If you've been following my blog, you've learned that overspending is a form of buffer, and you know how to identify whether or not you are doing it. Think about the last few purchases you've made...maybe the most recent item of clothing or shoes you bought. What happened right before you clicked buy? Did you find yourself unconsciously browsing through the latest Nordstrom sales online? Did you walk every single aisle at Costco?
Today I want to dive into the role of desire in the never-ending cycle of overspending, not following your budget, and not meeting your savings goals.
Let's face it. As a society, the verb "to buy" is well used. As I write this, I notice my mental note of things I need to buy and add to my list this week.
We can all agree that "living" costs money. Think of the last time you moved and googled the cost of living in that city. When we talk about our basic needs, I think we can replace "air, water, and food" for "air, water, and money." Unless you are growing and raising your own food supply, money is what pays for all your essential needs.
But because we are human beings, we don't seem to stop spending money when our basic needs are met. The reason why we don't stop there is because we are capable of feeling DESIRE, and as a society, we have embraced norms and rules of what is expected of us and believe things like:
You should wear the latest fashions.
You should upgrade your phone when the new iPhone comes out.
You should go on a nice vacation at least once a year.
You should own a new car, preferably a luxury brand.
You should enroll the kids in after-school activities.
You should go out to eat on the weekends.
You should live in a house large enough, so the children have their own bedroom and a playroom, and let's not forget the home office.
Even though all these "shoulds" may cause you to feel terrible at this moment, these are the messages we are constantly receiving. We see very enticing ads everywhere! Do you ever find yourself desiring all or some of these things? Why do you think we desire them?
Desire is something that we have learned. We often think that desire hits us all of a sudden, and we have no control over it, or we think that it's innate...as if we were born with it. We either desire that new pair of shoes or we don't. As if we had no choice over the matter.
The opposite is true. We have programmed our brains to feel desire. In essence, we have told ourselves that we want these things numerous times, and because our brain likes to be efficient, it delegated those thoughts to our unconscious. It's no different than when you first learned how to brush your teeth. You don't even have to think about how to do it today. It's automatic. The same plays out with desire and the thoughts that create them. Our brain does such an excellent job at being efficient. This is why when we see something like the newest Lululemon Leggings displayed on their retail store window, we immediately feel the desire as if it had taken over us.
The good news is that you are not out of control. You have simply programmed yourself to DESIRE. And guess what, this started when you were a very young girl...maybe when your mom bought you that beautiful doll you wanted so badly.
I'm hoping that if this is a new concept for you, that you can exercise some empathy towards yourself and remove labels you might have adopted, such as "shopaholic or shopping addict." Unless the habit of overspending has catastrophic consequences and prevents you from functioning in your life, the only label you should keep is the "I am a Human Being" label.
You are simply a human who has unconsciously programmed herself to feel desire automatically.
I hope you are a little closer now to answer the questions you might have asked yourself in the past, such as:
Am I just completely irresponsible with my finances?
Why do I feel so out of control when I'm at Costco?!
Why can't I stay within my budget?
Why did I buy that pair of shoes when I told myself I wasn't going to?
Why did I spend more money than I wanted to?
The answers to all these questions go back to how you trained your brain to think and therefore feel desire.
Now that you know this about yourself, please don't beat yourself up over it. Yes, you were the programmer; you created this unconscious pattern of behavior. But just as you created it, you can "uncreate" it. You can learn to desire less and eventually feel no desire for these things. Imagine walking by the window of Lululemon and not even feeling the urge to stop and look. Or you may look, and not have the desire to buy it. This idea may seem unimaginable to you right now, but it is possible!
I promise you that we are equipped with a super powerful brain and the same way your brain got you where you are right now, it can also get you out of there and redirect you to a life where you intentionally buy what you planned to buy and stop the overspending cycle once and for all.
If you are tired of overspending and its negative results and you are ready to tackle this habit and start saving towards your next financial goal, click here to schedule a mini session where we'll explore where you are now, where you want to go and what is keeping you from getting there.
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