How I’m Changing My Negative Money Story
It’s been a few days since I came back from Alt Summit and I’m still unpacking all that went down. To be able to attend as a speaker during my first Alt was an amazing experience.
I also want to congratulate and celebrate all of this year’s Alt Summit speakers! I heard through the grape vines that there was so much Black Girl Magic and we came to SLAAAAAAAAAY! We were professional, specific and brilliant. Which to me is not really a surprise.
Alt Summit is truly an investment and while I understand not everyone has the privilege to attend, I do encourage you, if this is something you’re interesting in attending, to put yourself first and start saving for next year.
Which leads me to today’s post entry.
The past few months leading to Alt Summit, I’ve recognized AND acknowledged feelings of guilt when spending money on more expensive items & experiences. Specifically, those feelings pop up when I’m considering to invest in the following things:
higher ticket items that I like but also offer value & function. Small Example: a pair of Warby Parker sunglasses that fit my face perfectly. I have high cheekbones and most sunglasses sit on my cheeks. HATE IT.
Travel experiences: conferences and vacations
The negative money story I’m telling myself is, I don’t deserve them because I haven’t reached a certain level of monetary success. Therefore instead of spending more on less quality items, I’ll spend my money on a latte here or a slice of pizza there, things that are totally “within my budget”.
This thought process is not only restricting but also negates the work I’ve put into myself and my business leading up to this point.
The Scarcity Mentality can manifest in different ways.
Most people are familiar with the Scarcity Mentality interpretation of hoarding ideas/clients in fear of not having enough to go around. Another idea would be avoiding collaborating to reach a higher level of success.
But for me, the Scarcity Mentality manifests like this:
“if I spend $ on expensive things, I won’t make it back fast enough or never get it back, period. “
Of course it’s easier said than done to say that’s not true. And with God by my side since the beginning of time, there have been PLENTY and PLENTY of examples when this thought process was proven false. So where did this false story come from?
P.roduct O.f M.y E.nvironment
I grew up lower middle class, some may even say below middle class, simply because of my grandmother’s income level, in the South Bronx. There were days when we didn’t have hot water or heat in the winter. I didn’t have the latest name brand clothes and honestly in retrospect that was okay.
I knew we didn’t have money like that, but my grandmother always made sure I didn’t feel left out. I was still cute with laid baby hairs. I had some amazing opportunities: tennis camp and modeling school to name a few.
But I knew money was tight and that idea has stuck with me even until this day. Having to sacrifice certain “luxuries” because of how much or how little money is made is something I always saw…
Now I’m the founder of a company still in its early stages…
I’m the owner of a company with an income that fluctuates. There can be months when I’m bringing in $12,000 in one month, $3000 the next and maybe $1000 when shit is just slow af (January anyone?).
Over the past 5 years I’ve learned to live with a lot less. Like A LOT LESS. There were times, not too long ago, when I was down to my last $10 and that had to stretch until payday. Or opting to buy groceries and have $0 dollars in all of my accounts until the next project comes through. It’s not a complaint, I’m simply painting the picture of how having to constantly stretch a dollar or lack there of, has affected me now that I’m bringing in consistent client work.
With less coming in at times, I’ve learned to find ways to keep my expenses as low as possible. And not to mention, I wasn’t saving money. Because I thought, that money needed to go towards my existing expenses. Period. And even when I tried to save, it was like something would pop up. Adulting, am I right?
And while I don’t subscribe to labels, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like nice things. I still like nice things. Really nice things: Like a manicure from Varnish Lane. Or a massage from The Still Point Spa. Skin Care products from Drunk Elephant and Fresh.
But Sis, I felt like I didn’t deserve any of this. I felt like spending $100 for a massage was a major stretch for me. Like, if I spend this $100 whose to say, I’ll make that $100 back? It’s $100! That’s groceries and metro fare money! And while these thoughts were running through my head, I was also saying to myself, “this is bullshit!”
The breaking point & shift
Then one month, projects expectant to close didn’t and financially left me in the hole. Sure things like this happens outside of your control. But it was like everything came crashing down all at once.
I felt disappointed and stuck.
And I realized I experienced these feelings over and over again throughout the years. It was almost as if shit was repeating itself, and I wasn’t getting off the wheel to fix it.
After a heart to heart with my friend/roommate, I decided to put my money affirmations where my mouth is. What’s the point of writing down aspirations like I’m a money magnet and then do ish like question if I’m deserving of, say a massage?
When I question purchasing quality items, regardless of their price point, what I was saying was I don’t deserve to treat myself and make myself feel good. When I don’t save money, I was saying to myself that I don’t deserve to save money for my future & freedom. Ouch.
When you frame it that way, it stings a little. It causes you to face your faults head on and it’s your time to decide if you’re going to change them or complain the next time something out of your control happens.
What I have to continuously do
Check My Mindset
Therefore, I have to constantly do a mental check. For me I have to constantly remind myself:
I am a money magnet
money comes to me freely
opportunities that bring life into me and my finances will find me.
I even have as a screensaver, “Tamera, I will restore what you have lost. - God”
I constantly want to be reminded that I will never be at a loss.
When I spend money on a massage or skin care products, that means I’m taking care of my vessel, the one body that I get on this earth. More importantly, I remind myself that I deserve this!
My hard work and hustle grants me the ability to pay for this massage or vacation to help me recharge and come back 100% for my friends, family and clients.
That also means, I’m doing a trade off analysis meaning not eating out or buying that one glass of wine grants me the money to get my massage. I pretty much make it a fun game of trade off. For example saving $20 means I avoided buying 5 lattes. It’s kinda competitive but hey, it works for me!
But in all seriousness checking my negative thoughts at the door is a constant process that I’m reminded to do everyday.
Saving needs to be a habit, not an afterthought
The tough love part of me is saying to myself: I can’t make the excuse that income fluctuates as why I do not save money. We’re older and we (I) gotta do better. Period. As I said earlier, not saving means I don’t care about my future or my freedom. And the reason why I’m in this entrepreneurship game is for freedom!
So, before I pay a bill, before I pay for anything, I’m taking 10-20% off top for savings. Period. I used to think $20 was measly, like what’s that? But that $20 adds up. Then all of the sudden you have $1000 in your savings account.
There will come a time when I’ll be invited to a conference or group trip, and I want the luxury to say yes or even no, but not because financially I can’t, but because I have the choice to say no.
Having the freedom to say yes or no as I please is a huge motivating factor for becoming more fiscally responsible. On a deeper level, financial brokenness will end with me.
Disclosure & Wrapping Up
I think it’s fair to say or at least I’ll say it that while I’m not in a place I’d want to be, that I’m in a position to be able to change my story in real time. I have a strong support system but more importantly, the will to change my surroundings one day at a time. Some may say you’re 32 what took you so long, others may congratulate and say this is only the beginning. You cannot determine when someone’s breaking point moment will happen. It isn’t your place to.
I want to encourage you, wherever you are in your journey to give yourself grace. There may come a time where you may lose momentum or “fall off the wagon”. Don’t let various moments of falling negate your progress. I tell people all the time, that if I stopped when one person told me no or asked for a refund, I wouldn’t be here now. I wouldn’t be sharing my gifts with the world. Don’t be that person. You deserve more than that.