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Holiday Spending

For years I celebrated the holidays by spending money.

I’d buy gifts for everyone I knew.

I’d shop, shop, shop all season long.

I was trying to buy holiday happiness for everyone, including myself.

Of course, I couldn’t.  It didn’t matter how many presents were under the tree.

The holidays were the holidays.

Sometimes happy.  Sometimes not so much.

I’ve since realized that happiness has nothing to do with spending money.

Yes, this sounds silly.  And even though I’m smart, it wasn’t always obvious.

This year I want to challenge you to find your holiday happiness without spending a dime.

That doesn’t mean you can’t buy gifts.

But before you buy, take some time to figure out what you really want for Christmas.

Do you want to be happier?

Do you want more connection?

Do you want more fun?

Figure out the feeling first.

Then decide how you can get that feeling without buying gifts.

For yourself or others.

It is possible. And it’s one of the best presents you’ll get all year.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

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If you want some help creating a holiday spending plan and connecting with what you really want this year, join the Holiday SOS coaching experience. 

It’ll change your relationship with holiday spending forever.  Click Here & Get Started

 

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Overcoming Money Conflicts

Relationships can be tricky. Add money to the equation and things can get even stickier.

You want to pay off debt and your partner wants to buy a motorcycle.

Or maybe you want to buy a new pair of jeans and your partner wants to go golfing, again.

It’s no surprise that money is one of the top causes of conflict in relationships.

So what can you do about?

First, understand you’re not really arguing about the motorcycle or the debt. Those items are symbolic of something deeper. For both of you.

The motorcycle might represent freedom.  The paid off debt security.  You’re really arguing for the values you think the items represent.

We all have experiences, stories and goals with money that motivate our current values and actions.

If you start the money conversation focused on the line items in the budget, you’re missing the big picture and setting yourself up for lasting conflict.

The trick is to take the conversation deeper.

Take some time to discover what’s driving your partners behaviors around money. And while you’re at it, dig into what’s driving yours.

I’ve created a three question worksheet you can download to get the conversations started.

Download Here: Conversation Starter

This is just a start.

Our money stories go deep. The more you understand about your story and your partners story the more equipped you will be to resolve conflict for the long term.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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Can you afford it?

You really want to buy something, sign up for a class, go on a trip, and the numbers don’t support it.

It’s a drag to think you really want something and then tell yourself you can’t afford it.

So stop lying to yourself.

When you make up your mind that you want something, there’s almost always a way to get it. You could sell everything you own, you could work two additional jobs, you could cash out your 401k.

But you’re not.

There’s a reason you’re choosing not to afford it.

The only reason you ever want to buy something is because you think buying it will make you feel a certain way.

  • You think participating in a class will make you feel confident or connected.
  • You think a new pair of shoes will make you feel sexy.
  • You think going to Greece will make you feel relaxed and free.

And it might.  But you don’t have to buy those things to get those feelings.

The same is true when you choose not to afford something.

The only reason you ever choose not to buy something is because you think having something else will make you feel better.

  • You think paying off your bills will make you feel responsible.
  • You think having money in your savings account will make you feel secure.
  • You think not working a second job will make you feel free.

And it might.  But it’s possible to buy the item you want and still get those feelings.

The only way to really know if you can afford something is to know what you value and why.

What do you value most: the item or what you’ll get by not buying it?

If something is important to you, stop telling yourself you can’t have it.  Instead, brainstorm creative ways you could choose to afford it. Check in and see if you’re willing to do those things and understand why/why not?

Affordability isn’t just about dollars and cents.  It’s about value. And you always get to choose what you value.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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Getting Organized

It’s easy to blame money disorganization on being busy or not having the right system.

The truth is, disorganization is usually about something deeper.  

It’s a symptom of avoidance. Avoidance often comes from fear.

Unless you address WHY you are disorganized with your money, no system will cure the problem.

When the mind is scared, it goes into fight or flight.  You don’t have to be attacked by a bear or face ruin to activate this response. Subtle emotions are powerful triggers. Being unsettled, worried, stressed or unsure can initiate fight of flight.

