Let me share a perspective. I see Money as a friend. The more care and respect you treat them with, the more they will stick around. If you don’t appreciate Money or completely ignore them, they will run away from you.
Money of itself is not dirty. It’s the concepts around Money that might put you off or make you feel greedy or a bad person for wanting more of it.
Why is it important to make friends with Money?
Money has super powers – it gives you options. Money can take you places. It gives you freedom and peace of mind to create the rest of your life the way you want it.
Money is everywhere, it’s abundant. It is like energy, it’s never lost. But how can you make so that more of it lands on your promises?
It’s easy. Ask yourself what you usually do to maintain and develop a good relationship with a friend. You catch up regularly, you spend time together, you have projects/activities in common, you have fun times together. You accept their flaws and cheer them up in bad times. You are there for them and they’re there for you. You can rely on them anytime, you can call them in the middle of the night and they will be there for you.
Here is an idea:
Set a recurring date with Money
Book a time slot for you and Money. Money is your pal. Set a recurring event in your calendar. I usually do it once a month. Every quarter I do a longer session. Set a reminder about it a few days in advice.
Chris Guillebeau calls it the “Mo’ Money Day” in his Born for this book. His original idea is to spend a block of time on brainstorming things you can do to improve your current cash flow. The purpose is to make more money. I build on top of it, adding the very important element of reconnecting to what Money can bring in your life. There are experiences and emotions Money can create for you – why not connect with them in the first place? This answers your “Why” and fuels up your motivation.
There’s a magic of setting an intention in your mind. In this whole month, your mind will work for you in the background – scanning the terrain and analyzing opportunities. You will notice and remember an article on investing, you will spot a potential partner for a business venture, or a thing you would like to own/experience for yourself. It’s almost automatic. Once you put the initial framework in place, your mind will take over. You just need to show up.
Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen
Tips on how to date Money
You won’t need to do all of these things every month. For some though it’s crucial that you keep repeating until they become a habit.
What to do before the date
- Prepare as if you would meet an actual friend. Dress up smartly, put on perfume and/or makeup. It might sound stupid but it’s all about the intention. I got this idea from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic book which is tremendous by the way. She talks about treating creativity like a lover: sneak off alone whenever you can (‘You can get a lot done in 15 minutes, as any furtive teenager can tell you,’ she says). I apply this trick to Money.
Seduce your creativity (or Money). Get dressed up, light a candle, put on some lipstick, woo creativity (or Money) to come to you. – Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic
- Set your intention for the following couple of hours. Something in the lines of: “I am putting my financial life in order. This will give me clarity on where stand and power to take the next step”.
- Dedicate a limited interval of time. You don’t want to spend countless hours over bills and feel lost and overwhelmed. 3 hours should be enough as a start.
- Switch your phone off and get into the mood.
- Make a plan for the day (what tasks to perform).
What to do on the date
- Track down all your personal monthly expenses and the household expenses. What happened in the previous month money-wise? What are your biggest expenses? Do you oversee a big expense coming up (car repair, dental bill, or a big unplanned purchase)?
- Audit your transactions – checking account, credit cards, PayPal, direct debits, purchases on Amazon, etc. Mistakes happen, scan for overcharging or some expenses that should not be there.
- Calculate and track your net worth.
- Remind yourself of your financial goals. If you don’t have goals yet, go ahead and define them. Saving for a big trip, paying off your mortgage or saving for a sabbatical year? Now it’s the time to face the truth. I will never get tired of repeating how important is to visualize those goals and track the progress.
- Look around for unused stuff that doesn’t bring joy. If you haven’t used it for 6 + months you should consider to getting rid of it – sell, donate, or trash it.
- Reevaluate and cancel unused services. Call your providers to see if they can offer better conditions.
- Brainstorm possible side income streams (a side hustle, anyone?)
- File your taxes
- Look at what you can automate – have you tried any expense tracking app, what options does your bank provide that you haven’t used yet? I use Toshl to track my expenses. I use automatic savings withdrawal every month.
- Look at your investments and rebalance them if needed. If you are not investing yet, see here how you can start.
Long-term relationship with Money
- Read a money book, watch interviews of people who you admire and who inspire you.
- Dream BIG. It’s a dream, why limit yourself? Remind yourself where you want to be in 5 years. Money for itself is just paper and abstract numbers in your online banking. What matters is what you are going to do with the money. How it will improve your life and the life of the people around you. A visualization board is a very powerful tool. Put there all pictures and concepts which resonate with you. You can use Pinterest as well.
- This is a very important one: Choose an item/activity which you will spend your money on and will give you great pleasure. Money is there to be enjoyed and to be appreciated. There is much more of it from where it comes, so treat yourself to a spa treatment, to new running shoes or a fancy dinner with a loved one. As long as it’s once a month, it will enhance your life without exhausting your bank account.
- Write down your doubts, limiting beliefs, concerns, fears, etc. Are they realistic? Is there anything you can do about them?
- Pick a money/success mantra/goal for the upcoming month. In the initial stages of putting in shape my finances, a regular goal was to reduce to a minimum the money I spend for lunch by packing my own healthy food.
An example of a mantra is: “Today is a delightful day. Money comes to me in expected and unexpected ways.” or “I deserve the best, and I accept the best now”. Thanks, Louise Hay for the affirmations.
Do you remember when you were a child? You spend countless hours dreaming and making worlds up? This is what you need to start doing again. Life’s responsibilities are catching up with you but you can fight back. Set time and space aside for recalibrating your compass and making sure you are sailing in the right direction.
You are the captain, right?!