If you're like me, didn't resort to toilet paper panic buys during the pandemic but also felt your unconscious money fears more acutely as well, it's a wake up call to take charge of your finances this year.
Panic buys as well as impulse buys have already been part of their lives, their insecurities show up when times are hard, they started hoarding to feel secure.
We're hardwired to resort to primitive lizard brain thinking under stress, those who have resisted the fatalistic "I'm going to die anyway" mentality and kept being optimistic, kept on budget, will now reap more rewards moving forward.
I'm also guilty of some impulse buys during lockdown, things I can pay off easily and won't sink me into debt, things I wanted and not what I needed.
By budgeting, I managed to shift them into the areas I needed, for example my business.
Forgive yourself if that's the case, being locked up with no physical human connection and having so many unpredictable adjustments fall on us suddenly can stress out the best of us.
Regiments are soothing and that's why good habits such as budgeting can help us destress.
We know better now so we start doing better now.
The way I see it is most people use some form of self medication. Some shop, some eat, some drink, some do drugs, some smoke, some daydream, some escape from reality into their imaginations.
There's of course a whole bunch of moral correctness attached to it all as well.
Sometimes, even vague ideas around money like suspicions you might not have enough to retire on, suspect you're a spendthrift or holding onto this idea of free spiritedness can sabotage your goals.
Money seem so meticulous and uptight, therefore intimidating and counterintuitive to who you see yourself to be, this cognitive dissonance can stop you from taking the first step into financial freedom.
I know this because I'm a free spirited person and I'm a creative, so those boring as hell money coaches really put me to sleep, they're uptight, joyless and I see how they have subconscious money fears themselves, them not getting it is assuring for me.
My strength is how I master my mind to cope with fear and I'm way ahead of them in this category.
I might not be as savvy as them in some areas about money.
How to conquer fears, that is my domain, which can be used in every category, I need the information, method and the skills, they don't get to tell a winner how to win!
Without tapping into the strength of my superpower, my creative spatial brain, I can't focus on the best way for me to learn as well.
So, I formulated my own way to do it instead.
I see so many who had lousy boundaries or no boundaries like my old self encountered disappointment, sometimes from those closest to them.
The people they thought would show up for them didn't, they might be surprised that the people they didn't think would, did as well.
Many are processing this grief of losing the support pillars and safety nets they thought they had, grappling with the realisation that they might have to be far more independent and self reliant than they ever thought.
It's also adjusting how they have ran fast and reckless with their relationships, these relationships didn't stand the test of tragedy. The disillusionment that comes with disloyal bailing by fair weathered people is one I'm familiar with as well.
It happened to me in 2016 and I had to draw boundaries with all of them, it was devastating for me at first, I was alone and dealing with the biggest life crisis I ever had and through that I learned how strong I really am.
Take heart, it does get better over time, through the clouds is a rainbow.
Whether it's having self doubt about your own ability to spot the right people to invest in or the regret of not nurturing good relationships more, we're all feeling the emotional whiplash that came with financial distress, including the insult of unliveable stimulus checks. We had to tap into our emergency funds and that is a setback no one is liking.
It makes us all realise how we can't depend on politicians, billionaire CEOs or the governments and corporations they run to show up for us as well.
Sometimes the regret might not be with specific individuals, it can be a larger sense of instability that we sense, feel and experience around us, that our nation is on much more shaky ground than we perceived it to be.
Sometimes, it's also what we experience directly, I already had to address two attempts at exploitation, where two online orders I made weren't delivered and it was proclaimed to be by two different sellers.
Consumer trust has gone way down and businesses will be affected for sure.
Some encountered people determined to stick to "the virus is a conspiracy theory", "mask wearing is a way for the government to control the people" or religious fanatics who refused to wear masks and want to pray the virus away.
This level of Qanon irrationality is as frightening as much as it's laughable.
We see frayed nerves, witness people who were on the end of sanity fall down the cliff and so many coming undone in various ways, the fear is as much spiritual warfare as it's people's energy going downhill, too many are sinking into despair.
Along with it are making the temptations to resort to evil far higher, way too many temptations to take shortcuts right now.
I hope that this period propelled you to take action like me, after I took stock of my finances, I realised I was in a better place than I thought and I was better with money than I suspected, that alone was reassuring.
I'm not close to my retirement goals and I need to still work hard at them, it's nice to know I made many right moves in that direction and will continue to do so.
It's also feeling helpless sometimes, for me it was worrying about how survivors are doing to the point of sleeplessness, trying not to let my survivor guilt take a hold of me and sink me into the depression I'm so familiar with as well.
It's actually the people who don't realise the full impact of COVID 19 and how it will start a K shaped economic recovery that aren't planning ahead and would be doing worse 2 years down the road.
Ignorance is bliss and the woke can bear the burden of foresight during these emergency situations.
We also see teens giving up on long term planning and YOLOing on things that don't contribute to their money making potential. Spending on superficial shallow things instead of holistic healing that has long term benefits for their mental health, investing in education and being open minded learners.
The worse part about people with a defeatist mentality isn't about viewing them giving up, at least for me it ain't, it's witnessing them spiralling and how they aren't always aware of their impact on others.
Remember to breathe.
By taking steps to ensure your financial outlook is robust, it can help ease some of the regrets we had about helping people who abandoned us and ease the guilt of being unable to do more when we REALLY want to.
I know my largest expense was never frivolous luxury but charitable donations, it took up a whole chunk. By scaling back to doable levels now, working on the ares I need to, I always end up doing more in the end.
Holding onto that want gave me more motivation, it gave me hope.
Remember, it's OK to focus on your own life and pay yourself first. Budgeting also includes noticing lost paid opportunities when you're busy doing unpaid volunteer work and didn't have the bandwidth to focus on paid work instead.
Volunteer work must always be done genuinely and unconditionally, with no expectations of rewards. The more you didn't expect rewards, the more comfortable it can be to adjust now, I did it quickly because my mindset was in the right place.
When we expected rewards and get them, sometimes it's the external validation that comes with success that ruins us. They keep us stuck on things we shouldn't do and neglect things we should do, it hides the things we need to do amongst the things we want to do.
During this time, we will see our needs shift into the wants category, this is a good sign that you're adapting and going to do well.
It's easy to revert to old patterns of fear driven thinking during this time, people like me who invested heavily on healing during previous years can start to ruminate and find it hard to take action.
Healing isn't linear, conditions outside our control can threaten to force us back into lizard brain thinking and stay inside the comfort zone of unhealthy habits.
Understand that all kinds of unhealthy coping mechanisms were past survival methods and can still be survival methods now, therapy isn't meant to be rigid but custom tailored to your priorities right now.
Whether you're using emotional eating to cope, shopping to cope, it's OK to rein it in so you can spend comfortably on the things that matter to you.
By learning to delay gratification by addressing fear, you start to make wiser long term decisions that you can be proud of many years down the road, you're guaranteed to rock the year of the Ox and ride the bull run all the way to next year!
Blessings and prosperity to you!
Eshet chayil, God is a She
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