Is it possible to take frugality too far? Does investing in your health and wellbeing cause you to panic? Can you keep on track toward your long term goals without making today a slog through suffering? Let's talk about Financial Anorexia. We've been reading a lot of blogs from extreme savers lately. On the one hand these folks are inspirational because they show how much people, in the name of their goal of financial freedom, are willing to break the shackles of out of control mainstream consumer culture. On the flip side, some of these extreme savers and heroes of frugality may be compelled by internal forces bordering on mental health issues. It's a question of knowing where you draw the line and also being able to stay on the side of it you intend, rather than getting dragged across it against your will.
I first heard the term "financial anorexia" on my favorite podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show - listen to this clip below. A listener wrote-in about how she has struggled with eating disorders in the past and after resolving those, she now finds herself unable to spend money on herself without fearing total loss of control - and she is compelled to deprive herself:
You came here to FiClub because you are also a strong believer in taking control of your finances, but don't let your finances take control of you either. Know where the line is between thoughtful frugality and pathological self-denial. Here's a simple prompt to help you explore:
If you budgeted an extra $500 per month on personal care (massage, coaching, yoga and exercise), how would that make you feel?
a). Like I'm bleeding money and I'd be a fool!
b). Ok, as long as I can still reach my goals
c). Who cares? Spend it before it rots!
Picture it as a scale between 1 to 10, between feeling anxious and feeling secure. Where do you believe that extra $500 spend will leave you on the 1-10 scale? Now, look at other areas of your spending, whether you are spending on a high rent vanity apartment, a lease on a new car, interest on credit cards. Compare the level of life satisfaction you receive per dollar spent and allow yourself to invest some of your money in your well-being.
The FiClub approach to managing expenses: make sure they reflect your true priorities. We help bring awareness to your spending patterns and your habits. We don't tell clients that all spending is wrong and we don't advocate stopping all spending in a knee-jerk manner. It's not a sustainable nor mentally healthy approach to life and your finances. We help clients make room for what matters most to them, and what they experience the greatest value from.
Let's say that you want to make a major shift in your life and that you want to invest in your health.Starting with how you eat, let's say you want to consult with a nutritionist, like our friend Chloe Labare in San Francisco. to create meal plans that will help your body, mind and energy to be optimized.There will be a cost for this service: your initial consultation ($125) and then $50 for the follow-up sessions you will need monthly to adapt your program. You will also be spending more initially on restocking your fridge and cupboard. This goes into your budget at the time you sign up. How do you feel about yourself now? Is there a residual guilt or anxiety about spending the money? Or do you feel more in control, like you are directing the money towards your purposes? With the FiClub coaching approach we hope to give you the skills and awareness to experience the latter and to free yourself from the constraints of financial anorexia or other limitations of habit and mindset. Our goal is for you to experience prosperity, at whatever level of wealth and income your life allows.
For Part II of our post, we're going to hear from our FiClub friend, Jennifer Chartier-Gardner, Co-Founder and Coach at Shift Holistics, a wellness collective based in Fenton, Michigan and founder of the Flint Chapter of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce:
Balancing Out Your YOU Book
When it comes to finances, it’s not always easy to spend money on your health and wellbeing. Maybe you have no problem spending money on a new outfit, getting our hair or nails done, a new set of golf clubs, or even a gym membership, but do you frequently avoid thinking about how beneficial it may be to invest in your mental and spiritual health? It’s easy to get caught up in family, work and life without regularly tending to those deep emotional wants that also deserve attention for your happiness. All those hidden aspects of you have to be dealt with, and since you haven’t dealt with them already, that means they are stuck there, like ghosts secretly behind your every mood swing.
You need help, everyone does. And it’s okay to be vulnerable and admit that…it’s a good starting point. You need something from someone else. Whether it be life coaching, therapy, a yoga or meditation class, a healing service, a new course on how to improve your relationships, or maybe a few new educational books, but you have a right or even an obligation to invest in yourself. We all do. If we do not continuously invest in ourselves and strive for more out of life, then we cannot grow in the ways that make us happy. So, if you want happiness, you have to invest in your health and wellbeing.
That’s where finances come in. If you are not financially stable, you are less likely to invest in yourself in the ways of mental or emotional capacity. But, if you do not invest in yourself in those ways, then you are less likely to become financially stable. Here why: A person who is tending to their mental, emotional and spiritual well being regularly, will encounter more gratitude, feel happier and experience more abundance. They will also feel like they have more purpose and more to give to others. People that invest in themselves also understand more joy and positivity in their lives, as well as more success in career and finances. Did you know that like a magnet, true happiness attracts more happiness? Which is why budgeting for your mental and spiritual must-haves is not only for self-preservation, but for exponential growth in life.
What would it feel like for you to budget for your emotional, mental or spiritual requirements? Maybe it looks like taking on a new practice; a coaching session twice a month; or a weekly massage. Surely, the financial cost is worth the gain to improve your stress, anxiety or overwhelm with any drama that lurks around the corners of your everyday life. Isn’t it worth it to take a breather, or to just experience what it means to be calm and still? To be present in the moment? To get in touch with WHO you are and not HOW you are?
There is huge value in what you will get from sitting and talking with a coach; or learning how meditation and breathing mindfully can enhance your sense of self-worth. When you can truly connect with yourself, then it’s worth spending the money, because your life is worth living to the fullest. That’s why you are here. So, find a way to cut back on extra spending on coffee or eating out, or buying unnecessary items at the store, and take control of your budget, because once you do that, it will be easy to enhance your wellbeing.