One of the interesting things that I see as a personal finance coach supporting black women regain control of their finances is that these women are in debt or have bad credit , not because they are poorly compensated and, as a result, have to resort to charging basic necessities on their credit cards, but because they have money management issues.
They don’t suffer from an income issue per se, they suffer from a spending issue. And what’s also funny about this phenomenon is that the spending issue doesn’t necessarily come from purchasing big, luxurious, expensive items. It’s from constantly purchasing small purchases that offer little in value.
In one of our recent session, a client of mine had the revelation that she suffers from a bad disease that plagues her financial health called “It’s only- itis.”
The “It’s only-itis” is one of the many ways that professional women of color nickel and dime themselves into poverty. “It’s only $7.99.” “It’s only 6 bucks.” This spending syndrome will always delay the meeting of savings goals and will always erode net worth. Always.
How to Overcome The “It’s Only-itis” Syndrome
The cost of “it’s only” purchases certainly add up and work against any chance creating financial normalcy, let alone building wealth. To empower you to transform your financial future from one of financial dis-ease to one of financial certainty and stability, follow these tips:
1. Set financial goals that you love. When you have financial goals that you love and believe are achievable, it becomes easier to align your spending habits to your financial goals. This means you really understand your larger “why.” Why are you saving? Why are making deliberate money moves? What will your finances look like in six months, nine months, twelve months from now?
2. Understand the fleeting feelings of euphoria that come with spending. When you see something that you love and you buy it, you may feel great, maybe even AMAZING…in that moment. The rush of power, beauty, control, and centeredness leaves you as soon as you’ve worn or used that item. You’ll be on the prowl for your next spending fix soon enough if you don’t fully understand that it’s a losing battle for your finances and your emotions.
3. Whenever you get the feeling to spend, do the opposite. I’ve learned this trick and find it to be ingenious: Everytime you want to buy something that is not in your budget, put that money in your savings.
4. See money beyond its current value. We never really look at the potential of each dollar that we use. We see a bag for $400, take out the money, and leave the money with the business, and walk away with an item that depreciates. But if you think about the potential life cycle of that $400, if invested in a high-performing stock, a mutual fund, or slow-and-steady bond over 5, 10, or 15 years at an 8%, you’ll gifted with a lot more than $400 and a leather bag. That’s called having your work for you.
There are many of us digging our way deep into the master bedroom of the poorhouse because our spending. But the good new is that we have the power to change our financial destiny if we take consistent action now.
Frugal Feministas- Am I being too harsh? Are there some of us with money management issues and not income issues? What are some other strategies you can offer to keep you out of the poorhouse?