Sometimes a bad relationship with money can be traced back to experiences in your past. But you can decide what you want your relationship with money to look like in the future.

Have you ever thought about your first money memory and how those money experiences affected your adult life? It’s a pretty eye-opening experience, and for me, reflecting on my early money experiences has changed how I think about my money mistakes and my future money moves.

Money has always been tight in my life, as my father was in the military and my mom stayed at home with me. Many sacrifices were made to ensure that I had the best education and care.

Then, my parents divorced.

My mom was not prepared for the financial reality of taking care of our small family. She was a hard worker, but no matter how hard my mom worked it felt like it was never enough. For people who think that their children don’t notice the financial issues in the home, I would like to let you know we do.

After dozens of bad money decisions I got frustrated with feeling like I was the only person to have such a complicated and frustrating experience with money.

Looking back at my childhood I realize we always seemed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know a bill that comes due and your check is too small. Or the monthly budget is off by $50 and the difference in the budget could be groceries or the potential of a bounced check.

My mom worked a number of jobs and went to college at the same time while taking care of me. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her.

Money has always been experienced negatively in my life. I’ve associated it with stress, fear and nervousness. When I left my home at 17 years old I was ill-equipped to manage credit, student loans and basically every other financial decision I was confronted with.

After dozens of bad money decisions, I got frustrated with feeling like I was the only person to have such a complicated and frustrating experience with money. I started reading personal finance blogs and connecting with other people who were also trying to figure out and change their money story.

I’ve learned that just having money isn’t enough to change your money script — your mentality has to be in line with your habits.

As time has gone on I’ve learned money is just money. It’s a tool that can be used to do good things or bad things. The problem with money is that it can have a lot of power over your life if you don’t know how to manage it well.

I’ve spent years working on educating myself about money, debt and finances in general. It has been a humbling, tiring and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned that just having money isn’t enough to change your money script — your mentality has to be in line with your habits.

I share my experiences with other people who’ve struggled with money because I understand and want to empower and educate people so they don’t make the same financial mistakes I have.

Slowly but surely my relationship with money has become a lot more manageable and I’ve gained clarity of purpose and focus along the way. I know what I want and I would like to help other people learn about money and rewrite their financial stories.

Written by Michelle Jackson, who blogs at The Shop My Closet Project and Colorado Luv Hub

Participation Pays Off: How would you describe your relationship with money? Positive? Negative? Complicated?

4 Responses to My Complicated Relationship With Money

  1. Calvin says:

    My relationship with money has been a mix between positive and negative. When I was younger I always knew I should save more but it seemed like I could never get over the hump. Now that I’m older I wish I could grab my younger self and be like,”Stop! Don’t buy that stupid thing!”. “Save for later and then get what you want”. I’m in a much better place now but I’m learning to let go of the past and focus aggressively on my finances.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Calvin. We hear from a lot of people who say they wish they’d made more of an effort to save when they were younger, when they didn’t have the serious financial obligations they have now. But it’s so great you recognize this now and are being mindful of the changes you want to make in your life. Keep working hard and we wish you success on this financial journey of yours.

  2. Madeline says:

    I have a love hate relationship with money, finances and budgeting. I have not been so fortunate to “scramble” to make ends meet always. But now in my 40s with a divorce and foreclosure, it’s been so very hard to maintain and actually make ends meet every month. I am on a fixed income due to permanent disability from an injury so I HAVE to be extremely frugal and diligent of my expenses and budget. It is the hardest thing I have had to learn and re-learn again and again. With the cost of living always on the rise, the income does not change and I bite my nails and cut coupons, share dinners to save and fore go lots of wants and think twice about the needs. Hoping to be in a better place sooner than later.

    • Hi Madeline, thanks for sharing your experience. I think you hit on something very insightful when you said budgeting and watching your expenses was something you have had to learn and re-learn. I think that’s true for many folks since the landscape of our personal finances usually changes quite a lot over the course of our lives. The budget that works one year might not work the next. It’s great you realize the fluidity in that and work hard to adjust as necessary and do what you have to do without giving up. That’s inspiring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This