Picture creditWelcome to 2018, Friends! Have you made any New Year resolutions? I haven't. That's right. I haven't. There's something about new year resolutions that feel so immediate, but temporary, not something that is sustainable or something that one can start and build up gradually overtime. I feel that in order to make a change... for good... old habits have to be broken down, while new habits are slowly created and improved upon. My money-saving mindset did not - voila! - magically happen overnight... in fact, it's very much a work in progress and always will be.
Although not always good at it, my money-saving mindset started when I was young. I would watch my dad clip coupons for groceries from the Sunday newspaper, then eventually, I'd be the first to snatch up the pages of coupons to cut out. We didn't necessarily need to cut out coupons and use them at the grocery store, but we did. I began to understand how much fun it was to get something for less money. Over 30-odd years, this has developed into not only my love for and utter thrill at finding a bargain, but wanting to share this love and thrill with you!
Perhaps you're thinking, "Lauren, doesn't saving money leave you with feelings of deprivation or inadequacy?" My answer: No, not at all. In fact, the more money I don't spend, the more money I get to keep to myself or use for something else. Makes sense, right?
But honestly, sometimes I do feel a little inadequate when I see lovely cars driving down the road while I drive my 11-year-old Vauxhall Vectra, or when I see others wearing lovely clothes and mine are pretty basic and either a hand-me-down or purchased at 60% off somewhere. But you know what, I then quickly remind myself that there's absolutely nothing wrong with driving a perfectly good, safe Vectra or wearing hand-me-downs. I have enough.
Just a little bunny trail here - I listen to podcasts as often as I can (they're FREE!) as they are so informative and encouraging. My favourites, by the way, are Primal Potential with Elizabeth Benton (healthy lifestyle), Dave Ramsey (finance), Retire Inspired with Chris Hogan (finance), Life Money Hope with Chris Brown (Christian finance) and Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth (Christian).
I listen to pretty much every single Primal Potential podcast and learn amazingly wonderful things from Elizabeth Benton about nutrition, exercise and mindset. But Podcast 429 titled "My Personal Mantra & 2018 (please listen here) I listened to 3 times (and now a fourth time to write this blog). Three times! Elizabeth discusses a book she read and had reflected on called The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist and from which she quoted a couple of pages. Did I mention that I listened to this podcast three times?! It had that big of an impact on me.
Elizabeth quotes, "...and for many of us, our first thought is 'I didn't get enough sleep', the next one is 'I don't have enough time'. Whether true or not, that thought of "not enough" occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours in the days of our lives complaining or worrying about we don't have enough of. We don't have enough time. We don't have enough rest. We don't have enough exercise. We don't have enough work. We don't have enough profits. We don't have enough power. We don't have enough wilderness. We don't have enough weekends. Of course we don't have enough money... ever. We're not thin enough. We're not smart enough. We're not pretty enough or fit enough, educated or successful enough or rich enough... ever. Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we're already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what we didn't get, or didn't get done that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that revelry of lack. This manta of "not enough" carries the day and becomes a kind of default setting for thinking about everything. From the cash in our pockets, to the people we love or the value of our own lives. What begins as a simple expression of the harried life or even the challenged life, grows into the deep justification for an unfulfilled life. It becomes the reason we can't have what we want or be who we want to be. It becomes the reason we can't accomplish the goals we set for ourselves, the reason our dreams can't come true, or the reason other people disappoint us. The reason we compromise our integrity, give up on ourselves or write off others. We live with scarcity as an underlying assumption. It's not that we necessarily experience a lack of something, but scarcity, as a chronic sense of inadequacy about life, becomes the very place from which we think and act and live in the world. Through that lens, our expectations, our behavior and their consequences become a self-fulfilling prophecy of inadequacy, lack and dissatisfaction.
"In the mindset of scarcity, our relationship with money is an expression of fear. A fear that drives us in an endless and unfulfilling chase for more, or into compromises that promise us a way out of the discomfort around money."
Elizabeth goes on to explain the parallel between money and overeating... "the desire for more... more... more." She continues to quote, "When you LET GO of trying to get more of what you don't really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have."
Elizabeth then chats about an exercise in journaling (which I have really haven't gotten the hang of myself) and has asked herself, "What do I not need more of? And where do I act as if I don't have enough? Where do I act as though I need more?" She answers what she doesn't need more of, "Food, sugar, alcohol, television, money, stuff. Whether that stuff is clothes, coffee mugs, tech accessories, books." For me, it's very similar things. I, too, don't need more food or sugar, bath towels(!), cooking equipment, stuff... ugh! I have too much stuff! Kids' toys, markers and pens, dust (ha!).
Where do you feel like you don't have enough? I have been thinking of the word "enough" since I first listened to the podcast last week. I have enough. I feel fulfilled. I don't need more. *BAM!* It was a total light bulb - no, EXPLOSION moment!
I have enough.
I have enough food - my fridge and freezer are crammed full. My cupboards won't fit another can/tin or box. Look at me! I am no skinny mini! I hardly need more food than I need.
I have enough friends - I don't need more friends. I don't even nurture the friendships I have with amazing friends who are spread around the globe.
I have enough money - we are able to pay our bills, put food on the table, keep warm and dry.
I have enough time - hey, we all have the same 24 hours.
I have EVERYTHING I need. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
I have enough.
This is my 2018 mantra: "I have enough." I have noticed already that a few thoughts of inadequacy were quickly diminished when I recited my mantra to myself. I am really looking forward to exploring how this impacts my decisions regarding money, my continued progress to lose weight and my life in general and will share these experiences with you this year. Take care, Friends.