I was having a conversation with one of my closest friends this week about spending money. She’s someone I lovingly teased when at craft night years ago she showed up with socks to darn and undies to mend instead of the thrift store frame + newly bought modge podge + various purchases for whatever later-unused and objectively ugly thing I probably created. Not that I judge my visually creative pursuits harshly or anything.
Anyway, my friend and I were talking about how thriftiness, a concept that very much describes her, can be rooted in scarcity, but it can also be rooted in abundance. She’s been using the same travel mug and water bottle since I met her 5+ years ago. I suspect it’s way older than that. Retail therapy is probably the last coping skill she’d engage in.
She’s not scared about money; she’s thoughtful, measured, clear. As a result, spending money doesn’t have to feel guilt-inducing or exciting. Spending doesn’t fill an emptiness for her. (Don’t get jealous, I’ll be sharing her secret in a minute).
I’ve been on the scarcity side of thriftiness. I spent most of my life there. It feels awful but very noble. Responsible. Commendable. Which almost makes up for the fear of it but not quite.
Let’s look at the opposite, generosity. Sounds abundant, right? Not always. I’ve also hung out on the scarcity side of generosity. Scarcity-based generosity looks like poor boundaries. It looks like being desperate to be liked. It looks like martyrdom. Blech!
Abundant generosity is responsible. It flows. It’s thoughtful. It comes from being able and fully willing. It has healthy boundaries. It’s exciting.
What makes the difference? Values. Intentionality. You ACT clinicians are nodding your heads.
I have some work for all of you. Take a few minutes here. What are your priorities in life and in business? Get clear. Write it down.
What d’you think, is your spending congruent with those priorities?
No really, sign in to your bank accounts and actually look. If I looked at your list of priorities and your bank account would they match up?
Is your goal to build your practice and get more clients? Does your money show that or does it show that you got upset about not having as many clients as you wanted, bought 3 shirts and a bottle of wine at Target, ordered a pizza, and rented something from iTunes. I am NOT here to knock clothes from Tar-jay, pizza, movies, and most certainly not wine, but I do want to know if that moved your needle forward. If you needed some self-compassion time that involved all those things to get your ass back in gear, your answer is yes and good for you. If it’s a habit of avoidance and unhelpful self-soothing, then I encourage you to take a beat and renegotiate your evening routine.
Ask yourself: where are you investing your time and money to get closer to your goals? Sometimes there’s legitimately no money to invest and no credit score to allow you to borrow. Hopefully you’ve got some time to research and play with different marketing strategies.
Sometimes we hold on to money or allocate it for things that are short-sighted or scratch an itch. Band-aid-style. Does your bank account reflect that?
If there’s an opportunity like one of my practice-building groups that you know will get more clients in the door, please don’t lie to yourself and say you can’t afford it. Say it’s not your priority. If you’re trying to build your practice but not investing in something like consulting don’t spend on bullshit like takeout. I know I’m tired, too, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot here.
Not that I’ve always got it figured out. I had a huge aha last week.
Two weeks ago I wanted a new bathroom. Our new house had a seriously decked out (circa 1993) master bath and the space has such potential. I’ll do a video of it and post it on Instagram. There’s a lot about a new bathroom that fits within my values: I was raised by an artist and musician; I was raised to have an appreciation (though not a talent and historically not the money) for aesthetics. I want the calming spa-like feel of the bathrooms I pinned. What a nice foil for my frenetic energy!
As my eCourse sold over the course of last week, I watched the money to cover more than the remodel plop into my account. But a lot has happened in 2 weeks, and while I’m not writing off my beautiful bathroom dream, I’m clear that there are more values-based places that money can go. So I’m going to plop a little in the fund for the bathroom and build it slowly.
If you’re in the Abundance Practice Builders FB Group, you probably saw that I met my revenue goal at 7pm the night registration closed. 10% of those sales plus every penny thereafter was earmarked for non-profits. This community, you guys and me, we raised $7,000 to donate. Can you just absorb that with me for a minute? Seven THOUSAND. I have never ever ever considered that I’d be able to make that kind of donation. One of my mentors says, “Money is the power to do” and I REALLY feel that. I have never felt more accomplished in my life as when I tallied that donation number.
You know where I’m putting half of the income from the eCourse? Back in my business. Are you guys putting money into your business to spend on things that will propel you forward? I know some of you are saying “Well, I haven’t paid myself yet, so I guess so.” You’ll pay yourself, hopefully someday soon. But please remember to invest your money in line with your goals. It’s an incredible way to get farther faster. I’m astounded that I can sometimes get a 500% return on investment and that, my friends, means more money to play with, give with, and yes, eventually remodel a bathroom with.
What about you? What can you do differently with your money this week to get closer to your business or personal goals? Let us know in the comments!
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.