Most people would agree that women are in much better touch with their feelings than men. A woman’s feelings impact her romantic relationships, friendships, parenting style, diet, exercise routine, home decor, fashion sense, etc. Yet many women don’t realize they have feelings associated with money; their money emotions. Many experts claim money is not about finances, it’s about emotions. I think this particularly applies to women.
“People really do not have a clue at all. They think the reason they are miserable — that they are an emotional wreck — is because they have absolutely no money. They honestly think that if they had more money they would have fewer problems. The problem is that it’s not true! The reason they don’t have more money is because of how they feel about their life and who they are. Who you are determines what you have and get to keep. You define your money. You define the things around you. But money and the things around you can never truthfully define who you are.”
If that is true then women who are struggling with their finances would benefit from knowing more about how they feel about themselves. I’ve recently heard of “desire mapping” which is the exploration of how you actually want to feel as opposed to the pursuit of external goals. (FYI -I’ll be exploring desire mapping on my own and will report back.) There are many ways to get in touch with yourself; therapy, meditation, journaling, etc. The end goal, of course, is to course-correct your attitude toward a more empowered life, and by association a more positive mindset about money.
Today, I came up with an entertaining way to sort out what “money emotions” are driving our own purchase decisions. I call it the “What Type of Spending Bitch Are You?” NOTE: As a classy and sassy Lady myself, I’d like to encourage us all to take the “bitch” title back and make it our own. In fact, I recently learned there are 9o types of bitches. (Funny read, by the way.)
What Type of Spending Bitch Are You?
When women get too carried away with a specific emotion we might earn the descriptor “bitch.”. Angry bitch, crazy bitch, etc. Logic would say that if women attach emotions to money and emotions make us bitches, then all women who use money are bitches. Now it’s up to us to simply determine what kind a bitch are you so we can begin to understand what money emotions are driving your purchase decisions. From there, you can begin to assess your feelings and attitude about money on a larger, big picture scale. For now, let’s just look to spending patterns.
Try to imagine that you and a trusted girlfriend are shopping together. However, the twist is that you are the girlfriend, not yourself. You become an objective observer of yourself under various shopping scenarios. It could be grocery shopping, clothes shopping, or shoe shopping. If a purchase is involved, your “friend” comes with you to keep tabs on you. In fact, it’s good to run your observations under many types of spending scenarios. Does she act (or react) differently with small purchases as she does with large purchases? What types of words do she use when she is shopping? What’s her body language like? How does she seem before, during, and after a purchase? In short, try to pull outside of yourself and begin to analyze your money emotions.
The Stingy Bitch
We all know one of these, don’t we? The Stingy Bitch is the frugal shopper, the coupon queen, the dumpster diver. Now I’ll admit there is a lot of common sense about purchasing things at a discount. It’s money-saving, rational and a good practice. However, there is also the possibility that being stingy perpetuates a scarcity mindset. While the scarcity mindset does have a few benefits, Dr. Heshmat is quoted in a Psychology Today article to say “when you can afford so little, so many things need to be resisted. And resisting more temptations depletes the willpower. Poverty, at its very core, taxes self-control capacity. The poor lack freedom of mind. They are short, not just on cash but also on willpower.” Essentially, a financial scarcity mindset is the equivalent of always being on a diet. Starvation (of food or of material purchases) rarely achieves the desired effect, usually because of the backlash of spiteful or revenge spending. The Stingy Bitch might benefit from a savings account. Having money set aside can assuage the constant drain of penny-pinching.
The Angry Bitch
You might see this chick at the grocery store, slamming items into her cart. Or she’s the busy mom dragging her kids hastily in a out of the changing room during school shopping season. Quite publicly and without fear of embarrassment, she’s pissed off. She’s likely not happy with the chore of shopping or the relinquishment of her hard-earned money on necessary yet ordinary items. Hell, buying dish detergent isn’t a joyful exercise for many of us. However, for the Angry Bitch, shopping is a painful parting of the ways with her money. There is a underlying unhealthy relationship here that warrants some evaluation and intervention. Money is a tool for getting the things in life we need and want. It’s a useful tool but shouldn’t be held onto so closely to be angry to let it go.
The Jealous Bitch
You can find these bitches at the high-end malls or boutiques. These are the women who are constantly “keeping up with the Jones.” They see something that some other woman has and covet. They believe that acquiring that one special item will bring happiness. These are the trendy girls who feel an unwavering need to fit in. Self-esteem and confidence are usually lacking with this set. They might also be the ones to suffer high credit card balances because the benefits of retail therapy are fleeting and they find themselves back at the shops sooner than they can afford.
The Entitled Bitch
Whether associated with the backlash of a scarcity mindset or on its own, the Entitled Bitch shops with an air of self-imposed deserving. Whether she has the money saved or not matters little because this spender feels she’s done something to “earn” her prize. It’s a own thing to reward one’s diligence, it is quite another to splurge on items you can’t afford. The Entitled Bitch needs to own that self-care and rewards can come in many forms….and not all require a credit card.
The Indecisive Bitch
Oh, we all know this one too. She’s the type that either spends hours researching, debating, consulting prior to a purchase or frequently returns things. The Indecisive Bitch struggles with self-confidence. She may struggle due to a basic lack of the “big picture.” She likely get’s overwhelmed with the details of life. Visioning, goal-setting, and self-esteem building would be good exercises to improve an Indecisive Bitch’s attitude toward her life choices, including her money.
The Carefree Bitch
These are rare birds. They can shop like a motherf#cker with such a joie de vive that leaves the rest of us in the dust. The Carefree Bitch is what, I believe, many women aspire to. “I wish I could just buy whatever I want whenever I want.” It’s the secret wish among many of us. However, The Carefree Bitch really needs to dig deep to confirm two important things; first, that she can truly afford “anything at anytime” and, two, that she genuinely finds joy in the purchasing act. (See Entitled Bitch above.) The genuine Carefree Bitch suffers no consequence, no doubt, no fear, and no need to compete. Her money emotions come from a shiny, happy place.
I am, in no way, claiming any scientific or psychological credibility to this silly exercise of mine. But it is meant to help guide you in building awareness of what feelings you attached to money, and more specifically to your purchase decisions. As I look at the list above, I find each bitch living inside of me simultaneously, turning up at various points. For example, the other night I was a bit depressed that I broke off a romantic relationship. My Entitled Bitch brought to the grocery store, the Indecisive Bitch stood in the wine aisle paralyzed for 15 minutes and the Stingy Bitch paid the bill. (The Carefree Bitch was no where to be found.)
In short, women are driven by emotions. Their emotions impact their attitude about money. Their attitude about money is everything when it comes to managing their personal finances in a way that is positive, proactive, and helps them live a profitable life. You can’t be a Lady in the Black until you recognize the Bitch hiding within.