You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 66. Today, we’re talking all about shame around spending money. You ready? Let’s go.
Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero.
Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a marvelous start. I’m so excited to talk about today’s topic. We are continuing on in our Money Mindset series. So, I talked to you about your thoughts about money. And then, we talked about some of the problems that come up with money, specifically overspending. And then, even more importantly, underearning.
I broke down all the different ways in which you might be underearning, and we went through how to stop overspending and how to stop underearning. Today, I want to talk about another problem, which is a little bit more of an ancillary issue than the main problems that we’ve discussed thus far in this series. But I do see it come up pretty frequently from my clients.
I think it’s really important to talk about, because people who struggle with this really end up depriving themselves of some really meaningful experiences, of a lot of transformation, of a higher quality life. I know that money can get a bad rap, right? People tend to say that money doesn’t buy happiness. But money buys a lot of things that makes happiness more easily attainable.
I’m not saying money, in and of, itself makes you happier. But money provides you with access to different experiences, a lot of different support that you might not otherwise have, different help that can help make your life easier or more simplified or more streamlined. It buys you freedom, which in a lot of cases does actually lead to happiness.
But one of the problems that I see that people encounter when they’re not dealing with overspending or underearning and they have the money to spend on themselves, or they have access to the money in some way… Maybe it’s through credit or something like that, pulling money out of savings. It’s not budgeted, right? So many people struggle to spend money on themselves if it’s not “in their budget”, but they do have access to the money in some way.
What ends up happening is they don’t spend money on themselves to buy experiences or things that they want. And they don’t spend the money because they have shame around spending it on themselves. Okay, so this episode is actually inspired by a conversation that I had with someone who’s become a really good friend of mine.
We actually weren’t that close at the time. But last summer, I was in Florida, in Orlando, with my business coach and a bunch of other coaches and entrepreneurs that are all part of that business coaching program. I was walking up to the pool; it was after the event had ended. I always stay a couple extra days just to soak up all the learning, really let it sink in, and spend some time with my peers.
So, I’m walking up to the pool and one of the women who was in the program, who I had gotten to know over the course of this trip, she asked me a really frank question. She was like, “Hey, I want to pick your brain about spending money because I have a lot of shame around spending money. And I think you don’t. I think that you don’t have a problem spending money. I really want to adopt your mindset when it comes to spending money on myself.”
I said, “You are absolutely right. I don’t have shame around spending money. I’m definitely the person that you want to talk to.” So, we had a really long talk. We discussed some of her fears that she had around spending and how she was raised, which was very similar to the way that I was raised. So, I really understood her mindset and where she was coming from.
Then I explained to her how I think about spending money. We compared and contrasted our different viewpoints, and she could see how I don’t have shame because of the way that I think about it. Because remember, our thoughts cause our feelings.
So, if you’re feeling ashamed around spending, the spending itself is neutral. It’s just your thoughts that are creating that shame. Because we have different thoughts about spending. We have different emotions that come when we do.
Some of her concerns were the exact same concerns that I see time and time again, with my clients. They’re also some of the concerns that I’ve had to unpack myself. I don’t struggle with this a ton, but every once in a while it does make an appearance.
I have the tools, through coaching, to be able to unpack it, understand what’s going on, and to be able to work through it. To decide if I want to keep the shame, which I very rarely ever do. If I think the shame doesn’t serve me, of course, I want to get rid of it. And I want to transition my thinking to cultivate a different emotion instead.
So, if you feel like you frequently deprive yourself of the things that you want in life, if you’re digging deep and you’re taking that internal inventory, and you know when you do that, you find that shame is the reason that you don’t spend money on yourself.
You feel ashamed spending money on yourself; guilty, indulgent, unworthy, undeserving, impractical, irresponsible, selfish. Any of those emotions, if you feel that way, that really is the more specific version of just feeling shame around spending. Shame is this big category. And then, there are all these different other emotions that kind of fall within that shame framework.
If you feel those emotions, when it comes to spending money on yourself, this episode is definitely for you. Okay? It’s so important to unpack this, to unravel it, and to dismantle it, so you can start providing yourself with the things that you want in your life. With the experiences that you want in your life. With the type of life that you want to live.
A really good friend of mine, she’s also a coach, she actually is a money coach. She works with people on their money mindset. One of the things that she says, and I love this. Her name is Nicole, she likes to say that life is bought. I tend to agree with her. Our lives are bought.
Think about everything that you do, all of the experiences that you have. A lot of people even like to think, “Oh, some of my most precious memories were when I wasn’t spending any money. I was just fishing with family members. It was Christmas morning.”
