If you’re looking to manage your finances better the place you need to start is in your mind. Now, this might sound like strange advice given the practical and tangible nature of money, yet money management is not all practical – it’s a highly emotional process, as the way we spend and manage our money is often dictated by the emotional side of our brain rather than the logical.
Indeed, there often appears to be a battle between the sensible and practical side of yourself that wants to save money and spend it wisely, whilst your emotional brain tends to indulge in impulse purchases and endeavours to satiate your feelings.
Therefore, it could be likened to a battle between your inner child and the adult, meaning the two components of people that have been accepted within popular psychology are at odds with each other. The inner child requires immediate satisfaction (picture a child in a sweet shop) whilst the adult is required to reign in this impulse with a view to providing long term financial stability and protection.
If you consider people that are in debt; the part of themselves that created a situation where they are now in debt was likely not to be from a logical place. Chances are, the debt was acquired to satiate the inner child’s desire for something – such as a nice car or experience… meaning, it’s often the inner child in the driving seat when it comes to making poor financial choices. Then, the adult is required to step in and clear up the mess.
In this sense, the adult part of yourself is the one that will be reviewing mortgage options and investigating websites such as FX-list.com to create long term financial stability whilst the child is the one more likely to be found purchasing items on eBay, late at night.
If you’re looking to manage your finances better, it must, therefore begin in your mind. The core challenge is keeping the inner children from managing your wallet or purse, almost putting a childproof lock on the purse strings, so that the adult is the one to make financial decisions.
This comes down to the popular concept in psychology of delayed gratification. You might have heard of the famous marshmallow experiment where children were told they could eat the marshmallow in front of them, or wait, and get two marshmallows as a reward. This concept of delayed gratification is tied in with impulse control.
Meaning, if you want to get better at money management, in addition to the practical steps and strategies required – you must first learn to reign in your impulses and ensure the adult is the one in charge of your finances rather than your inner child.
One of the best ways you can do this is to practice mindfulness which encourages you to connect with the present moment, stop, take a breath and evaluate why you are doing what you’re doing – in order to take more control of your spending habits.
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