What’s your relationship with money? It’s admittedly an unusual question to ask yourself. After all, money is nothing more than what you need to get what you want, right? While the answer to this question may seem simple on the surface, we all inevitably develop a relationship with money beyond the power it has to make purchases. This is why many people tend to obsessively hoard money for little more than the fear of not having it or spending it carelessly on things they don’t need.
So how do you determine the type of relationship you have with money? And more importantly, how do you make sure your connection to cash is a healthy one? After all, an unhealthy relationship or negative attitude regarding money can translate to serious problems in many other aspects of your life and relationships with others. Here are 3 ways to make sure your relationship with money is healthy.
Spending money feels good. It just does, especially when you’ve bought something new and shiny. It brings a rush of endorphins to the pleasure centers of your brain, which is why so many people go shopping to relax or browse online stores during their lunch breaks. And this simple fact is continually exploited by companies that have a vested interested in making it as convenient as possible for you to spend your money with them.
How do you fight this natural compulsion to feel good? There are a couple ways you can do it, but maybe the simplest is to simply put a temporary freeze on all non-essential spending. This may seem like a drastic step to take, especially if you don’t think you have a spending problem, but by stopping your spending cold turkey it will quickly reset your urge to spend money compulsively and break the connection to your brain’s reward center.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some of us grow obsessed with having money in our bank account just for the sake of having it there. Saving is obviously a sensible financial habit to develop, but is it really worth stressing and obsessively scrimping when you’re already financially stable? Make it a point to treat yourself to a nice meal out every once in awhile, or allow yourself to purchase new clothing from time to time. Life is too short to save for a rainy day that may never come, especially if you are depriving yourself of simple human pleasures to do so.
Using credit cards or taking out loans is another important aspect of money and the way we use it, and your views on borrowing and debt can vary dramatically based on your relationship with money. Credit cards can warp your view of money by disconnecting the act of spending from an actual exchange of cash. This can give some individuals a false sense of wealth and spending power, which can quickly lead to maxed out card balances, late payment fees and crippling interest charges.
On the other hand, many people have an aversion to taking out loans, even when they can make your life significantly easier. If an emergency hits, these individuals will often choose to suffer through it instead of taking out a payday or personal loan or even investigating “title loans near me". This obsessive avoidance of the help a short-term loan can offer can lead to even more dire consequences than recklessly accruing credit card debt.
Ultimately, coming to terms with your relationship with money isn’t always an easy journey, but recognizing your shortcomings and changing certain behaviors and attitudes you have can lead to positive outcomes in the long-term. Just like any other kind of relationship, it’s one that requires work, attention and respect.