Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emotional Money

I need to study Dave Ramsey. Can anyone tell me, does he cover money and the emotional single girl?

I grew up with a family that never had extra cash. I learned lots of good budgeting and frugal living lessons from my mom. I might have been the only person doing the envelope system with my 50 cent allowance at age 5. I made it most of the way through my 20s with a savings account and no debt. I was on top of this stuff! But then I encountered real grief for the first time. No one mentioned emotional health and it's effect on your finances.

My dad died every suddenly in 2008. I went through all the emotional stages. They took longer than I thought. And I wasn't prepared that the resulting depression meant I wouldn't care. I am not the type to not care. I didn't budget. I didn't track. I didn't care.

For the rest of the year and the following two years, I didn't track anything. I traveled, I shopped, I ate out. I had never carried a credit card balance in my life, but somewhere in there, I let the balance roll over. I budgeted sometimes, but only to make sure I could make the next minimum payment. (I never missed any of those thankfully.)

I finally started to care again in 2010. I was scared by what I saw in my accounts. I moved to find cheaper rent at the beginning of 2011. I cracked down and restarted my mint.com account several months later and studied where my money was going. I found a LOT of money in my budget that is now going towards erasing those credit cards.

You might ask what being single has to do with anything.
To generalize, the single girl is selfish and unaccountable. My paycheck is solely to take care of ME and NO ONE else knows what's going on in my finances. This probably applies to guys as well, but I'm a girl, so there we go. If I had been married when my dad died, there would be a husband to see and identify my depression and protect the budget from me. And if I had a family to think of, I would have faced my financial issues sooner instead of indulging in my selfishness.
There is a spiritual side to finances (my money is not my own), but I wasn't paying attention to that either.

I know not to drive if I've had too much to drink or I'm too tired. No one told me not to use a credit card when grieving. No one told me what grief and depression do to your judgement. It wasn't in any of the financial education I'd received.

When Brittany Spears went crazy a while ago and shaved her head, her father was appointed her conservator. I thought that was controlling and weird, but I get it now. We know that we can't live in a vacuum, that we need relationship and support. And now I know that includes finances. I've learned that a level headed girl with a decent income needs accountability.

My single status is not all that single now days. The Boyfriend and I have talked about finances. It's been good. It's made me stop and think about my spending so much more. It's made me count the cost of overspending. And the cost is steep.

Have you seen your emotions effect your finances? Have you considered accountability as a safeguard?


  1. Yes, Dave Ramsey talks about emotional/selfish/impulsive (his words not mine) singles, in FPU. He recommends a budget accountability person- to have monthly budget meetings with. I totally understand with every aspect of this blog. While I wasn't exactly doing a budget, I knew where my money was going. When my grandma died in 2009, I had to grow up real fast. I went from paying my cell phone bill, car insurance, student loan, and food to being financially responsible for my mom, and everything/everyone in the house. With my "I deserve this" mentality my 1,000 emergency budget went to an impulsive trip to California (you know for what! ;)) while I can't say I regret it, because I don't,)

  2. Great blog! I agree with the single girl thing. When I was still single, I was also a lot more likely to blow money because no one could really see what I was doing except for me. Kind of like eating a whole bag of chips in the privacy of your own kitchen :) Good for you for getting on track. It's really depressing and hard (for me at least)when you first start but I think the long term rewards will make it worthwhile!

  3. Real quick, since I'll probably be beckoned by a kid pretty soon.... ;-)
    Emotions definitely affect our spending and finances. That's what marketing folks appeal too. The pull of our emotions is so strong. And when tragedy hits, we're often numb to the reality of our financial situation, cope the best we can, but overspending could possibly be our way of 'creating a different reality'? Dunno, but a thought.
    Anyways, a healthy marriage or relationship can provide those checks & balances as long as both are committed to the same financial goals.
    And there's also the whole, 'if I make this silly frivolous purchase, then that leaves that much less for 'us', to use for our family'. In essence, stealing. Selfish. Sinful. With that thought in mind, I tend to make better spending choices. :-)
    I haven't gone through Financial Peace, but browsed through one of the books that I borrowed from someone last summer. If I remember correctly, he does address different life stages and emotional spending.
    Another good thought provoking read (but from a secular perspective) is 'Your Money or Your Life'.
    Cyndi Barden :-)

  4. I'm all about finances and the psychology behind it. (Thanks for the reply on my blog btw.) It plays a HUGE part for so many of us. In fact I'm working on another piece (in my head right now) to discuss what you've basically said here my own personal "financial perfect storm." The point when it all came together and caused serious problems for me. You may know some of it, you were there ;). lol

    DR does talk about emotions a lot. I strongly suggest you dl'd some of his shows on podcasts and check them out. I think you'll really like him. He's faith based but not so much so that he turns me off, so it's a great mix!

    Also check out Psychology of Wealth (http://psychologyofwealth.org/) I have it on my To Read List but I've read really good reviews about it.

  5. Personal finance is personal. Emotions are a definetly part. Trouble comes when decisions are made with too much emphesis on emotions and feelings. It is freeing to have truth to guide you when those times come. Its funny then how by clinging to the truth will produce deeper and more joyous emotions.


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