I never lacked anything in my life, but I lived a life of a poor person. Money was always an enemy I really wanted to make peace with, but I never could. In vain I always had enough to keep my head above the water, most even more than that, I still was always worried about it. Until I left the act of working behind and spent all my savings.
Friend from enemy
Since I stopped worrying about money – not because I have so much I can swim in it, but because the fear that accompanied it before is no longer there, my days are much more balanced. Of course, I still get the occasional ball in my throat when I think about what will be in the future…but I get over it quickly, because it only poisons the present. Today I still watch how much I spend and on what, but I hated to spend money while feeling guilty. I didn’t want money, or the lack of it to be associated with negativity.
So now the money that I do have is spent carefully and evenly into the essentials and fun. Because if I only buy essentials, spending all my savings was for nothing. Fun is just as much a priority, it makes me very happy. This is why I didn’t go crazy on saving once I started having a monthly income again because I learned that even if I have $200 or $600 for a month, I will always make sure the essentials are provided, but they don’t make me happy. What do I enjoy?
I love traveling, trying new things, eating new food, seeing new destinations, learning…etc. So it wasn’t painful to buy the expensive flight ticket to Guatemala and pay for 2 weeks on immersion Spanish school. I love to learn about myself while being exposed to the unknown. The truth is I never lacked fun in my life, but I aggressively limited it, and if I did spend on it, I felt very guilty because I thought I should be saving the money instead.
For me, this was one of the most challenging blocks. To love to spend my money and not to beat myself up when I do. If the shopping was more expensive so what, if I got myself something I liked but didn’t badly need, so what.
Where did my bad relationship with money start?
While growing up, my family sometimes had enough, sometimes didn’t. I watched my parents to provide my sister and me everything a kid needed, while they didn’t buy anything for themselves. Just when I started to understand the concept of money, the crises hit my family. I will never forget that chilling feeling creeping down my back when my dad told me, we have to move away from the capital, since we no longer can afford living there. I was a teen, the city was everything I cared about, my life, my friends, everything was there. We ended up staying because my parents took yet another job. My dad saved the family time and time again, but as I write these words, I can feel that chill brushing up against me.
Still, I didn’t lack anything. My parents were the rock stars of keeping the family above the water. But I think this is why I started working really young, taking weekend jobs here and there, just to take some weight off the family’s shoulder. This was not a conscious decision back then. Now I see that the period of understanding money was linked to a negative experience, so a block or fear towards it was born.
I was just about to turn 20 when I left home to work as a flight attendant in Belgium. Due to a clerical error, I didn’t get paid for 2 months, so I was poor, hungry and homeless (I didn’t have a room in the house I was living in). I literally spread my wings for the first time, but life decided to challenge my relationship with money yet again. So after a rough start, it didn’t get any easier to enjoy my salary. I was always under the stress of money flowing away from my life. Again, I never lacked anything to the most extreme but was terrified that one day I will.
I earned it, I spend it
Everyone has the right to spend their hard earned money as they please. Some will choose to save it all, some will spend it all. Personally, I decided to park somewhere in the middle. Spend it until it feels great, save where it no longer does. But there is no question about spending when I want adventures. Let the party begin!
The point is that I no longer save out of fear. I save because I choose to, and I calculate how much I spend. My goal is not to have much left at the end of the month as possible, but to spend the money well and to never forget to invest in fun I love to do the most. I’m not afraid of what will happen if one day I want a house, what if I never want one…then I will sell a kidney, a lung will dance on the street…I will figure it out. To this point I overcame any challenge life threw at me, I have no reason to question my ability to reach a goal and to solve a problem. This approach is not a guarantee, it’s just a life insurance.
I inherited this gift from my father, just didn’t know how to use it before. I can feel that my inner work with money is not done yet, but at least it makes me feel very happy when I spend it on all the fun that makes me happy.