If you think about all of that, money allows all of that to happen. Money buys the fishing poles. Money buys the presents under the tree. Money buys the time off, right? You don’t have to work extra shifts. You don’t have to work on holidays because you are financially secure. So, money really does provide us with the lives that we want to live.
And if there are certain aspects to a life that you would like to live, and you’re not allowing yourself to have that life because of the shame that you experience around purchasing that life, I want to unpack that with you. So, you can free yourself of that emotional burden, ad give yourself permission to spend money that you have on the things that you’d like.
Now, a lot of this is based on how people were brought up, or what they were taught to think about spending money. So, check in with yourself. You can think back to that episode that I just did on your thoughts about money. But you might think that money’s hard to come by, you need to be responsible with your money, you shouldn’t spend frivolously, that you should only spend money on important things or on things that you need.
And if you don’t need something, then you shouldn’t buy it. That it’s impractical to spend money on things that you don’t need. You might have been taught that being frugal is more responsible than spending money. You might have just learned subconsciously, over the course of a lifetime, that you don’t deserve to spend money on yourself, that it’s selfish.
So, if you believe these thoughts, you can quickly see, by running them through the model, that when you think one of those thoughts you’re going to experience one of those negative feelings that I just mentioned. Okay?
Then from there, you’re going to avoid that discomfort. You’re going to avoid those negative emotions and not spend. Not provide yourself with that thing that you want. You end up depriving yourself of those experiences or those objects, those things that you would like to have in your life. Get clear on what thoughts you’re thinking that make you feel ashamed when it comes to spending.
Now, here’s what I want to do. I want to clue you in on something. So many people are using these thoughts against themselves, so start by asking yourself: Why did you learn this? Why did someone else teach this to you? Who taught this to you? It was probably your parents.
It could have been someone else, but it was likely the people who raised you. And if that’s not your parents, if it’s someone else who raised you, check in with yourself. What did those people teach you about spending money?
I grew up, big-time, learning that you should be practical with money, that it’s hard to come by, that you have to work hard to make it, and that you have to work even harder to make more of it. And therefore, you should be very, very careful with it. Okay? And that it’s impractical and irresponsible to spend it on things that you don’t need. Things that are expensive, especially.
Which is funny, if you actually do a deep dive here and you look at some of my parents’ spending. My dad likes to fly helicopters, and he buys and sells them pretty frequently. He’s had sports cars and a bunch of other stuff. So, one could argue that he doesn’t even follow the rules that I just referenced with you.
But what I really learned from examining the way that he spends money, is that he only likes to spend money on things that he finds very valuable. And a lot of things that I find valuable, he doesn’t find valuable. I had to unpack that in order to unravel and dismantle the shame that I felt, or the guilt that I felt, around spending money on myself. We just have different preferences, and that’s completely okay.
It’s totally fine that my dad likes to spend money on the things that he likes to spend money on. My mom spends money on the things that she spends money on. And I like to spend money on the things that I spend money on. Now, neither of my parents would spend the money that I spend on hotels. My mom is not one to buy luxury items like purses, or things like that, or super expensive shoes, just not her thing.
She doesn’t have to understand that, I just get to understand myself and we get to have a difference of opinion on the value of those expenditures. Similarly, my dad thinks spending lavish amounts of money on really exquisite, decadent meals at incredible restaurants is just wasteful. So, he doesn’t see the same value in it that I see.
He’s not willing to spend on it… We go out to nice dinners as a family, we do that. But I like to do it at an even more extravagant level and at a higher frequency that my parents do. And that’s okay, it’s my preference. Okay? I also am currently renting a condo even though I own a house. I wanted to do that because I wanted to live in a new space, and I could afford to do it.
That was really an area of my life where I had to examine my own resistance to spending money on myself, because I kept hesitating. I finally realized, the thought that I was thinking, that was causing me to hesitate, was that I thought that I was being impractical.
My mortgage payment on the house that I own is so inexpensive. It’s very easy for me to live there. I was going to be increasing my monthly overhead so significantly, by running a condo in the city of Detroit, where I wanted to live, that has all of the things that I wanted it to have.
I don’t need to do that, right? I have another place to live. So, it’s definitely not something that I need to do. It’s just something that I want to do. And I realized, that I was thinking that I was being impractical, that I was being frivolous, that I was being irresponsible, if I was going to move forward and spend that money on myself. That was causing my hesitancy. I was feeling irresponsible. I was feeling foolish.
Then, I was avoiding those emotions by not spending the money on myself, by not moving forward with the move. I finally realized I was living in a place that I really don’t prefer. Sort of being punitive to myself, punishing myself, depriving myself of something that I really, really want, that I think I work very hard for.
