Doesn’t it sometimes feel easier to lie to yourself about your money? Whether we are telling ourselves we have more money than we really do…..or lying to ourselves that things aren’t “that” bad, despite the rising credit card balance…..Even people that are banking millions still tell themselves that it’s not enough.
Where do these lies come from?
From two places: fear and laziness.
When you tell yourself the truth about your money, particularly your lack thereof, suddenly it becomes reality–“Oh, man, I’m a financial mess!” when all this time you’ve been fooling yourself into thinking that you’re doing just fine.
And you’re feeling lazy; not up to the challenge of turning your finances around. And once you’re truthful about your money, it means you have to do something about it
And THAT is the scary part.
It means we’re going to have to start watching our pennies and telling ourselves “no” to things that we once just gave to ourselves because we felt we “deserved” it, or because we said that “it’s just a $1.50 cup of coffee every day. What’s the big deal??”
The big deal is that it’s all built on lies.
The truth is, you’re really broke. You really have no emergency fund. You’re really only one paycheck away from being homeless. The truth is that you suck at managing your money.
You’re really in trouble.
I confess that I’ve been lying to myself about my money, too.
I’ve been telling myself that we’re doing okay because we have have a little stashed away in a CD and company stock. But we don’t have the recommended 9 months of living expenses should one of us lose our jobs. But the fact that we’re not saving any money, and hubby has to work 2 jobs in order to pay for daycare, we’re not doing okay. In fact, we could be doing much better.
So let’s take a look at some of the lies that I have been telling myself. Have you been telling yourself lies, too?
1. “I’ll charge it now and just pay it off when I get paid.”
Yeah–right……And even if I DID pay it off when I got paid, it was only a short time before I charged something else, and started the cyclical pattern of charging…then paying back….charging…then paying back. So essentially what happens is that I’m JUST paying for what I’ve bought; I’m not even close to making a dent in the other debt that is sitting there, collecting interest.
2. “I’ve been wanting it for so long, and it was a good deal, so I had to buy it.”
Just because I’ve been drooling over something for a couple months (or even years!) doesn’t justify buying it on credit. It doesn’t even justify buying it with cash, until I have specifically saved up for it. The amount of time you’ve wanted something doesn’t justify when you get it. It just doesn’t.
3. “My $5,000 credit card debt isn’t THAT bad. Some people’s debt is $30,000! So I must be doing pretty good then.”
No, you’re not! I know it helps to keep things relative, in order to feel better about my own situation when I compare myself to people doing worse, but why not compare myself to people doing better? There are people with ZERO credit card debt (I know–I used to be one of them). So compare my situation to them, and the truthful statement is, “OMG, I’m really screwing up!”
4. “But it’s not like I’m spending money on frivolous stuff like massages, manicures, pedicures, or shopping for name-brand clothes every day of the week!”
You know what? That doesn’t even matter. Just because I am not buying these things, doesn’t justify all the other things I over-spend on. A dollar spent is a dollar spent, whether it’s on makeup and a “pedi” or on a last-minute dinner at Trader Joe’s because I didn’t plan a weekly menu and now I’m scrambling to feed my kids. It’s still over-spending, however you look at it.
5. “My paycheck isn’t enough.”
The truth isn’t that my paycheck isn’t enough. It’s that I’m over-spending. I’m paying for cable channels I don’t watch. I’m wasting money on money leaks that I haven’t plugged up, I’m pay on credit debt, I’m buying food without a weekly menu to guide my buying decisions, then throwing out things that go bad before we eat them…and the list goes on. My paycheck could suffice.
So there you have it, folks: the money lies I have been telling myself. The next challenge is to figure out how to live a financially truthful life, so that my family can start saving again. My goal is to build a reliable emergency fund, plug up those money leaks, learn to create a weekly menu, and curb my over-spending habits. Stay tuned for more!
I would love to know what lies you all have been telling yourself. And aren’t you ready for financial honesty again?!
If you want to see more money lies we tell ourselves, check out these other 9 money lies that we tell ourselves.