Regaining Control of Your Spending
Most of our spending is prompted by spending triggers. So in order to understand our money mindset, it's important to understand what your spending triggers are. Because you can't reset what you don't know. So, now we know what our life is costing us, and we're assessing those different costs in our life. But now let's get into those spending triggers. Because your spending triggers, no matter how, I could be the best financial teacher in the world. If your spending triggers are stronger than the knowledge that I teach you or stronger than your desire to follow the information that I've given you and the tools I've given you, then your spending triggers are gonna win. But we don't want them to win. And so, common spending triggers, are major life events, such as addition of a new family member, relocation, new residence, job promotion, celebrations, getting a dog, like getting a pet. That's a major life event, because you're changing the dynamic of your household, or you're changing yo...
ur life flow. Boredom, lifestyle change such as new diet, hobby, fitness goals. How many of us have picked up a new hobby and we just go buy everything needed for the hobby? Yeah. (laughing) Or you know, we decide we're gonna do a new diet, so you know I'm going keto. And your entire refrigerator, you have to throw out everything in your refrigerator and start over. But that's expensive. Or peer pressure. Peer pressure is also a common spending trigger. Time scarcity. So, in the last class, in the Ending Your Financial Sabotage class, we talked about how convenience is a trigger for many people. And I realized convenience was a trigger for me. Time scarcity works in two ways. Well, okay, so I have convenience up here. But time scarcity works in the way where in we see these items and it's like, for a limited time only. Or a store is going out of business. I can't be the only person who the store says they're going out of business, you go in there and buy a bunch of stuff, and then two weeks later it's under new management, but the store's not out of business. And so they use time scarcity in their play to our emotions with that. And then convenience. And so convenience is also a spending trigger for a lot of people. So, someone who might not ordinarily spend money out of boredom, might spend money out of convenience. And convenience is a spending trigger for them. And then panic. Panic is also a spending trigger, so in times of a natural disaster, or an impending storm. I know, so I'm from North Carolina, and it does not snow often in North Carolina. But when it does, and we have any indication that there's going to be snow, the supermarket aisle shelves, there's no bread. There's no milk, and it's like, those things are gonna spoil over time. But there's no bread and there's no milk and their panic sets in, and people make financial decisions based on panic and that triggers their spending. So, I would like you to think about what spending triggers are you most likely to be susceptible to. And that goes for you guys in the online audience. What spending triggers are you most likely gonna be susceptible to? Okay, so now we're gonna share back on this one. 'Cause I know all of us have a spending trigger. I cannot be the only person who has a spending trigger. So, we'll just start down the aisle so that it is equal. I'll start with you. Do you feel like you have one of these, or all of these? Or some of these?
A lot of them, so. Boredom, and relocation, I move a lot. So that one for me, I want new furniture for the new place. I'm eating out. And then anytime I'm at home and I'm just bored, I start online shopping a little bit.
Yeah, I mean, it happens.
Mine was lifestyle, fears, I'm like an empty nester, so it's all about having drinks and eating convenience.
For me, major life events really do it. I just moved and I just bought so much stuff. And then lifestyle changes, when I get into something, I get into it, all the way. I'm like zero or 100. (crowd laughing) Time scarcity, that one really effects me. If it's like limited edition or I think I'm gonna miss out. Then also the opposite on that one. If I usually don't have a lot of time, like myself, and then I suddenly do, I then have the time to spend. So it's kind of like the opposite of boredom. I don't know. And then convenience plays into all of those things.
And that makes a lot of sense. It's not necessarily boredom, but it's actually you have the time, like sometimes when you're working or you're on a project or something like that for work, or when you're in school and so forth. You don't have time to go out and spend any money. But then you, like I always say, if you put yourself in the store, you're gonna spend money in the store.
Right, like whenever I go on vacation. It's like, what happened? In addition to the cost of the vacation. Because I have like the leisure and the time to spend.
