My Relationship With Money

Have you ever thought about why you do the things you do with money? Do you value it different than your friends? Where do your money attitudes come from anyway?

I grew up in a middle American household. There were weeks when the money was tight and there were weeks when the money flowed a little more freely. I wonder how many times my mom would take me to the mall to shop for clothes and we would bee-line it to the sale rack. “You can fall in love with something on sale” was a typical statement. Or “wait a few weeks and if you still want it and it’s still here…” (meaning it will likely go on sale and if I still like it then it would be a good (not impulsive) purchase.

I divorced several years ago now. My ex was horrible with money. We had gotten ourselves in so much debt we were living in his parent’s basement. We didn’t have the money to pay our bills. We were in DEEP. After divorcing and being completely in charge of my own money – my attitude started to change. I got excited to see my savings account add up. I got excited about paying OFF my bills completely (I was following the Dave Ramsey plan – if you don’t know it. You should!) But I sort of became obsessed with it. I was working 4 jobs at one point (just so I get throw extra money at my debts), I had a precarious balance in my life between my kids and jobs. There really wasn’t time for anything else. I think that is the point. If I had not gotten myself in so much trouble with money in the first place – I would not have to spend this time now trying so hard to get out of it.

Having a bit more money (and no debt except house) has not made me a happier person (I was pretty happy all along). But I will say the less stress has made me a more fun person to be around. I have learned there is a lot you can do without a bunch of money.

On this journey I’ve learned that money is important but is not everything. Your relationship doesn’t have to make it be everything. If you are vigilant and pay attention to your money (hello budget) – you will have the time to pay attention to what really matters – family and friends. If you learned how to act with your money (from your parents, spouse or something else) you can unlearn that thought process too.

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