It dawned on me that there is no deserving police. No one’s going to come around and give me permission to spend my own money on myself. That’s not going to happen. So, if you have shame or guilt, or you’re feeling irresponsible, or selfish or impractical, when it comes to spending money on yourself, you have to realize that there’s no arbiter of what is worthwhile to spend money on.
You’re going to have to make that determination for yourself. Because no one’s coming and writing you a permission slip. They’re not going to tell you, “Yes, absolutely. Go make that expenditure.” There is no king or queen of “right” when it comes to your spending decisions.
You have to be the one who gives yourself permission. You have to be the one that gives yourself the green light to spend the money. Okay? No one else is going to do that for you.
And that’s one of the things about being an adult, you have to make these decisions. You want to make sure you’re making a decision from a clean space. So, you want to take a look and see what your model looks like.
What are you thinking about making that expenditure? How does that thought that you’re thinking make you feel? And then, what action are you taking when you feel that emotion? And then ultimately, do you like the result that that produces in your life?
A big part of this, if you start to break from the way that you were brought up, the way that you were raised, what you were taught about spending money on yourself, you’re going to have to likely feel misunderstood. Because one of the reasons that people don’t spend money on themselves is because they’re afraid to be judged by other people.
That was a big reason, my friend, when we were having this conversation by the pool that day, she said, “I don’t like to spend money on certain things, because I’m afraid people in my life will judge me. My family members, my husband, they might think that I’m being irresponsible, or that I’m full of myself. That I’m too extravagant. That I’m leaving them behind.”
The reframe that I offered her was, “What if you inspired people? What if you showed other people that spending money on themselves is safe? That it’s acceptable, that there’s nothing wrong with it, that it can be fun, that it can be enjoyable, that bad things don’t happen when you do it, that more money is leftover, that more money comes your way; you don’t run out of it.”
That’s another reason people don’t like to spend money on themselves, they’re coming from a place of scarcity and they’re coming up against that fear. And then, they end up hoarding money instead of spending it to buy the things that they want in their lives.
So, when we talked about that, we were specifically talking about spending money on hotels, especially five-star hotels. Which are pretty pricey, even in my opinion. And as we were talking about that, she said, “Oh, my husband would just really think that it’s frivolous, that it’s wasteful. He just wouldn’t see the value in it.”
I said, “Yeah, I’m sure my parents would probably think that too, until they got here.” When you get to the Four Seasons, you’re like, hey, this is kind of nice. The surface is incredible. The linens are amazing. The pillows are exceptional. The bathrooms gorgeous. The mattress is sublime. The food’s excellent. The pool is breathtaking. Everything is next level.
Really, whatever you want is there for you. They even clean your room twice a day. They come and they do a turndown service, they put out your little slippers, they normally leave you like a little treat, and they give you a million different water bottles. It’s just really lovely.
They also wrap all of your cords, for all of your chargers, up in this really lovely way where everything’s tidy and orderly. If you wear makeup, every time they clean your room they organize all of your makeup, and they lay it all out for you. It’s just exquisite.
And my point to my friend was that if you give people a window into what it’s like on the other side of that expenditure, if they get to see what the experience is like, they may not like it, they may not think it’s worth it. But you may turn them on to a life that they would have never otherwise experienced. And they may realize this is kind of nice.
I just did that with a friend of mine. We went to Boston together and I wanted to splurge on a hotel. So, I offered to pay for it because I really wanted to stay in this one specific place. She got introduced to a lot of that five-star luxury that I tend to experience pretty frequently, because I travel so much and that’s how I like to travel now.
She liked it. She really enjoyed it. She got to see a lot of what I experienced pretty frequently. And she may not choose to spend what I spend on hotels, but just to see the value in it; that it’s special, that it’s a little something extra, or a lot something extra, and that it’s nice, that it’s fun to treat yourself, that it’s not frivolous, that there’s value in it.
So, if you’re worried about what other people think, I want to offer you that you get to invite them along with you, and they can experience it alongside you. It can be something that’s really beautiful that you do together. Now, with that being said, I’m also going to offer to you that you may just need to let yourself feel misunderstood, okay?
They may not get it. They may judge your expenditures. They may judge what you do with your money, and that’s also okay. You can just let them judge you and you can have your own back. What would you need to think, to feel loving and trusting of yourself when it comes to how you spend money, rather than creating that shame and guilt and sense of irresponsibility?
What if you thought that spending money on yourself was responsible? How might that be true? How might it be the most responsible thing you could do with your money? What would be different about your life, if you stopped depriving yourself of the things that you want?
I bet there’s even some things that maybe you don’t need, but they’d really, really, really make an impact on your life if you finally gave yourself permission to spend money to purchase them. What would be different about your life? What would change? What would get better? It’s so fun to think about.