Exactly, yeah, that's a good one. That's a good trigger to have.
Mine was celebration and convenience. A lot of times the eating out if I don't feel like cooking or a celebration. I had a great week, yeah! Time to hit it up, you know, type deal. But yeah, those are my biggest triggers.
And so I've had to learn to celebrate in ways that don't involve money.
But that's good, and that's important because there are ways to celebrate that don't involve money. And it's great that you're shifting your mindset, think about what are the different ways that I can honor this moment, and show that I am grateful and happy that this moment occurred, without tying my finances to it. Or depleting my resources that I have available to me.
So I'm like 80% convenience, 'cause my life is on the go. So, it's all about convenience. And then major life events, because I am in the process of relocating and I'm always traveleing. And then, whenever there's family or friends or birthdays, I wanna do the most. And either throw a party or a dinner or a gift and I'm just, that'll be like instead of paying my tithes. (laughing) Go buy their gift or something, and like, how can I meneuver some stuff. So, those are the main things, those are my triggers.
And I think some of these are tied into our love language. I know that one of the things that I did with my husband, is that we did a love language activity. And that was eye opening. And also showed that we were slightly incompatible, because my main love language was receiving gifts, and that was his lowest one. (crowd laughing) He's like, I mean that's so contradictory, you're a financial educator, you like receiving gifts? But, sometimes it's the small things, and I think that a lot of times as we give gifts and we think about different things, especially celebrations. And we think about celebrating people and honoring people, we think that it's gonna cost us money. And sometimes it's just, people just want you to make time for them and to make them feel special. Make them feel appreciated. So as we think about what our triggers are, what are different things that I can do to address these triggers? And I love to see that we have an online community.
Yeah, so the specific one from Christian says is in app purchases and app subscriptions. So, you kind of get pulled in and you're like, yes! In that moment you feel like, I need to buy this subscription, I need to download this app and you know.
Yeah! I'm bad about that. We're going on a trip, I down link all the map apps and so forth. It happens to the best of us, guys.
Destiny says, convenience, boredom, sales, and new habits. And SN says, time scarcity and lifestyle change. Christine also says summer sales. And panic is another one that came up from JayPlovine online.
Got you. Thank you guys for sharing that. Because these spending triggers, when we think about spending triggers, they really are our barriers, they're hurdles between us and our financial success. So you know, major life events, the addition of a new family member, I mean, there's ways to cut costs around that. And oftentimes when we're spending money, we think about what the easiest thing to do is to spend money, so we spend money out of convenience. But, if you wanna purchase something for the family member, Facebook has a market place. You can ask people in your network. I know that I told my friend, I told my sister what I was having, because we're pregnant and we're expecting. I told her what I was having, she had a friend who had just recently had a baby, and was like, hey, your sister can have all this stuff. And that saved me money, that was a way of being more creative then saying, I have to go out and buy this, this, this, this and this. Relocation, it's kind of hard to save money on relocation. But you can, you can price services. When we relocated from New York to Los Angeles, I was able to go on what it essentially the Yelp of moving companies and get quotes from different moving companies and so forth to find the best price. Because while I had to spend money, it doesn't mean that I have to spend money without making the best decision for what makes sense for my budget. New residence, job promotion. One thing I always tell people about major life events, especially new residences and moving, is you don't have to do it all at once. Because a lot of people feel like, I moved into this apartment, now I have to decorate the entire thing. And no, you don't necessarily have to do that. So you don't have to do it all at once, you can do as your money allows you to. And job promotion. I see a lot of people you know, job promotion, they celebrate, they wanna go buy drinks. Or they want to go out with their friends. Or, if you were like I was before my found finance, I fell like if I started a new job I had to go buy new clothes for my new job. Even though those people in the job had never seen me in my clothes before. But I felt like I had to go buy new clothes. And so, really thinking about that, why am I buying this? Am I buying this for them or am I buying it for me? And celebrations. What are the different ways that you can celebrate people around you? Boredom, I encourage people, so we're gonna get into a few things that you can do to counteract boredom. But with lifestyle change, you