Cure overspending in three steps
Many people have problems with money. British households now owe an average of £54,000 which is an increase from £29,000 a decade ago. According to a report by the Centre for Social Justice, 5,000 people are made homeless each year due to a failure to meet mortgage payments.
Undoubtedly, the rising cost of living and the pressure to consume are partly to blame but problems with money are often related to emotional issues as well as economic ones.
At one end of the spectrum, there is compulsive spending facilitated by the credit card and its frequent consequence - a scary debt burden. At the other end, there is the skinflint attitude to money when a person (however affluent) can't bear to part with money, will wear worn out clothes, eat out of date food or struggle with buying a gift. As a hypnotherapist, both these stressful and undeserved conditions are, in my eyes, intimately interconnected.
Why do we have emotional problems with money?
It is not money itself, but what money represents that matters. By 'treating' ourselves to smart clothes and high end cosmetics when the cupboards are already full to bursting, we may try to make up for a childhood where perhaps we didn't feel quite loved enough or got quite enough attention. Unconsciously, we are looking to buy ourselves love but it can't be found at the shop counter.
At the other end of the spectrum, even when the bank balance is a shining glory, we may find it hard to be fair to ourselves and eat quality food, update an old pair of shoes or replace a worn out mattress. This also may derive from early experiences when love seemed scarce and hard to get enough of and we concluded unconsciously, with child understanding, we were not worth being loved or being cared for. That old thinking can linger on, ingraining and causing more pain as we age, and attracting the criticism of others who dismiss the problem, wrongly, as 'meanness'.
Parents are not necessarily to be blamed. Many people with money problems had deeply loving, caring and unselfish parents but the parental capacity to be fully nurturing is affected by many factors, including ill health, poverty or just sheer bad luck.
If your early experience is still ruling you, you can break out of the spiral and live comfortably and safely with money. Try these tips:
1. Use cash rather than cards
Cash has an impact on the unconscious mind which thinks literally. In the past, before we had banks, gold was stored in great chests and when a wealthy person moved to a summer residence for example, the entourage carried the money chests for him or her. These messages are still powerful in our unconscious.
The more we can see money, count it physically and feel its weight (those bulging notes in the wallet for instance) we unconsciously want to preserve it. In addition, the connection between what we had to do to get this money (i.e. work hard/expend life energy) and what we are getting for it (a new pair of shoes, a magazine) is much more impactful. Cash is a reality check and when we use actual cash rather than 'virtual' money, we are far less likely to buy now and regret later.
2. Do one nice thing each day for yourself which does not involve a purchase
Take a little time to think about what that could be. Interestingly, you may find this new habit involves spending time rather than money. Let yourself to watch the sun go completely down, listen to the whole of a CD without trying to do anything else, watch a film or read a book you loved in childhood - maybe with a loved one such as a grandchild. This will break the over strong association in your subconscious mind between spending money and creating happiness.
3. Get into good money routines and habits
Create a schedule, say one day per month, for getting on top of the money mountain and do it simply, step by step. Make the occasion for paying bills or checking the bank statements pleasant, by listening to relaxing music or having a favourite, light hearted radio programme on in the background. This will create the associations in your unconscious mind that checking your finances is restful and become a subconscious magnet, subtly enabling you to face money facts, rather than putting your head in the sand. You will also nip any problems in the bud, and save yourself lots of money over the year.
Take this good habit to the next level by opening a savings account and saving a small amount each month. You will soon start to earn interest, which is being given extra money for doing nothing. Decide what you will name that savings account, as this will impact on you unconsciously every time you look at it. 'Security for my future' is far more powerful to the mind than 'savings.'
If you feel your problems with money are still concerning you, why not consider consulting a hypnotherapist? Even just a few sessions with a professional hypnotherapist can make so much difference, as they can use powerful visualisations and other psychological techniques to get you out of that destructive rut even faster. Take time to choose the right one for you and check testimonials.
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About Marian Barry
Marian Barry is an advanced clinical hypnotherapist practising at the Harley St Hypnotherapy Clinic London and Gt Abington, Cambridge. She has given talks at international conferences around the world specialising in personal change and confidence building. She is a best selling author of many popular works published by Cambridge University Press.