Between outrageous gas prices, job insecurities and a slowing economy, finances, or a lack thereof, are on many people's minds. As a result, close to two out of three Americans said they planned to reduce indulgent spending in 2008, according to a survey by HSBC Bank USA. Another four out of five people said they wanted to increase the amount they save this year.
Yet saying you want to reduce spending, and actually doing it, can be two entirely different things.
“Cutting back -- even in times when money is tight -- can be a difficult thing to do for most of us,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. “This is because most of us, at least to some degree, are spending to try to get away from uncomfortable feelings.”
Indeed, from “having to have” your daily Starbucks or two to “needing” to drive to the store versus walk, consider just how much of your spending is emotionally based. Aside from sorting out the basic “wants” versus the “needs,” spending can be triggered by a laundry list of feelings like:
- Low self-esteem
- Having a really bad day
One study by Jennifer Lerner, Ph.D., director of the Emotion and Decision Making Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, even found that people are willing to spend more money after watching a depressing movie, compared to a revolting or neutral one.
“It’s also common that out of insecurity or lust we will buy things that we don’t need or which we already have too much of,” Dwoskin says.
So imagine what would happen if you took control of your emotional spending -- the expensive dinner you treat yourself to on Saturday nights, the 52” high-definition TV you “deserve,” the regular manicure and pedicure you “have to have” for work. Your living expenses would go down, just like that.
Getting to the Bottom of Emotional Spending
Obviously a splurge at your favorite clothing store after a fight with your spouse is an example of emotional spending. But it can occur much more subtly than that. Impulse buys at the grocery store, for instance, can add up big-time if you’re not careful.
So how can you cut back without feeling like you’re giving everything up?
“The best way to manage a tight budget is to allow yourself to release your lust and fear,” Dwoskin says. “As you allow yourself to release the feelings that are motivating you to purchase things that you may not need you will find yourself more able to simply get what you do.”
Releasing the self-sabotaging feelings of fear and lust is well within your ability when you learn The Sedona Method. The best part is that no matter what's going on with the economy, once you master the process of releasing, you'll have the financial security you crave.
“Another thing that you can do to support yourself on a tight budget is to allow yourself to cultivate the inner feeling of ‘I have enough,’” Dwoskin says. “When you come from the feeling of “enough,” good things happen. You feel more satisfied with whatever you do have and you also can have more of what you truly need and desire.”
So the next time you’re about to give in to a whim and buy something you really don’t need, ask yourself the three questions that make up The Sedona Method. You’ll feel the urge to spend emotionally melt away, replaced by a feeling of financial freedom that’s truly priceless.