Emotional Spending

“Money is a tool, not a baby. Don’t have feelings about it.”
This is from a recent sermon concerning things my dad taught me about money.
My dad was a funny sort, he told me one time “Son, if I get you a gift and you turn around and sell it the next day I won’t care. It’s yours. Do what you want with it.”
It wasn’t until I left his house and entered this strange world that I realized how unusual that sort of thinking was. Turns out – most people who give a gift have strings attached. That took a while getting used to.
If money is just a tool, why do we feel so much emotion when the topic of our spending comes up? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t worry about money and whenever someone comes to us for counselling we just assume it will be one of the topics that come up, but is that the way it’s supposed to be?
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University changed our lives several years ago and we’ll likely be offering it next Fall in Venue Groups because of its potential to shift families and people into the financial safety we all desire, but we have to start thinking differently about money.
Imagine walking up to a farmer crying in the middle of his field during harvest time because his crop didn’t come up? We would feel his pain and fear immediately, and a great deal of pity for his family.
Naturally the question “What kind of seed did you sow?” Would come up…
Our pity would land around the 0% mark if the answer was “I didn’t sow any seed in this field”.
Oh, we might pity his family because the farmer is an idiot and put them in harm’s way, but our tolerance of him feeling sorry for himself would evaporate.
No seed, no harvest. Money is seed.
I’m not saying that there are no surprise bills in life and your car won’t break down, but that’s what emergency funds are for! If we haven’t prepared for it isn’t it our own fault?
I can already feel pushback from the reader because of the emotion we feel when the weight of surprise bills hit us. They’re hard on our marriages and they’re hard on our relationships. But what would life be like if we never worried about money again?
In a recent sermon I asked for a show of hands of people who have never worried about money. No hands. The funny thing is, every person in the auditorium earns a different amount of money, so that’s obviously not the problem.
What is it then?
The secret to handling money well is that we must remove emotion from it! It’s not a baby, it’s just money! Stop having feelings about it and stop feeling sorry for yourself when you spend more than you make!
“My Budget” is the sermon title this week, but I already know that it will be a hot topic. Why? Because we think we’re rational when we’re actually emotional. “You don’t have the right to talk about my money! I’m good with money! It’s my husband you should talk to!” And on and on..
Every purchase we make has a reason, but that doesn’t mean it was in our budget or should be in the first place. I can always tell my more ridiculous spends because they have more reasons wrapped around them.
Money is a tool and does what you tell it to. I think proper spending begins in a place where we put numbers on paper and try to add them up to what we actually earn. Anything outside of what we can afford (or SHOULD afford) then becomes an emotional spend, and we all have them.
I knew a woman whose emotional spends were vegetables. We were camping with them and I said I was going to town and asked if she needed anything? Her response? “Vegetables! We’re almost out!”
I made the mistake of actually checking the tiny trailer fridge and, to my surprise, there were 13 different types of vegetables in it already! (Most of which rotted before we could eat them)
It’s funny the things we spend money on that make us feel secure until we’re out of money, which makes us feel really insecure…
If money is a tool and not a baby, I need to quit having feelings about it and put it to work.
Imagine a fat, lazy, love-child called Emotional Spending sitting on your couch eating your chips day after day? Time to have a baby called If It’s Not In My Budget I Don’t Buy It!
With all respect, hopefully government was reading too:)

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