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Accumulators

Accumulate Experiences

By | Accumulators, Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | No Comments

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When was the last time you spent a day with people you love and didn’t have to spend a dime? Or spent so little that it didn’t involve any stress about money or the financial pit you’ve dug for yourself? Our culture puts so much emphasis on material things; we seem to define success by the amount of clothes in our closets or the kind of car we drive.

How much do these things really matter in the long run? It of course feels great to spend a day or two (or more) collecting brand new items courtesy of our lines of credit in the moment. Once we get home and see the bill, however, those happy feelings dissipate and we’re stuck with that sinking sensation of financial doom.

It’s time for you to rethink what wealth means to you. Yes, having lots of stuff to look at may feel great. Unfortunately, the downside of it is that all of those things weigh you down. And not just physical space wise. Clutter in your home and overexceeding your space means that there is less room for growth mentally and emotionally. When was the last time you were able to really focus with a house filled to the rim of things that you just flat-out didn’t want or need?

Action step

I know it’s the season of spending so you’d be hard pressed to stay away from the holiday sales. What I do what you to do, however, is try to focus on accumulating experiences instead of things. Go ahead and buy those Christmas gifts, but also try to spend time with the people you are getting them for. Instead of wrapping up a scarf or a video game, gift the person a meal at their favorite lunch place for the two of you. Or get a Groupon for something they’d love – like skiing or wine and painting – and go with them.

The big problem with our culture is that we put the emphasis on what we have physically. The big house. The expensive car. The designer clothes. The dinners at the trendiest restaurants. But we lack substantial life experiences because we focus on accumulating material things. And that’s what I want you to focus on; spend these next few weeks accumulating as many substantial experiences as possible. Take a few extra moments to talk to the barista you see every morning. Take the intern to lunch to see how they’re doing. Bake a pie for your neighbor and invite them over to share it with them.

Take this season of giving a step further by giving yourself instead of your money. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel knowing you both brighten someone’s day and even yours just by caring. Being an accumulator of experiences – and not things – will bring you more joy and peace than anything you can purchase in a store.

 

You Already Have It All

By | Accumulators, Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | No Comments

blog-imageShopping is fun. That’s what everyone tells us: friends, media and even ourselves. But when you’re struggling with your finances, shopping turns into a quick fix that escalates an already large problem.

What’s your biggest shopping addiction? Is it shoes? Handbags? Dinner out several times a week? Or maybe it’s just the act of swiping the credit card that excites you?

The bigger question here is this: what are you trying to mask? Accumulating things with no real want or desire behind the item itself is a sign that you’re unhappy. You’re trying to fill a void in your life with the material things that you think will enhance your life. And, mostly likely, it hasn’t worked.

Luckily for you, I have a solution to your addiction to accumulation. You want to live a certain life, and you think that the things you buy are getting you closer to that life. Spoiler alert: they’re not. If anything, they’re pushing you further away from the life you truly desire. But there is a truth here that you are over looking:

You already possess everything you need to live your dream life.

You may not see it, but take a closer look at what you have. No, not what’s in the closet or the driveway. And I’m not talking about your job title or your available credit card balances either.

I’m talking about the things you do that make you happy on a daily basis. It may only be a few fleeting seconds of bliss, but it matters. And it’s the basis of that dream life you desire so badly.

Action step

For the next week, take notice of those moments when you are truly happy. Embrace the moment totally. Then write a little note to yourself: where you were, what you were doing, and what part of it brought on that great feeling.

There’s a big misconception that one must purchase their dream life in one way or another. That’s not true. You are already experiencing what you love, you’re just not noticing the moments when it’s happening. It’s time to take notice. Your dream life right at your fingertips. Grab it.

Identifying Emotions & Staying on Track

By | Accumulators, Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | No Comments

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We have a lot of roles in our lives. Employee or employer. Teacher or student. Spouse. Daughter or son. Friend. Sibling. Parent.

Some of these roles are easier to navigate than others. Which ones are the most challenging for you? Maybe you’re having trouble balancing both work and school. Or problems in your family life are getting in the way of you maintaining friendships in your personal one. You could be devoting much of your emotional energy to your aging parents with responsibilities to your spouse, children and job being left behind.

So what does this all have to do with finances? These life stresses can bring out our worst spending habits, especially those that involve collecting things. The dark side of your relationship with money rears its head when you feel overwhelmed.

Remind yourself of the influencing forces behind your financial emotions. Is your personality type a hindrance to your personal growth or happiness? Do you find yourself blaming others for standing in the way of your financial success?

Now is the time to identify the emotions behind your money decisions. Shame, blame, judgement and guilt often materialize in your day-to-day life as splurges. Life is peaks and valleys; don’t allow the low times to ruin yourself financially. And even if you slip up every now and then, don’t allow your mistakes to crush your self esteem and worth. Remember, you are worth more than whatever that number in your bank account says. Those titles that sometimes become unbearably difficult are also the same ones that fill your life with joy, love and meaning. Why not view your money that way as well?

Action step

What titles do you embrace and which ones do you begrudgingly accept? How often do you attach a negative emotion to a role you play? Look at the roles you play in your life as objectively as possible, and determine how those roles have affected your relationship with money. Embrace whatever feelings you have about your roles and the negative part they play in your finances, and forgive yourself.

Work It Out or Act It Out: Retail Therapy

By | Accumulators, Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | One Comment

When was the last time you purchased out of boredom? How about unhappiness? Or to make yourself feel better? For many of us, shopping is more than just a way to grab a few necessities; it’s a hobby, a lifestyle and our favorite thing to do! Almost the moment we step foot out of our homes, we are surrounded by opportunities to spend.

Grocery stores fill the checkout lines with magazines, candies and small gadgets (just in case we “forgot” something). Gas stations are small-scale drug stores. Even our cell phones offer us opportunities to do some serious damage to our bank accounts without even leaving our beds!

The advertising industry will make you believe that you need something. Often when we are spending on things we don’t actually need, we gauge our want on our emotional state. When was the last time you justified an expensive (and out of your budget) purchase with a “I had a rough day and I deserve it” excuse?

If you have a closet full of clothes with the tags still on them (or a ton of fun tech toys that you barely use), you fall into the accumulator category. Often, accumulators of stuff are trying to cope with other issues in their lives by spending. More specifically, they spend excessively to deal with their inner pain and discomfort.

Most unhealthy behaviors are the result of emotional conflict or unrest within the individual. Don’t let capitalism override your sensibilities. Accumulating a lot of stuff may bring you a feeling of comfort in the moment of spending. It may even make you happy to see the things in your home; possessing a lot of stuff can have the affect of making you feel valuable and important. But remember that the root of this issue isn’t positive; it’s detrimental to both your bank account and your emotional stability.

You are more valuable than the dollar amount hanging in your closet. The price of your car has nothing to do with your worth as an individual. Accumulating a lot of stuff may satiate your appetite for a moment, but you’ll be left with the same negative feelings after the rush dies down.

Action step

If you’re struggling with spending, here’s a great exercise to try. At the beginning of your next pay period, get $100 in cash out of your bank account and keep it in your wallet. Don’t spend it. Examine the wave of emotions that come over you throughout the week in relation to that money.

This is a good exercise in uncovering money emotions you may be unaware of you. Will you end up spending the money? Probably. We all succumb to money stress sometimes, especially those of us who have a habit of spending. But keep doing this every pay period. Eventually, the urge to spend that money will subside.