We all know what a merry-go-round is. We probably enjoyed them as kids and maybe still do as adults.
When I was thinking about the title for this article, I decided to look up the definition of merry-go-round. I found one of the definitions particularly interesting:
A continuous cycle of activities or events, especially when perceived as having no purpose or producing no result.
Do you ever feel like that with your money? You go around and around in a continuous cycle with the same money problems and feel like you don’t produce any results. Maybe you pay off your debt just to run it back up again. Or just when you think you are getting ahead, something unexpected comes up and you are right back where you started.
It’s frustrating, I know. I’ve been there, done that and probably blogged about it to multiple times over the years. Yet it still seemed to happen more often than I’d like to remember.
I can’t really remember at what point it was that I decided to do things differently but I knew I couldn’t stay on the financial merry-go-round any longer. It required change and I was ready for the change.
Are you ready to take charge of how you deal with your money? Are you tired of the continuous cycle where it feels like you aren’t achieving any results? Good, then this post is for you! Here are some great ways to get off the financial merry-go-round.
Are you taking responsibility?
You many not want to hear this but you and only you have control of your life. You may be used to reacting to situations so it may seem like other people control the things that happen in your life but that’s actually not true. In order to get off the financial merry-go-round you are going to have to take responsibility for all areas of your life, including your finances.
Are you ignoring your finances now? Have you created a budget or prioritized where your money will be spent? If not, it’s time to take a good look at what is going on in your financial life and take responsibility for it.
- Is there anything you have left unfinished when it comes to your money?
- Are your finances disorganized, do you have outstanding debts you are avoiding or do you have a disrespectful relationship with money as it flows in and out of your life?
- Do you know how much you bring in and how much goes out each month?
- What is the “story” you are telling yourself about money? (Example: I will never make enough money, I’m always in debt, I never have enough money, etc.)
Assume full responsibility and begin to take action to change your current situation. You will not get out of your current situation by continuing to have the same thoughts that got you into the situation.
Do you accept defeat too easily?
Money is an interesting teacher and when things don’t go as planned, anxiety and doubt can creep in. After that happens, it’s really easy to go back to those old thoughts & habits that are familiar to us. But is that what you really want to do?
- Are you in the process of paying off debts, only to find that when something doesn’t go as planned you give up & throw your whole budget out the window?
- Do you then overspend knowing full well you shouldn’t be doing it but you do it anyway?
- How does that type of behavior serve you? It might feel good for the moment but then you probably feel worse later.
- What are some things you could do instead? (Example: take a walk, get away from the situation or just do the best you can in the moment knowing you can’t control everything. Step away and come back with a calm mind so you don’t do something financially that you regret later – or make your situation worse).
- Here’s an example of something that recently happened to me. Over a two month period, both my refrigerator and washing machine quit. Obviously I wasn’t expecting either of these to happen, especially not so close together. At first I was mad, asking the question “WHY?!” and annoyed that I had to deal with any of it. But I knew there was nothing I could do about it except go with out either appliance (not an option for me) or go find the best deal I could. Luckily, I was able to do that and neither was quite as expensive as I had originally feared. I was especially grateful I had an emergency fund to fall back on to pay for them. I also cut back my spending and put off buying some things I wanted in order to build my emergency fund back up quicker.
It comes down to deciding how bad you want to change your financial situation. You are the only one that can change it and it generally never goes as planned. Even with the most perfectly thought out budget, surprises are going to happen. But the important thing to notice is how are you handling those surprises?
Decide right now what you will commit to with your finances and stick with it! Stick with it if for no other reason but to prove to yourself you can do something different and you do not have to be stuck in the financial merry-go-round!
What are Your Priorities?
Things in our world today develop faster and faster than ever before. With everything happening so quickly it can be overwhelming and exhausting to keep up with. Sound familiar?
With everything moving so quickly, it can be easy to drift away from our priorities & our life can be come out of balance. Sometimes we just need a break from it all and step back and see if the way we are living is really aligning with our priorities. Additionally, it’s a very interesting exercise to see if our spending is aligning with our priorities as well!
- Are you putting the essential things first in your life? The things that are most important to you? This includes your family, friends, spiritual development & passions.
- Is self-care part of your normal routine? Are you taking time out for yourself to have some quiet time for meditation and relaxation? Are you caring for your body, mind & spirit?
- Are you taking time to laugh, be grateful for the good in your life and spread kindness when you can?
- Do you think for yourself or do you act because you think you “should” do something. Do others opinions matter more than your own?
- These types of things may seem like they have nothing to do with your financial picture but actually they do. Think about how you feel when you are tired, stressed out and not taking care of yourself. Your finances are the last thing on your mind if you feel this way.
- And finally, do your finances align with your priorities? If you’ve taken responsibility for your financial situation and looked at how you spend your money you may notice your spending does not align with your priorities. What can you do to change that?
If you are not aligning with your priorities, it’s ok to take a step back from it all and asses what you really want out of life.
- Put down your phone and go outside and enjoy the fresh air.
- Take time away from Facebook or Instagram to enjoy time with a loved one.
- Cut back on the endless news cycle and see how much better you feel without the constant cycle of doom and gloom in your life. I promise you it will make a big difference in your overall well being!
Determining your priorities can help you determine how you spend your time and your money. If you are not sure about this, here is a great exercise to try:
- Keep a journal of how you spend your money. How do you handle it? How do you feel about it?
- Where does your spending go? Is it in alignment with your priorities?
- What are you focusing on? Are you helping others with your money?
- What does your spending say about you?
- What does it say about your fears?
What do you really want?
I did a webinar a few months back called Finding Your Spark: Getting Real With What You Really Want in Life where I talked about helping women figure out what they want in life. This includes all areas of your life, not just your finances. Once you determine what you want in life, and you start taking steps towards it, the other things just seem to fall into place (I also call this Lifestyle Design). Here’s how you can do that:
- Take a look at all areas of your life: finances, career, relationships, spiritual life, etc. and start to think about what you want in each of these areas. Make a list of the things that make you feel good. Feelings are the key here!
- Dream big here, many of us want to stay small because we don’t know how we will get the things we want so we give up before we even get started. Your job is not to figure out HOW this is done. Your job is to decide want you want and what would make you feel good and go after that. The how will work out on its own!
- Stop giving attention to what isn’t working in your life and start paying attention to what is. This one thing will change your whole mindset!
- Stop participating in the “isn’t it awful story”. You know the one, where everyone sits around and complains how bad things are? Stop doing that!
- Instead look at the good, be thankful for what you have and talk about that! Keep a gratitude journal and write down what you are thankful for every day. Instead of telling yourself what you can’t do start to say you can and you will do whatever it is you want to do.
- Keeping your thoughts in gratitude and abundance will change your whole perspective!
You are worth it
The other side of the money equation is to receive it and know that you are worth it. You deserve good things to come in your life and if your used to feeling like you have to struggle when it comes to your finances, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way!
The reality is that you and only you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. It’s easy to blame other people and make excuses but that kind of thinking will not get you anywhere. If you want to get off the financial merry-go-round once and for all, start to look at things differently in your life. Find the good in the situation and ask “What can I learn from this?”. I promise you there is a gift wrapped up in there somewhere.
What are your thoughts on the financial merry-go-round?