Sometimes its worth it to play mind games with yourself. You have the power to convince yourself of something. I do this often when it comes to finances. When I got a raise I convinced myself that I didn’t get the raise. It worked!
I didn’t get a raise this week.
Well, actually I did get a raise. Sort of.
My boss gave me a raise but I didn’t give it to myself.
What do I mean? Right now I am at the point where I am “making it” day to day but there are still goals that I need to meet. My emergency fund is not fully funded. I have some big purchases that I need to save up for.
My raise is going to pay for that. If I have been fine with my current paycheck then I can live without my raise. The first thing I did when I was told that I would be getting a raise is increase my retirement savings contribution. If the money is immediately accounted for-then I will never miss it! I then sat down and decided how much more needs to go into each of my savings accounts- my emergency fund, my large purchases account etc. After a while, I will increase my discretionary spending but not until I bulk up my savings a bit! This is why it is so important to have money goals. When you get some “Extra Money” then you know exactly where to put it!
Don’t think that this means that I make so much money that I don’t need the money from my raise- I absolutely do! But if I have been living poorly until now I can do it a little longer until I feel that my savings accounts are in a better place. I can do without now so that my future is a little more secure. And trust me-I do without often!
“Extra money” is the best money to put away- if you never had it then it doesn’t hurt as much to part with it.
When you suddenly make more money, its extremely tempting to increase your lifestyle immediately. After all, you have been doing without for so long. Its also easy to imagine that the money will keep on growing and growing and you will always have this “raise”. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. Its not a staircase that goes up and down. Its pretty much a roller coaster and the downswings are anything but thrilling. During an upswing its important to consider how you are preparing for a downswing.
Money is an emotional thing. We don’t really relate to money logically.
Playing Mind Games Works!
If you tell yourself that the money is not “yours”- it won’t be. If it already was “yours”, you will feel cheated if you can’t use it the way you want to. And most people don’t “want” to save money. They know they should. They know they have to. They know logically that it is the right thing to do. But they don’t want to. The mental gymnastics that you will play with yourself to justify being irresponsible with money is really quite astounding. AND IT WORKS! The only way for you to fight this is to beat yourself at your own game. The two dueling parts of you WILL fight- just make sure that the responsible side is using all the dirty tricks and mind games that the irresponsible side is using as well. Responsible me plays dirty.