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Money Monday – Unexpected Cash

Unexpected money can create unexpected dilemmas.

You get money you’re not expecting. A bonus check. Money from selling something on Craigslist. Cash from winning a contest.  Or maybe you just found some money in the street.

And the money feels different. Like it doesn’t count.

It’s fun money.  Spending money. Bonus money.  And it feels powerful.

By changing the way I framed certain types of money, I treated it differently.  I used it as a reward. To make me feel good.  To treat myself.

And then I felt bad. Like I wasted it.  Didn’t put it to good use.  Didn’t do the right thing.

I’d get regular bonus checks and it would feel like a whole world of choices opened up. I could pay off bills, go on vacation or update my wardrobe. Every choice symbolized something deeper.  I could be responsible, be adventurous or look chic enough that everyone would like me.

The meanings I attached to the money made it hard to decide what to actually do with the money.

So how do you decide what do with unexpected cash?

Step 1: Take the unexpected money off the table.  Decide what your short term and long term financial priorities are.  Understand how you want your money to work for you in the bigger picture and why.

Step 2: Get clear on how you want to feel about the money. What feeling are you hoping the money can buy?  Be honest and put it on the table.

Step 3: Remember you can get the feeling you want, regardless of how you spend the money. Get the feeling you want first and then make the decision.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

Email me your questions on money to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

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