Take a moment and consider where you might be avoiding your money:

  • Are you procrastinating paying bills? Is there one bill you keep forgetting?
  • Are you avoiding balancing your checkbook?
  • Do you keep forgetting to cancel that subscription you never use and are still being charged for?

These are all symptoms of disorganization that indicate an avoidance problem.

Want to clean it up?

  • Embrace some element of unpredictability with your money.  Your financial life is always changing. That’s not something to be scared of.  You can handle whatever comes your way.
  • Spend some time giving yourself credit.   Write down a list of all the reasons you can handle whatever happens.  You’re smart. You have skills and contacts.  You know how manage your money.  Gather as much evidence as possible.
  • Use fight or flight to your advantage.  When you believe you can handle what you see, that you can face any challenge in style, you’ll be more likely to face your money head on.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

 

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Can running change your life?

A while back, I posted this comment on Facebook:

“It’s possible for you learn to love running.  In doing so you can learn to love your life.”

The comments were intense.

People pushed back.

There was a lot of resistance.

Some of it was legitimate. People shared health issues that prevented them from running. The gift of listening to their bodies.

Some of it was inspiring.  People shared stories of how they used to hate running, gave it another try and it changed their lives. Created major breakthroughs.

All of it was passionate.

It got me thinking.  If I said:

“It’s possible for you to love bowling, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

Would the reaction have been the same?

Or what about:

“It’s possible for you to love painting, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

How about:

“It’s possible for you to love exercise, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

I’m curious:

How do you react to each of these?  

Do these statements bring up different emotions?  

Why?

My hunch is that they aren’t all the same.  The truth is you have different experiences & thoughts about running, bowling, painting and exercise.

These experiences and thoughts create a different emotional response when someone says it’s possible for you to love it.

If someone says to me, it’s possible for me to love bowling and in doing so learn to love my life, the response I get is laughter.  I think it’s funny.  I have no resistance to bowling and no real desire to use it to change my life.

For painting, I feel a longing to know more.  A curiosity to explore and a little bit of doubt about my abilities.

For exercise, I feel neutral.  I get it.  I’m not opposed to the statement and I’m not excited about it.

So why so much resistance and passion around running?

My two cents:

  • You have experience running.  For many, including me, not all of this experience is good.  In gym class I was slow, so I tried to run faster and it hurt.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I stopped trying.
  • There’s a lack training in pace. You haven’t learned to enjoy going slow enough that it doesn’t hurt.  You’re not in gym class anymore and nobody cares how fast you are running.  Trying to run too fast for your body is uncomfortable.
  • It’s hard to start small.  You want to go out and run 1 mile today. For years I couldn’t run a mile, so I started with a minute, or 10 seconds, and I kept at it.  Now I can run a mile.
  • Walking gets a bad rap.  I used to think if I took a walk break while running, it meant I was a slacker, I was cheating, I wasn’t doing it right.  That’s not true.  Walk breaks are what allow you to run further, faster and with less pain. When you’re starting, the more walk breaks the better.

Think back to your first experience running?  Was it good?  Bad?  Are your stories about running creating resistance now?

Are you willing to give it a try?  Why/Why not?

In my own experience, I didn’t always love running.  I hated it.  And like many things I used to hate, once I learned why I hated it, gave myself the opportunity to experience it without resistance, I learned to love it.  The things that brought me the most resistance now bring me great joy.

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say on this topic.  Add your comments and perspective in the comments section below.

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Getting My Good Vibes On

Today was a super special day for me.

I had the chance to guest post for a fellow coach and mentor over at Good Vibe University.  If you don’t know Jeannette Maw, you should.  Her work is fun and powerful!

Head on over and check out the post on how to feel good while budgeting.  It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way and one I’m always excited to share.

As recently as a year ago budgets were a bad word to me.  Until  I learned something that changed my perspective.

I learned budgets don’t have to be about deprivation. They can be about setting conscious intentions about money and energy. Choosing, in advance, what you most desire.

Read more at:

http://goodvibeblog.com/2011/11/budgets-in-the-vortex/

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I am a friend.

I am a bad friend.

I show up late.

I forget your birthday.

I don’t commit to plans in advance.

I change plans at the last minute.

I get busy and don’t call.

 

I am a good friend.

If you ever need to talk, I’ll listen.

