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When I turned 15 I got my first part-time job, waitressing in a pub for Sunday lunch. I would save up my wages every week and use them to buy clothes from my favourite sports shop in town. My favourite brands as a teenager were Quicksilver, Roxy, Vans and other skate/surf brands.
Every time I came home with a new t-shirt I’d proudly purchased with the money I’d saved up, I was immediately made to feel shame by my parents and grandparents.
“You paid HOW MUCH for a T-shirt?”
“You could get one for 1/5 of the price at Tesco”
“You’re only paying for brand name”
This didn’t stop as I got older either. In my 20s, as a fully grown and financially independent adult, I was made to feel guilty by my parents about spending my own money on a special souvenir from Tiffany & Co when I visited New York.
I learned from their reactions that paying more for a branded or luxury item when there was a cheaper alternative, and buying things I didn’t ‘need’ to survive, was indulgent and unnecessary.
My family weren’t poor either. It’s not like we couldn’t afford nice things. Yet somehow I was made to feel guilty when I wanted, or bought nice things just because I wanted them (thanks Catholic guilt!).
When I first started working with my coach, we talked through my sales calls and consulting process with new clients.
We identified that I was actively telling my clients to book fewer hours because they didn’t NEED more. I thought I was doing them a service by being honest and stopping them from booking a higher package than they needed.
Then she asked me – “What if they don’t need the higher package, but they just WANT it?”
My jaw dropped.
I’d been convincing people to spend less, even when they actually WANTED to pay more.
I was running two money stories that I’d been hearing since childhood:
“you only buy what you need”
“it’s bad to want something if you don’t actually need it”.
So let me ask you:
Where are you blocking money from coming to you?
What stories about money or having financial success are you telling yourself?
You can journal your answers, meditate on them, answer them in your head or talk them through with a trusted friend or coach.
Further Mindset Reading