Here’s a phrase I hear frequently: “I can’t afford that.”
How often do you say or think this?
When I dig a little deeper, I often find that “I can’t afford that” is code for “That’s not a priority.”
“I can’t afford that” often isn’t even true. But we believe it because we haven’t consciously looked at what is most important to us.
Why awareness around our spending habits is a big part of conscious living.
Think about it. You might have no trouble spending money on a vacation, dinners out, or on the latest tech gadget, but might look at the cost of going back to school or attending a potentially life-changing event and unconsciously say “I can’t afford that.”
You do have the money. You’ve just chosen to prioritize other things.
Do your spending habits support your deepest values? For instance, let’s say that you want to be more spiritually attuned. Do you spend your disposable income on impulse purchases, sporting events, and junk food? Or do you spend on meditation classes, spiritual books, and going on a retreat?
“I can’t afford it” or “I don’t have time”
If you tell yourself you can’t afford something, that’s exactly what will happen. You won’t have the money because you are not committed to being able to afford it.
Let’s say that you want to travel the world in order to learn about other cultures. If you open to the possibility that you can make this happen, you’ll start looking for ways to afford it.
Perhaps you start saving a percentage of your income just for travel. You may decide to forego those expensive coffees out or bring your lunch to work. Maybe you look for low-cost volunteer opportunities abroad.
Those things add up!
Once you are conscious, you’ll see possibilities that you were once blind to.
Our choices reflect our values. How do you spend your money and time?
The exact same principles apply to our spending habits for our time.
It’s easy to spend a few hours in the evening watching TV or playing games on your phone and then tell yourself you don’t have time to exercise, read a book, or take that night class you’ve been wanting to sign up for.
You do have time. You’re just choosing to spend it differently.
Every person in the world has the exact same amount of time. Some achieve a lot in that time while others have little to show for it.
We all choose our spending habits for our time, whether we’re conscious or unconscious about it.
If you tell yourself you have no time, you are not being completely honest with yourself. The fact is, you’ve chosen to spend your time on something else.
It might be an unconscious choice, but it’s still a choice.
If we look at where we put our money, time, and focus, we might see that it’s not supporting our growth and creating the life that we really want.
This is why becoming conscious is so valuable. It’s easy to spend our money, time, and energy in unconscious ways on things that sound fun at the moment but are soon forgotten.
We can spend hours focusing on screens in a tuned-out state, feeling dull and depleted when we’re done.
Are you investing your time and money in ways that support you living a life that is rich with meaning and purpose?
What kind of life do you truly want to live now and in the future? Do you really want to spend your life collecting and taking care of material objects? This is what many of us do unconsciously.
Imagine other possibilities like giving back to your community, doing something creative, or mastering some skills.
Becoming clear about what we truly want helps us focus on consciously spending our time and money towards this end.
Try new spending habits for yourself!
Take some time to consider what you really want. This doesn’t have to be what you want for your whole life; it could be what you want for this week or month.
Then for the next few days, notice where you’re spending your time and money. Maybe keep a little notebook close by just for this.
Do your spending habits for your time and money support your goal or intended outcome? If not, do you want to make some changes?
Remember, it’s always your choice. In order to make choices that support your deepest desires, you first need to be conscious about what you’re choosing.