As I have been improving my money and economic understanding I have come across a rather unexpected element. Emotion drives it all. This is true whether we’re talking about the stock market going up or whether we’re talking about personal money behaviors.
For whatever reason money is a taboo subject that we are discouraged from discussing our entire lives. Once we get our first job, apartment or car we are expected to be a conscious and responsible expert. All this does is make us insecure, afraid, guilty, and unable to understand why we are so crap at dealing with money.
You can’t be proficient at something you don’t practice.
All of the negative emotions that go along with that insecurity make so many people just ignore it and hope it works itself out. Things like direct deposit and autopay programs are excellent conveniences in and of themselves, but we too often let the automation allow us to ignore our situation even more. We must know what we have to become good at money.
All that fear, shame, guilt -- emotional negativity -- around money makes people hate it. Remember, money is an inanimate object – free of goodness or evil. Replace the word money with pizza in the following commonly heard statements about money. They’ll make you feel guilt, fear and anxiety around pizza. Who needs that unnecessary negativity!?!
“The love of pizza is the root of all evil.”
“Pizza is great and all, but people are more important.”
“I hate pizza, it only causes pain.”
“Pizza changes people.”
“People with a lot of pizza are usually corrupt.”
“You can’t get a lot of pizza without compromising your principles.”
“People only like him for his pizza.”
“Never mix pizza and friendship.”
They’re all ridiculous. But then, you’re not expected to be a pizza genius without being taught how to make pizza. There is no societal shame in asking for guidance in the pizza game.
It’s time to make money as approachable as pizza.
Five steps toward making your first great money pizza.
1. Look at all of your accounts, and bills. Write down and say the numbers. They may be better or worse than you thought if you’ve been ignoring money. So, do this with kindness and, if needed, self-forgiveness. Nobody throws the pizza dough with perfection the first time they do it. Treat this assessment as your first dough. You have to know what ingredients you have. If they are shitty ingredients you have to know which ones need replacing.
2. If you find that your money pizza is not yet ideal do not not not blame others, the government, the universe, the career you’ve chosen, the healthcare system or anyone/anything else for the numbers you see. That perpetuates fear and negativity and also makes you feel helpless. You are trying to take the fear out of money not make it scarier.
3. Learn about your money pizza. Read, watch youtube channels about money, listen to personal finance podcasts. Take small steps that start with knowing your numbers. A great place to start is with Dave Ramsay or Suze Orman. They both give great, applicable advice.
4. Eliminate subscriptions that you thought you would use but actually don’t. This happens when you ignore money. You think, I’m going to stream yoga videos or watch eleven different paid entertainment venues, or go to the gym every day and the barre classes. You use the one you like and keep paying for all of them. Pay for the things you use. Cancel the things you don’t. Boom! – more ingredients in your money pizza!
5. Streamline your money documents. Put everything money related in one place – a drawer, a money pizza file on your desktop, whatever works for you. Have an income and outgo part of your money place. Make the info as simple and clear as possible. Revisit your money place regularly. Remember, practice makes you proficient and unafraid. Put a money reminder on your phone and make this part of your regular check in on your money pizza. That could be every Monday or every day. Be able to say how much money you have off the top of your head. Name it, know it, be thankful for it.
There are many other things you can do as well. However, start with these clear, small steps. Know what your own personal money pizza is. Care for it like you care for your car or your house. By the way, doing this will make you richer. I don’t just mean in character, maturity or life enjoyment – although that will happen too. I mean richer in money. Things we cultivate grow. Things we neglect die.
Pizza is great! Money is great!
** Disclaimer: If you purchase the products from the links above I will get a tiny commission. If you're a meanie head and don't want that to happen go find them directly on amazon and get them there. BTW both Suze Orman and Dave Ramsay have a bunch of helpful books. Any one of them will help you take small manageable steps toward a good money pizza. Pick the one that suits you best.