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Don’t Let “Things” Become Your Identity

Nothing can keep us locked in financial difficulties more than when our identity becomes associated with the things we own.

“Things” do not define who we are. You are not your home, your clothes, your cars, your toys, your club memberships, where you shop, etc. It doesn’t mean you can’t want or work for nice things that are meaningful to you or which we enjoy such as nice clothes, nice homes, etc. It just means we are not defined as who we are by them. 

If you allow your identity to be defined in that way you will always be caught in the comparison trap, trying to measure up while spending yourself into a huge financial hole.

Are your purchases associated with comparisons? Consider:

1.   Do you buy clothes that are right for you or are they what everybody is wearing? As a woman, I have to ask myself all the time, is this something that will complement my wardrobe and me or am I simply purchasing it because it is what everybody is wearing?

2.   How many of your purchases are determined by what other people have rather than what you need or want? Just because someone I know has updated their phone doesn’t mean I have to.

3.   Set your own budget boundaries. Say “No” to friends who are constantly eating out or shopping or stopping for that latte. If your budget says no, then you need to say no.

4.   Do you make purchases because you tell yourself you “deserve it”? You don’t deserve to be in debt. You deserve to have some financial security, but it requires making choices that are right for your long term goals.

5.   If your budget says you cannot afford anything new right now, stay away from the malls, don’t shop for Sunday afternoon recreation, and find other ways to spend time with friends. You are in charge of your wallet, your budget, your finances and your future.

Any company that outspends its income is going to be in financial trouble.  When we keep spending outside our ability to pay, we will eventually be in financial trouble. 

©2012 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

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