I’m thoughtful.

If you’re having a bad day, I’ll drop off a card of coffee.

If you need help, I’ll volunteer.

I support you 100%.

I love you unconditionally.

 

I am simply a friend.  This is who I am.  Not good and not bad. Perfectly imperfect. I am a friend.

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Money Monday – Job Uncertainty

Uncertainty can be a b*tch. Especially when it comes to things like work and money.

You’re humming along, everything is fine. Out of the blue, uncertainty rolls in.

Your company gets bought out, layoffs are announced, you loose a big client.

The job, the numbers and the life stop telling you the story you want to hear.  You panic.

At least I did.  

Which it turns out is perfectly normal.  The brain is hard wired with a desire to control the future.  

When things are humming along, it’s easy to believe you’re in control and the brain is more or less content thinking it’s steering the ship.

Then you hit an iceberg, wake up to the reality that life is unpredictable, and all of a sudden you feel like you’ve lost control.

The good news is, your brain doesn’t care if you actually have control, it only cares that it feels like it’s in control.

So how can you feel in control right now?

Remember you can always control your thoughts.

Some of my go to thoughts during times of uncertainty:

  • I’m always in control of me.
  • I’ll figure it out when I get there.  There’s always a solution.
  • I’ve made it this far.  I must be doing something right.
  • Either way, I’m all in.  I’m diving into the unpredictability and I am going to enjoy the ride.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

 

 

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Money Monday – Sell or Hold?

Have you ever been in the midst of making a financial decision and felt stuck.

You arrive on a decision only to second guess yourself just a few minutes later.  You run the numbers over and over and still don’t feel 100% confident in the decision?

I know I have.  Sometimes what looks great on paper, the story the numbers seem to tell, feels different when you go to pull the trigger.

What might be happening is an ownership bias. 



When you own something, you like it more, just because you own it.  Seriously.

This can make it especially tricky when it comes time to make a decision around selling something.  Maybe you’re committed to paying off debt and selling the boat seems like a good way to go.  Or maybe you’re getting ready to buy a bigger house and trying to decide to sell or hold onto the smaller one.  

Because you own the item, your mind will likely value the item more than the markets or the financials do.

So how do you get around this?

First – be honest with yourself.  Do you actually own the item? If you have a loan against the item, it’s not yours, it’s the banks. Being honest about that can help reduce the ownership bias.  

Then ask yourself these questions:

1. Given your current goals and finances, would you go out and buy the item again today?  If not, what’s really holding you back from selling it?

2. What do you think it means if you sell the item?

3. What do you think it means if you don’t sell the item?

These questions will help you get some perspective on what you are trying to gain, besides money, by holding or selling.  They will help you see where you’re looking at the numbers and where your ownership bias is showing up.

I’d love to hear your experiences with ownership bias and how you moved past it.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!


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Money Monday – Unexpected Bills

You’re chugging along, making progress toward your financial goals and then seemingly out of nowhere you’re hit with a big fat bill that isn’t in the budget.

Or maybe it’s just a series of small bills that seem to come out of the woodwork just when you feel like you’re starting to make real progress.

Unexpected things do happen.

When unexpected things happen regularly they can no longer be considered unexpected.

If you’re consistently running short at the end of the month, or writing a check that’s just not in the budget it’s important to take the time to figure out what’s really going on with your money.

In my own life, I noticed I had a tendency to significantly underestimate my monthly expenses.

I’d decide once and for all I was going to be responsible and quickly pay off my debt. The faster the better. So I’d sit down and create a budget that I thought would propel me quickly toward my financial goals. It looked great on paper.

I’d make a huge payment on my student loan debt and then I’d freak out that I had no money left when it was time to buy groceries and pay my monthly bills.

I was so disconnected from my money and spending that I had no idea what it actually cost me to live every month.


When I finally took the time to look at what was happening with my money it was easy to see why it felt like things were always sneaking up on me.

I’d been drastically underestimating my expenditures.

Once I knew what I was spending, It was much easier for me to make choices about where I was willing to make sacrifices and where I wasn’t. I was able to create a debt payoff plan and cut down on the unexpected by leaving room for all of my monthly expenditures.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

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

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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