Years ago, I read The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. In one article, she wrote about how, when she was single, she would spend her money but would stop when her checking account was at $1000. For Dacyczyn, getting to that point signaled that she needed to stop spending until her next paycheck. She said that each person has their own comfort zone—that amount they do not want to go below. But, of course, Dacyczyn went on to be the tightwad princess long before it was chic to do so. She learned, as anyone can, how to leave your comfort zone for financial growth.
What Determines Your Comfort Zone
Your financial comfort zone is usually a reflection of your beliefs and the habits and behaviors of those around you. If you grew up poor, you might subconsciously be comfortable at that level. Even if you go on to make a high salary, you may overspend or give away your money to bring yourself back to your financial comfort zone. Not only is this the area where you’re comfortable, but it’s also where the rest of those around you are comfortable. If you successfully manage your money and are well-to-do, you may risk losing those around you. These factors are strong motivators to keep you in your financial comfort zone.
Leave Your Comfort Zone for Financial Growth
Most of us don’t realize these subconscious patterns. However, once you know why you act the way you do, you can take steps to leave your comfort zone for financial growth.
Examine & Challenge Your Beliefs
What money beliefs do you hold? Why do you keep those beliefs? Are they true? For instance, I have a close relative who looks down on anyone who makes a good salary. She sees them as uppity and believes life is easier for them because they make more money. She does not consider that these people may have more financial responsibility than her or live in a higher cost-of-living location. If this relative was interested in improving her financial situation, she should examine why she holds these beliefs. Likely these beliefs are holding her back financially because she doesn’t want to be seen as uppity.
Reframe Your Self-Talk
After you examine and challenge your money beliefs, examine your self-talk. We all have things we say to ourselves over and over. Unfortunately, these sayings are usually negative. For instance, you may tell yourself, “I’m no good with money management,” or “Having loans is normal in our modern society.”
Because you say these things to yourself over and over again, you believe them. However, they’re not the truth. You may not manage your money well currently, but you can learn and grow. You can read finance books and use budgeting software. Over time, you can become an excellent money manager. Instead of saying, “I’m no good with money management,” reframe your self-talk to, “I am smart and capable. I am a good money manager.” Just as you believe negative self-talk, if you have positive self-talk, you’ll believe that and bring about change in your life.
Learning to leave your comfort zone for financial growth is not easy and will take time. However, once you put in the hard work, you can break through your comfort zone and move to the next level of financial success.
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