to stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow.

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