Chocolate, planes and haircuts!

coaching finance money mindset personal lifestyle Jul 21, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, my blog talked about needs and wants and how we all have different priorities.

It's easy to look at how people are spending their money and make a quick judgement as to whether they've got their priorities right, but the truth is that we rarely know what is behind that spending, what makes that person "tick" and what true benefit they are getting out of it, so we are not best qualified to decide whether they are spending their money correctly.

Now, of course, if the absolute basics (food, utility bills etc) are not being met, or family is being neglected (kids left on their own rather than providing paid childcare, for example) as a result of spending, then more urgent action may be needed to help get the right balance, but this still doesn't mean we should judge and make assumptions, because it is quite likely that we don't know the back story, or the experiences that have preceded that behaviour.  Providing non-judgemental support is key.

But, essentials aside, we all have times when we have to make choices about our spending, that might meet with rolling eyes or disapproval from others. There might be a good reason for that....or there might not.

I would be the first to admit that there are many times in my life where I have spent money on things that, in hindsight, might not have been the best choices - perhaps providing instant gratification, but no long term joy or benefit.  FOMO is a big contributor here, and we have jumped in without really thinking about what we are truly going to get out of it.

In these cases, "buyers remorse" hits quickly, but by that time it is too late.  The credit card has been utilised, the cash has been spent and, unless you are disciplined about returning the goods for a refund, where possible, the funds have gone forever. 

It can be big purchases (one of my own was the boat I referred to in the previous blog) or it can be smaller spends - the impulse buys at the supermarket, or the takeaway coffee and cake.  Where these are causing financial frustrations further down the line, it is not just a case of discipline, but of working on the story and the mindset behind it, and then working on how best to flip that so that future choices serve you better.  Not sure if this is you?  Grab my money mindset checklist here!

But there are other things I have spent my money on, that would be considered frivolous, or downright ridiculous to some.  I've been accused of not having my priorities right, and of being "high maintenance" along the way.  But those accusations and comments are made without knowing everything behind my actions and the benefit that I get or got from them.

Two such areas of spending that I have shared with my facebook group recently are summarised below:

Back in 1991, I was 20 years old....married to a man who was made redundant 3 times in quick succession, as many were at that time, and with a mortgage that we were paying at rates of around 16%.  I was a couple of years into my first full time job with a starting salary commensurate with my age and experience at the time.
I decided, despite all the above, that I wanted to learn to fly. As you do!  I had dreams of being a fast jet pilot in the RAF (and I was actually part of the very first selection cohort of female fighter pilot applicants back in 1992!!).  Sadly, the RAF dream was curtailed - a story for another day!
Flying lessons were £72 an hour. Money I just didn't have. But I got it into my head I HAD to fly. I worked in an office 9-5, so I asked to shift that to 8.30-4.30 and took a job at the local chocolate factory on the production line 5-9pm, 5 days a week, at £4.65 an hour.
For every hour I worked packing chocolates, I could afford 2.5 minutes in a plane!
And we were also able to eat as much chocolate off the line as we wanted.....just as well, as I didn't have time to eat dinner!!  In addition to the job in the chocolate factory, I worked Saturdays in our local branch of Littlewoods on the customer service desk.
I was absolutely determined to have those flying lessons, and for six months I worked my hardest to facilitate them.  It was a ridiculous notion to some, a downright irresponsible one to others.   I was exhausted from all the hours at the various jobs.  Could I have made better use of the money I earned?  Define "better".  I could certainly have made different use of it but I learned to fly, and loved it. And having done it, no one can take that experience away from me.  I did make the "sensible" choices longer term (certainly as far as flying was concerned) and didn't continue the necessary annual flying hours to maintain my licence.  Children came along, and my time, energy and money was diverted promptly!
The other, perhaps more relatable spend that I have is my 5 weekly appointment with the hairdresser.
11 years ago, my husband of 20 years left me. I was 39 but looked 59. I had put myself at the bottom of the pile for so long, and my hair told that story without the need for words.
Within a few weeks, I found myself wandering into a random local salon in my lunchbreak and I just cried. I had no idea what I wanted, I just knew I needed to start somewhere in regaining "me".
I was at the worst point, financially, but the money I spent on that first appointment was an investment....and every 5-6 weeks since (lockdown aside), regardless whether I could really "afford" it, or not, I've continued with that investment in me and trust Claire 100% with my hair.
Could I get it done cheaper elsewhere? Yes. Have I been accused of getting my priorities wrong at times? Yes that too.
But do I regret a penny? Absolutely not.  The ongoing investment in myself is well worth the money spent, in my opinion.
We all have different priorities. One person's must have is another person's not bothered.
And that's what makes us all beautiful....
If you're interested in delving into the reasons behind your own spending, or you want to make changes in your money mindset to allow you to do things differently in the future, then get in touch.  My Money Mindset Fast-track course and 1:1 10 day kickstart coaching are just a couple of the ways in which you can work with me.


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