Written by Muddled
“Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money
In the rich man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world”
~ Abba ~
Unfortunately money is not so funny in the world of condition. This topic instantly resonated with me and I could honestly have sat for another few hours listening to people, rather than the 90 minutes of group. It amazed me how everyone had hugely different views and often conflicting opinions on this subject, yet for me (and I know for others) they all made sense!
It seemed to me that there were three main ways money could be used by condition. Of course there is more to it than just these as these are quite extremes but they might give you a good overview.
These are the compulsive over-spenders. They spend all of their money as soon as they get it. It could be that they cannot bear to buy anything for themselves and will constantly throw their money at ensuring that friends have a good time with them by paying for taxis, drinks, food etc. Or they buy expensive gifts for their children or family members, even though they know it will mean they have very little left for themselves. Or they buy themselves whatever the heck they want because they don’t see the point in saving; they will never be able to afford a ____ (insert appropriate expensive item, eg. house, car, course) so why bother? These particular people don’t want to acknowledge themselves and their future. Often being a Splurger means that you don’t expect to see a return on your investment; you will never ask you friends for the money you spent on that taxi, you don’t ‘deserve’ an expensive present in return, you may not even wear those lovely things you bought yourself.
These are the fear driven money hoarders. They find it hugely difficult to spend any money. This often means that they cannot spend on themselves or on others. They save and save but often it is just out of fear of not having enough money. If they do buy something they might hide it away, try to give it to someone else (someone more deserving of course!) or they might berate themselves for ‘wasting’ money. They ‘don’t deserve it’.
These are people who move between the extremes of a Splurger and a Scrimper in a constant state of fear. They think they need to save and they spend almost nothing, making themselves miserable in the process. Then they ask what is the point of saving all this money is, sure they can never afford X anyway. So they spend all their savings. They panic and start to save again…. and so the cycle continues.
Money is so closely connected to condition, deserving and being good enough. Essentially the way we use money shows us how we think about ourselves. Have we a future? Are we good enough? These money behaviours are driven by fear. In recovery it may take a while to value something that we do for ourselves. Scrimpers may avoid spending money on sessions, carework, vitamins, Udo’s Oil, trips to the cinema, getting a massage or facial or getting a new haircut. Splurgers may need to address what they are spending their money on. Are they trying to people please, avoid thinking about their future, numbing difficult emotions? Flutuaters could be all of the above!
Ask yourself: how are your feelings affecting your money and spending decisions? Ultimately you need to invest in yourself NOW. If you don’t then you will suffer in the long run. As with everything in recovery, balance is key.
Some additional titbits I picked up from group:
- Saving with a focus is different from saving from fear.
- Try not to ask yourself ‘Can I afford to?’ but instead ask ‘Can I afford not to?’. Think of the consequences. Ultimately anything that feeds into your recovery is an investment.
- Things are only a waste if you don’t use them. Okay so you bought that expensive coat or fancy cream. Now you think it was a waste of money? It is only a waste if you don’t use it.
Life is a special occasion, so don’t save for a special occasion. Cut off the tags and wear the damn clothes!!