don't have to do everything at once. And sometimes what I like to do, is I test myself on the concept. Because I'm that zero to 100 person. If I'm knitting this week, which I did start knitting a few years ago, I had needles in all sizes. I had different types of yarns, everything. I went all the way out. I had the round, the connect the needles. I had it all. And so, lifestyle changes, it's very easy to get sucked into that, instead of testing yourself to determine if it's something that you're gonna stay with. And that's what I do recommend, is do a little bit, see if you're gonna stay with it, then do a little bit more. Just continue to test yourself, and kind of reward yourself for staying with it, by investing in that hobby. Along the line, but now feeling like you have to go buy everything. And then before you know it, you know my father, maybe for about six months he was a cyclist. And so he had this expensive bicycle, he had all the gear and everything, and now it's just in the garage. And so you don't want to be that person. Peer pressure. Sometimes it is a matter of finding ways to tell your friends that their financial goals don't necessarily align with your goals. Or their entertainment goals, or their way of life don't necessarily align with your personal goals. And it is just coming up with that language or offering different suggestions, say hey, well financially, I'm planning to do this with my money, but I would love to spend time with you, could we do this instead? Time scarcity. That one does definitely come in, I mean sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the equation. So, for me, sometimes I do have to unsubscribe from certain email lists, or decide not to go into certain scenarios because I know that they're going to play to my emotions. And marketers are really good at this. So, when thinking about major life events, most people know that most people spend money when it comes to major life events. And marketing companies actually look for your spending, so these loyalty programs where you swipe the barcode to save money, they're also looking at what you're buying. And if you buy, you know, for the first time ever, if I go in and buy a baby onesie and Pampers, they're like, huh. Okay, let's look at what else she's buying, or if I buy a pregnancy book or something like that, it might indicate to them that me or someone in my family is expecting. So I know for sure that Amazon knows what's going on in my life. (crowd laughing) And then you'll start to see things popping up and so forth. So it's important to understand that marketers are really good at understanding what your triggers are, and getting you in those moments. And how do you create alternatives to that, or how do you look out for it so you can become a more mindful spender? And then convenience, that really is about being better with your time. If you have to meal prep ahead of time, if you have to give yourself more time to get some where. Or if you eat before you go out. So, one of the wealthiest women I know, she told me that she always eats dinner before client meetings. And she has a standard that she only orders shrimp cocktail and a side Caesar salad when she goes out to business meetings. And it saves her money because she eats ahead of time. And so, it's about her making sure that she doesn't purchase things out of convenience, or that you know I didn't eat, so I'm just gonna order the $50 or $60, or $100 meal, instead of something that might cost me 35, 15 to $35. And then panic. There's not really much we can do about panic, but it is one of the things I ask myself before I spend money out of panic, is what would happen if I didn't do this today? What would happen if I didn't make this purchase? What would be the worst thing that would happen? And a lot of times, when we're dealing with panic, we're in the worst case scenario instead of asking ourselves what would actually happen if I had to deal with this issue in particular? And one of the costliest triggers of them all, did I not include, is unhappiness. Unhappiness is the costliest, it's one of the silent triggers when it comes to our spending habits. And so, I actually asked the My Fab Finance audience on Twitter, I said, have you ever spent money on a thing or experience because you thought it would make you happier, yet unhappiness persisted? 87% say yes. And I know that they are not alone. I know that they're not the only people who have ever spent money on things that they thought would make them happy, but actually didn't. And that could be a person. You know, or it could be a particular item. So, I want you to answer this question. Those of you online and here. I am happiest when? There is not a correct answer to this. There is not a correct format to the answer for this. I just want you to answer this. What I do need to you to do, is answer this question three times. Because the first time is gonna be what comes to you initially. And the second time is gonna challenge you to dig a little deeper. And the third time is gonna challenge you to get to the actual core of what makes you happy. So, give yourself space to answer it three times. I'm happiest when blank. I'm happiest when blank, and then I'm happiest when blank. Do we have any responses rolling in from online?
