Exploring the psychology behind your “scary number” and learning how to take control of your spending habits
I had an interesting conversation at the weekend with someone who was having a complete block over spending £1,000 on something which would improve her flat. When we delved into it she had no qualms about spending £100 at a time, and she was definitely doing that regularly on things that meant a lot less to her.
This topic sparked a lot of comment so I thought I’d ask do you have a specific number that triggers your inner alarm bells? It’s important to recognise that we all have different levels of comfort when it comes to spending, and understanding our own “spending limits” can help us make better financial decisions.
I want to make it clear that I’m not encouraging anyone to go on a wild shopping spree to test their limits. Instead, let’s take a moment to reflect on any subconscious spending brakes we might have and how they impact us.
The Hidden Impact of Spending Limits
We all have different levels of comfort when it comes to spending. However, sometimes our subconscious spending limits might be holding us back from making decisions that truly align with our values and long-term goals. For instance, we might be hesitant to invest in something we genuinely need while simultaneously splurging on smaller, less significant items.
Understanding our personal spending limits can empower us to break through these barriers and make more rational financial choices.
Uncovering Your “Scary Number”
To start off with, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a certain amount that makes you uncomfortable to spend all at once?
- Do you find yourself spending smaller amounts more frequently to avoid the stress of a big purchase?
- How do these spending patterns influence your overall financial goals?
Reflecting on these questions will provide valuable insights into your spending habits and help you identify any subconscious limits that might be affecting your financial decisions.
Awareness: The Key to Unlocking Better Financial Decisions
Once you’ve pinpointed your “scary number” and the patterns associated with it, the next step is to become more aware of how these habits impact your financial life. Are your spending limits preventing you from making investments that could improve your quality of life or help you reach your long-term goals?
By understanding your spending behaviours, you can make more informed choices that better align with your values and aspirations.
Practical Tips for Overcoming Your Spending Limits
Here are a few tips to help you break through your subconscious spending brakes and take control of your financial decisions:
- Set clear financial goals: Establish short-term and long-term financial goals that align with your values. This will give you a sense of direction and help you prioritise your spending.
- Create a budget: A well-planned budget can provide the structure needed to make more rational spending decisions. Allocate funds for necessary expenses and savings and determine how much you’re comfortable spending on discretionary items.
- Reframe your mindset: Instead of focusing on the immediate discomfort of a big purchase, think about the long-term benefits it might bring. This can help you overcome the fear associated with your “scary number.”
- Take small steps: Gradually increase your spending limit by making slightly larger purchases over time. Look for the evidence that it is ok and fits in with your vision and that you have allocated money for it. This can help you become more comfortable with spending larger amounts without triggering your subconscious brakes.
- Practicing mindfulness and intentional spending can help you feel in the driving seat of your money decisions.
By identifying our “scary number” and understanding the spending patterns associated with it, we can take a more proactive approach to our financial lives. Becoming aware of our subconscious spending limits enables us to make more informed decisions and align our spending habits with our values and goals.
Don’t be afraid to confront your spending limits and dig in to where it might be coming from. Remember, small changes in spending behaviour can lead to significant progress in achieving your financial goals.
So, what’s your “scary number”? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. If you’d like to tune in to your relationship with money and spending patterns, then why not order my journal to improve financial well-being here. To find out more ways to work with me click here.