My life is so much better, now that I moved and I’m in spaces that I love, that I feel more at home in. That’s so exciting to me. I feel more comfortable having people over because I feel more comfortable in my space. It helps me feel more connected to people.
So, it’s not just about spending money to have things, it’s about spending money to get to feel a certain way. To create certain connections or certain experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Another example of this is being able to treat people to things that you wouldn’t otherwise get to do with them, like going on vacations. I’m getting ready to take someone on vacation, in my life, and I’m so excited to be able to do it.
Now, we don’t need to go. We’re just choosing to go because I’m choosing to spend the money. And I’m so excited to get that experience with them and to get to be with them in that moment. It’s such a good use of money, as I see it.
So, what I’m doing here, is I’m offering you a lot of the thoughts that I think about spending money on myself. About spending money on things, about spending money on experiences, just to offer you a different perspective. To get you thinking about spending money in a way that doesn’t create that shame or that guilt for yourself.
Think about it. What emotions would you like to think when it comes to spending? Maybe you want to feel carefree. Maybe you want to feel at ease. Maybe you want to feel calm. Maybe you want to feel responsible or assured. What would you need to think to feel each one of those emotions? Think about that.
And then, think about the different action that you’ll take when it comes to spending money, and the different result that you’ll create in your life when you do. All right? A huge area that I see this with, is with people’s decisions about whether or not to work with me, about whether or not to invest in coaching.
They feel irresponsible spending the money on themselves. They think that it might be frivolous. That they should be able to get the same transformation on their own if they just work hard enough. If they just dig deep enough themselves, they can get the same results. And I just want to offer you, very rarely is that true.
Coaching, and working with a coach, provides you with a completely different perspective. You get results a lot faster, and you get results that you just can’t access on your own. Because you can’t see the areas that you’re struggling in.
You can’t see it with the perspective that a coach gets to bring to your life. They’re going to help you find your blind spots, work through them and problem solve, and give you the tools that you don’t currently have in order to do that. And when people finally get out of their own way and they invest in themselves, and they work with a coach, it’s incredible to see how significantly their lives changed for the better.
But people prevent themselves from experiencing that result, because they’re so hung up on spending money to begin with. They feel like they’re taking money away from their families, taking money away from their kids. That they could do something more “responsible” with it. Maybe pay off their student loans, pay off their mortgage, put more money aside in savings or in their retirement.
I just want to offer you; those are all things that you can do with your money. But what if you just invested in your own transformation? Why might that be the best thing that you can do for yourself? One of the things that I teach my clients is if you want better answers, you’ve got to ask better questions.
So, let’s start with this one: How might investing in your personal development and working with a coach be the most transformational thing that you can do? How might that be the best use of your dollars this year? All right, brainstorm that. And if you have questions about it, reach out to me.
The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind is currently open for enrollment. We start in late August; August 23 – 26th, in Big Sky Montana. I just want to invite you to give yourself permission to give this gift to yourself. The gift of coaching, the gift of transformation, the gift of living a different life; the life that you’ve been wanting to live. You get to join me in Big Sky.
Talk about giving yourself permission to experience luxury, at a very discounted rate, mind you. The rate that we have for the hotel that we’re staying at, where the in-person live event is, is extremely discounted. Which is so much fun, that people get to experience some of the luxury that I talked about on the podcast pretty frequently. You’re going to get to experience for yourself.
But aside from the luxury that you’ll get to take part in while we’re together in Big Sky, Montana, you’ll get to experience the transformation that comes when you invest in yourself. Okay? It’s the most selfless thing that you can do. It’s the most responsible thing you could do. It’s the most practical thing you can do. I truly believe that.
I invite you to spend some time brainstorming how that may be true for you, as well. Then, when you figure out that I know what I’m talking about, go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind and apply to join the August class. All right?
I hope this episode helped you. I hope it helped unpack some of the shame that you might feel around spending money on yourself. I just want you to know that that’s optional. Anything that you’ve ever learned about spending money on yourself, is just someone’s opinion. And you don’t have to keep carrying it with you.
If you don’t like what you were taught, you get to leave that. You get to put a pin in it, put it on the shelf, and you never have to think that again. You can choose to think whatever you want about spending money on yourself. You can choose to think that it’s a good idea or a bad idea, or the best idea you’ve ever had. All of the options are available to you. Choose wisely, my friends. The life that you live, ultimately depends on it. All right?
That’s what I’ve got for you this week. Next week, we’re going to talk about setting goals when it comes to money. Which people hate to do, but it’s very important that you do it. So, I’ll talk to you all about why people don’t like to do it, how to overcome that, and then why it’s so important that you do set goals in the first place. HINT: It makes it easier to achieve them.
All right, my friends. That’s all for now. Have a beautiful week and I will talk to you in the next episode.
Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.