Yes, so, I'm happiest when I save money. I'm happiest when I reach my goal, I'm happiest when I'm around my family.
Mmm. I love that somebody is happy about saving money! But what I mean, does that mean that you're putting money in a savings account, or does that mean you're getting 50% off at the store? 'Cause there's two different types of, there's levels of saving. I love that they boil down to I'm happiest when I'm spending time with my family. Because that doesn't cost us anything most of the time. Unless you have family that's out of time. Then you have to fly to them. But, you can always a phone call. You know, I think today, in today's day and age, a phone call is also spending time with family or carving out that time to reconnect.
Or a video call.
Or a video call, yeah. It gives you that time to reconnect and just to hear their voice. I know that sometimes when I hear family member's voice, that's all I need, is just that voice and it's having a conversation about something not related to what I'm dealing with. But, just reminiscing with them, or we're laughing with them, and hearing their laugh. My mother's laugh is one of my favorite sounds. I just love to hear her laugh, so. I would say for me, I'm happiest when I'm owning my time. I'm a person where I really like to do things in my own time. I'm happiest when I'm owning my time. I'm happiest when I'm with those who I love. And I'm happiest when I'm experiencing life how I feel like I was designed to experience life. See how I got deeper for me? It was like, oh okay. So, I would love to hear at least one of each of you's. One of each of you's, (laughs). Happy moments, as a share back.
So, my final one I ended up was, I'm happiest when I spend my time in a way that makes the most difference.
Well, traveling and experiencing new places and people.
I'm happiest when I'm being present and cultivating important relationships in my life, friends, family and others.
Mine is, I'm happiest when I'm being creative and thinking and also working on a new creative project.
And I'm happiest when I can take care of self.
Yeah, what about online, do we have some more happy moments?
So, Lottie had said, I'm happiest when I'm working productively towards a goal, or I'm watching baseball with my sister. (crowd chuckles)
I love it.
And also, Christian is saying, I'm happiest when I'm with my family, and family comes up a lot. Destiny as well, has said, I'm happiest when I'm seeing my family's faces and laughing and having time together.
You know what's funny? Not one person said I'm happiest when I buy a new pair of shoes? (crowd laughing)
Just as I scrolled down, Nessa said I'm happiest when my hair, nails and makeup are done at the same time. (crowd laughing) And my bills are all paid for the month.
Hey. But you know, we really do have to tap into what makes us happy. And a lot of times we spend money on things that we think make us happy. And it's reversing that money mindset that, our goal as human beings is to enjoy our experience, and money doesn't necessarily always have to be related to that experience. Sometimes it is. But overwhelmingly, I think that we saw that in these, it was just these little things that were based on human connection. And so when we feel like we're going to be more susceptible to spending money, I want you to think about what actually makes me happy. Like you said, your time makes a difference. It's not about, you know, buying that item on, I don't know, buying that item wherever you may see it. It might be in making a difference with your time, so what can you do to spend time making a difference instead of spending time spending money? And then cultivating relationships. And then experiences don't always have to cost money. It's important to challenge ourselves to rephrase what life means and what experiences mean. Because experiences could be going to a new neighborhood that you never explored. And you know, your surrounding area, your city. Or it could be taking a drive. Gas costs money, but it could be taking a drive somewhere, and just sitting and taking it all in, and allowing yourself to appreciate the environment the way that you never appreciated it before. And so, I hope that in that, you realize that things don't necessarily have to cost you money. And happiness doesn't necessarily have a cost, but it doesn't always have to relate to you spending money. Because a lot of times, you do buy things, and we are triggered and our mindset tells us that I want to be happy, I need to spend more money on this. And that's not always the case. So, there's almost always an alternative to triggered spending. So, what I want you to do is reflect on your expenses list, and which of these purchases were triggered? So we printed out all of our expenses, I just want you to count how many of those were triggered expenses out of your past three day expenses. 'Cause I know that I had people print it out or pull it up, or even just think about today. How many of your purchases in the past 24 hours were triggered. Think about everything you bought in the past 24 hours, and how many of them were triggered by something, that we mentioned before in the triggered list. How many you get?
