By now, most of you know that I approach ‘DIY’ from all angles – literal DIYs (building stuff), business DIYs (starting a business on my own), and well, let’s toss in another category called DIY self-improvement. I talk a lot about my journey towards being more mindful in all aspects of my life, from being a mother and wife, to entrepreneur, blogger and friend to all of you. One relationship I haven’t fully talked about is my relationship with money. Today, I’m going there and inviting you along with me. Why? Because fundamental to our mental health and happiness is a strong and honest relationship with money.
This February 28th, over on Facebook Live, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation is hosting a LIVE event so Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast can hear from experts and talk about the close ties between money and health and wellness. I feel like this is a conversation that needs to happen and cannot be ignored. Here’s the page where the event will happen. Click over, follow them and participate.
I have blogged about our journey to debt free before, but I’ve never really explained how that all made me feel. In fact, today as I write this, it’s hard for me to put myself in the shoes of ‘old Erin’; in debt up to her eyeballs, stuck working for ‘the man’, and not really understanding her own value and worth.
Debt is like one of those diseases that starts off as a small little thing and then, after a few years, it becomes a raging monster in your bank account, financial life, and in your MIND. The way we feel about ourselves when we carry a giant load of debt is tragic and insidious. We feel trapped. We feel unsafe. We feel insecure. Statistics actually show that people who constantly battle debt and financial worries are more susceptible to developing mental illness and depression. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Trust me, in October of 2017, when I committed to being self-employed, I was terrified. I had never NOT had a bi-weekly pay cheque in my life. And I knew going out in the world as a freelancer, I was going to contend with late cheques, non-payments and sporadic income. To be honest, I’m still wrestling with how to cope with all of that. Some days, I find I’m wrought with worry and I make decisions based on fear. You know what? Those decisions rarely end up being good ones. When I let my fear of debt and money rise to the surface of my mind, I don’t think clearly, my business doesn’t grow, my content doesn’t feel sincere, and I lose a bit of myself.
A reason I can afford to push that fear aside, is that I now have a decent relationship with money. Compared to ‘old Erin’ who spent money when she was stressed, new me drills down and becomes more focused on the present situation. Now I look at money as a tool I control. I get that the majority of people work their bums off to bring home a pay cheque that covers food and necessities. I mean, now that I’m on my own, weeks can go by where I don’t cash a pay cheque! But I still try to focus on what I’ve done and what I’ve built. I repeat to myself that I control the money.
Here are some of the ways I try to keep my wits about myself when it comes to my relationship with money:
- Each week, I break down what I spent and what I brought in and each week, I try to widen the spread between income and spending. Even if it’s increasing by only a few dollars, I let myself feel victorious. I remind myself that when I earn and save, I am in control and it really helps keep my fear at bay. (Side note: I don’t always make more than I spend.)
- I religiously keep and document my receipts for my business and our personal spending. Taxes are a huge stress for small business owners and can sink businesses that aren’t ready. I try my best to avoid that fear by being as well prepared as possible.
- I make sure the money I have saved for my business is in a safe, secure and insured account. Not to freak you out – but banks do fail. (Anyone remember Iceland circa 2008? How about the giant financial collapse in the States that fall? Ya. It happens.) Check out CDIC’s webpage for great tips on what to ask your bank about deposit insurance and info on understanding how it works.
I’m certainly not perfect and I definitely fail sometimes. I guess what’s important is that we just keep talking about this relationship we all have (that tends to get buried in the busyness of life).
So I really hope you’ll be able to make the Facebook Event next week on February 28th. If we all talk about this relationship a bit more, I believe we can do a better job at taming the fear, claiming our power, and regaining our health and sanity.
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