Attitudes about money

For the Love of Money

by Jill Cooper

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One of the biggest factors in most of our money problems comes from the fact that we deal with our money emotionally. If you don't think money and emotions are tied together, think again. Take a serious look at all the ways your money and emotions are connected.

Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to see if you deal with your money emotionally and if there are things you need to change.

  • Are you an emotional shopper?
  • Do you shop when you get upset?
  • Do you buy more than you should because of what happened to you in your childhood or because there were things you had to do without? Do you think your children "deserve" more?
  • Do you buy things hoping that these "things" will fill an emptiness or void in your life?
  • Do you worry yourself sick over money? Do you think about it from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night? Do you have trouble falling asleep because of money problems?
  • Are you and your spouse and/or children always fighting about money?
  • Did you know that in over 50% of the divorce cases the #1 reason for the conflict is money? I'm not really surprised at this because so many people are having a love affair with their money.

Related: The Emotions Behind Buying Stuff

If you think I'm stretching things and that isn't true, then think about this. When you are in love, you have some signs. The subject of your love is all you think about and you can't get the one you love out of your mind. You can't get enough of them. No matter how much you are with them, it is never enough. The thought of being without them is devastating.

Translate that into money. When you love money, money is all you think about. You can't get enough of it and the thought of being without it is devastating. Many of us have got to get a reality check. Our love (or love affair) with money is tearing our families and us apart. We need to stop using money to satisfy our emotional and spiritual needs.

I have used this example before, but I think it bears repeating. I am walking through the desert and dying of thirst. If someone comes up to me and gives me a new pair of shoes or a big screen TV, is that going to take care of my need? Of course not! I need water. In the same way, if someone's spouse has just died, you don't generally say "here's a glass of water." She has an emotional need not a physical need.

As silly as those examples seem, many of us do the same silly things all the time. Consider these real life situations:

  • You have a bad day at work so you go buy something.
  • Your boyfriend leaves you, so you go shopping.
  • You're deep in debt and stressed out, so you go on an expensive vacation.
  • You think you might have cancer so you go shopping to drown your sorrows.

We respond this way because we have not learned to solve emotional problems with emotional solutions, physical problems with physical solutions and spiritual problems with spiritual solutions.

Are you one of the many people heading for debt trouble without knowing it? This simple checklist can help you find out and tell you how to avoid it.

Practical Solutions

Become more logical in the way you handle your money. Use it for necessities. Then when your debts are paid, you can start using it for some of your "wants," but only in a controlled way, as special gifts to yourself and not to take care of an emotional or spiritual need. Rethink the ways you choose to deal with things:

  • If you have a bad day at work, what could you do instead of spending money? You could go home and take a hot bath, talk things over with your spouse or watch a funny movie and forget about work.
  • If your boyfriend leaves you, talk to a friend, go have some fun with some friends, or even just have a good long cry.
  • If you are stressed from debt, use the money to pay towards your debt instead of going on vacation and use your time off to earn more money to pay your debt. Your next vacation will feel much better if you don't have that debt looming over you.
  • And if you think you have cancer, go to a doctor and find out.

Whenever you have any problem, especially if it is a problem that keeps cropping up in the same way over and over, decide whether it is an emotional, physical or spiritual problem and then find a solution that is emotional, physical or spiritual.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income.

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