A hundred dollars.
A hundred dollars, total?
Was a result of triggered spending? Did you feel like when you were spending it, did you feel like, oh I'm spending 100, I'm being triggered to spend 100 dollars.
No. I'm in vacation mode right now. So I'm like, oh I'll buy this for my new apartment 'cause I'm bored or, I don't, you know, I'm going out to eat and usually I'd split something with a friend. But, I'm on vacation, so I'm gonna order the whole meal.
Yeah, vacations are a big spending trigger for me. I could be completely good with my money, and then I go on vacation it's like, when else am I gonna be in the Philippines? It's like, you know? But it's important to also budget for that, too. When you realize, here's a great thing about understanding that it's a trigger, is that you can budget for it. So sometimes the alternative is not necessarily not doing it, sometimes the alternative is budgeting for it. So that it doesn't impact your day to day, or your bottom line. Anybody else like to share how many of their expenses of the past 24, 72 hours?
I think mine was the same as I just got back from vacation. So it was triggered by a vacation.
Mine was around 150, and the biggest aspect of that was like a spur of the moment jewelry purchase yesterday. (laughs) Because someone told me about their cool friend who made this jewelry, and it was summer limited edition sale, and it was like--
Time, uh huh.
[Woman in Audience] Yep, so that was a big one for me.
Mine was like eating out again. (laughing) And then I tried to save money by at this little place that I like to eat out buying the beer in the can, but you know, it's like a six pack or something like that, but still like 12 dollars or something. So that was triggered. I shouldn't have bought it at all. (laughing)
See, so it shows up. Did any of you at any time think, I'm being triggered to spend money right now?
No, I thought I was saving, I thought, oh I'm getting it to go.
You're like, I did, I knew what was happening!
[Woman In Audience] I got a new phone, and I was like, I do not need this. (crowd laughing)
And again, I would never want to guilt anyone, sometimes that's necessary. You supported a small business and so forth. Sometimes, as you know, I always say, it's not about not spending money, it is making sure that you're doing what you're supposed to do with your money, so that you can spend money on things that matter to you. And so, it's not, when we are looking at our spending triggers, and online, when we're looking at our spending triggers, it's not about not spending money. I don't want people to become misers. Because I want you to enjoy the quality of your life. But what I want to happen, is that you've done everything that you need to do and are spending money towards supporting your financial goals. So that when you do decide to do something, such as support a small business, or indulge yourself in that beverage, or you know, go on vacation. It's not to your financial detriment, you're not figuring out how to pick up the pieces after you've done it. And you're not regretting, and then you start off this whole other process of depression, which is a spending trigger because you're unhappy. What about online?
We have Destiny said that she'd spent $540 this week, and yikes in big, capital letters afterwords. So, a surprise. She doesn't say what she spent it on. But she's surprised by how much she's spent in.
That was triggered. Yeah. Thank you for being so transparent, Destiny, I appreciate that. It's a larger amount. Yeah. And a lot of times, the more we have in, so during tax time, people might be receiving tax returns. They might be triggered to spend a couple thousand dollars more than what they'd normally spend, because they had that resource there. Okay, so we have the understanding of our spending triggers, and we kinda know what to look for and what to ask ourselves, and what to be on, I guess watch out for, as we begin to shift our money mindset. Because, rather than thinking I have to buy this thing right now, or thinking that if I don't buy this, my life is not gonna be as full or as enjoyable. We understand that usually it's a triggered or it's a false trigger, and it's something that it's kind of made up in our psyche, instead of that it is an actual threat to our life experience.