As I was headed to play tennis yesterday, I realized I had forgotten water. Oops. I popped in a convenience store to handle that.

A teeange woman of color was in line ahead of me. She pointed at the pack of cigarettes she wanted. She picked the pretty box with pastel blue and pink swirly design.

The main behind the counter said, “8 dollars, 51 cents”.

There was this pregnant pause where all 3 of us seemed to look at that little box on the counter at the same time.

It seemed like she might pull out in time, but then the, “everybody’s doin’ it” voice seemed to snatch her mind back. She said, “really??” in that obnoxious meme way that’s going around and rolled her eyes at the guy behind the counter as if he was forcing her to buy them. She bought them and walked out. She looked, and I felt, deflated and defeated.

Now, I’ve spent way more than that on feeding my own addictions. So I don’t have a leg to stand on about judging that part of the issue.

The part that I did notice as universally relevant for all of us, is that SHE HAD A CHANCE TO CHANGE HER MIND. It is not too late to change your mind, even if that item is sitting on the counter and there is someone behind you in line!

I especially recommend putting some helpful tools in place as the holidays come up.

Before you wander in stores, unattended like a loaded gun, you could:

  • review your agreement with yourself or your partner about the maximum you will spend during that trip
  • make a list of things you are choosing to buy and only purchase from the list, not from impulse
  • call or text a friend (ideally someone who supports you being financially healthy, and not someone who subscribes to that, ‘everybody’s doin’ it’ voice) before AND after your shoppin adventure

Remember, YOU are in charge of your spending! Nothing is inevitable in this domain, other than that truism about death and taxes.

An inspirational quote by Thomas Paine popped out at me recently:

“Those who expect to reap
the blessings of freedom
must undergo
the fatigue of supporting it.”

To handle your money like a big boy or girl, in my experience, it will take 1 of 2 things, or both…..

1) your time/attention
2) your money towards someone else who will spend their time/attention on it.

And that’s ok, right? Isn’t that a small price to pay for having your mind free and clear in this area?

Thanks for reading this November edition of Beth Crittenden’s Financial Serenity newsletter. Here is a baby FAQ’s section:

Q: So, what it is that you do again?

A: I call it “financial organizing”. I help people look at the systems they currently have set up to track what is going on with their money. And I like talking with folks about the emotions and motivations behind their choices, instead of “just” looking at it through only a practical or logical lens.

Q: I think I’m doing sort of ok with my money. I mean, I don’t have as much as I would like, but nobody does, right?

A: I do love working with folks who *want* to improve their relationship with their money and how it flows. Everyone has the right to handle it on their own, as well as the right to avoid looking at it. We all deal with our issues in our own perfect timeline. I want to be there to support folks when the money issue is “up” for them and they’d like some compassionate and capable help in this area.

Q: Can you just do the bookkeeping for my business? I want someone else to just take care of it.

A: Yes and no. I do indeed do bookkeeping, and I quite like it. I’m a QuickBooks Certified User and can definitely help by categorizing monthly bank account transactions and sending you a report that shows you what is going in and out of the business. So I can take care of that part of it, but I still require that my clients be engaged with reviewing the reports and signing off on their accuracy. Small consistent doses of attention over time, I think, work SO much better than having a panic attack annually at taxtime and doing the Tasmanian Devil dance.

Q: I might want to work with you but don’t want to commit to anything yet. What can we do?

A: I know it is a big deal to let someone else in on the money realm. It can be intimate and delicate, and that’s part of why I genuinely love what I do! I offer all prospective clients a free 20-minute phone or Skype consultation, so they can tell me about what they would like to shift in their relationship with money. The only “commitment” is setting that appointment and then we can just chat and see how it goes. I truly want everyone to be free and clear in this area.