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Gratitude in Money Attitude: Being Grateful for What You Have
There was hardly any gratitude in my money attitude when I was growing up andI have always been uncomfortable with numbers, hated it even -- brushing it aside, pushing it away, running away from it -- especially when it comes in the form of money. I usually asked someone to deal with money matters until I discovered that it was this very attitude that contributed much to my constant lack of money. Avoiding numbers hindered my growth in financial management skills. It was very much later in life that I found myself “forced” into developing some basic money skills for the daily operations of our informal musical theater school.
I followed the basics, grudgingly and abhorred the task of planning, budgeting, filling-out columns, balancing, checking and the like. It became a stress factor for me. Instead of feeling good about accomplishing the task it only made me more depressed seeing how much money came in, how much money went out, with only very little remaining to go around with. It took a couple of more years to motivate me to learn more about saving and investing. I finally felt I had enough knowledge and skills to manage money better. Wrong. Something was still missing. The knowledge and skills had to come with the right attitude - gratitude in money attitude.
Author and financial planning expert Diane McCurdy states that there are four types of Money Attitude that people find themselves functioning with namely, the Spender, Builder, Saver, and Giver. She briefly describes them as follows:
- Spenders are those who enjoy buying things with their money or have something concrete. They like spending everything they have — or more.
- Savers are those who create a fortune in the bank very quickly, while still living a comfortable life, sometimes even on a tight salary.
- Builders see money as a tool. They use it (and sometimes risk it) to turn their dreams into reality investing their money wherever possible.
- Givers make up the volunteers, charity donors, and do-gooders of the world. They buy extravagant gifts for friends that they would never purchase for themselves, and deny their own wants so they can give to others.
I went through the descriptions and discovered that I used to be a Spender in my younger days, moved on to be a Giver, realized I needed to be a Saver, and then learned to be a Builder. McCurdy gave pointers on what steps one can take in order to balance off these Money Attitudes.
Spenders - Each month take out your allotted savings and expense money immediately. The rest is yours to spend however you wish.
Savers - Determine how much savings is "enough" to meet security needs while still allowing you to actually enjoy life along the way. Once you reach this number, keep your peace of mind but spend a little money on something nice that you deserve. Life is just too short.
Builders – While they make excellent mentors because of their creative endeavors they are prone to miscalculating the funds and risks that are involved in their projects and neglect to leave themselves a margin of error, just in case. Developing a portfolio is a building activity. Once Builders get interested in using their creativity here, they're on the escalator!
Givers - If you first take care of yourself, you'll be better suited to take care of others.
These were great tips which could be done by anyone with good discipline. Still, I felt something was not going right. Along the way I still found myself stressed out, burned out, spaced-out, conked out, down and out when it comes to dealing with money, with cash flow, with check flow, with anything and everything that had anything to do with numbers!
My Money Attitude
I found myself cursing numbers and in the process complained about why things had to come with numbers. Why did money have to come in numbers too?! One day a light bulb. Blink! That’s it. I resisted what is. I resisted that numbers are all part of life. I resisted the fact that without numbers there would be no way we could measure anything. We wouldn’t even know what is measurable or not. What is good and what is bad? What is black and what is white? The Yin and Yang principle – each need the other for them to exist! Relativity!
Here is where Gratitude comes in with a big smile on its face. Gratitude, for me, became the missing link to this whole Money Attitude bit. Gratitude draws in more of that which we are grateful about. And, thus, one day I decided to be grateful about numbers using the very thing that caused most of my anxiety --- money.
The Money Attitude Add-On
The moment I decided to make peace with numbers and money, I got a call from a client asking me to claim a down payment. Tadaaah! I felt it was the best time to carry out my plan and cash out the check immediately. To my surprise, they gave it to me in cash. Another “Tadaaaaah!”. I had to hold back my urge to let out a big laugh, amused at the way things were going.
I finally allowed myself to shed a tear the moment I reached home for it was then I realized how a grateful heart is honored by God, the source of all abundance. I went about executing my plan. I ceremoniously took out all the pieces of 1,000 and 500 peso bills amounting to 50,000 pesos and laid it out gently in front of me. I took the time to look at them and found varied emotions rushing out of me. A part of me wanted it, I part of me hated it, a part of me was bothered by it, a part of me begged for it, a part of me was embarrassed about it, and a part of me was just confused about it. I knew this was a necessary act for me to do, if only to bring my whole being into changing my view of money.
Warning: The following scenario may be too graphic for sensitive hearts and stomachs. No cuts were executed in order to retain the rawness of the experience and warrant the necessity of the actions to produce beneficial results. Please be advised to take necessary precautions.
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The Grateful Money Attitude Ceremony
The Thanksgiving. I simply came before God and thanked Him for the gift He had bestowed upon me through the money that now lay before me. I acknowledged that it was His way of providing for my needs and I was grateful because money is a tool with which I could carry out my mission in life.
The Grateful Acceptance. I found it hard to execute this part flawlessly as I struggled with the thought that I did not deserve this blessing. I had to make a choice and spoke the words out loud for me to hear myself clearly. “Father God, I accept the money with a grateful heart for it is through the talents which you have given me that allowed me to earn this amount.”
The Grateful Ownership. I moved on to hold all the money in my hand and acknowledged that they are mine to use wisely in order to fulfill my duties and obligations in this present life. I took time to do this part for I realized that most of my life I never took ownership of the money I received because they normally just passed by and be sent away to pay the bills. I never therefore, took time to savor the feeling of abundance, in fact, I denied myself that pleasure.
I used this time to be grateful once more for this beautiful feeling of literally having so much money in my hands in that present moment and enjoyed the experience as God watched amusingly and tenderly. I took ownership of the money and took the responsibility that went along with it and gave thanks once more for the trust that God had given to me.
The Grateful "Thanks" Giving. The previous step allowed me to feel all the richness that surrounded me and brought in a very generous feeling. In that moment, I took out my “bill purses”, where I normally put in the money allotted for paying my bills, and laid it out in proper order. I checked my list on dues and slowly counted the money required for each one. Before placing the money in the respective purse, I gave thanks again, this time with an added element.
You see, I hated paying bills to the seemingly arrogant utility companies. I blamed them for constantly ruining my cash flow. I detest seeing their warnings about overdue accounts or disconnection notices. I’ve avoided receiving such notices by being more conscientious in meeting deadlines which only caused me more stress. This anger blinded me from seeing the value of the service they were giving me – thus, this new perspective of paying the bills.
As I put the payment inside the purse I say phrases like, “Thank you God for giving me the chance to thank these people who make sure I am connected to the net. I pay them now as a way of showing my gratitude for the service they have accorded me. In this, manner, I too am helping make sure that the people who work for the company are paid on time.”
This perspective allowed me to find joy in paying my bills on time and with a grateful heart. Now, every time I use money to pay for any product or service, it is with a grateful heart that I do so.
The Grateful Opening. I ended the session with a grateful opening of the heart, body, mind and spirit. Numbers and money were no longer threats, enemies, nor evil entities. They were important tools that allowed me to do my share in creating a better world for everyone. All is well and I am now ready, wiling and able to accept all the numbers that come my way and all the money that goes along with it. Oh, and donations, of any kind, are readily accepted with full appreciation.
I believe putting Gratitude in Money Attitude gives more meaning to spending, saving, building, and giving. To paraphrase “the more you give with a grateful heart, the more you receive with a grateful heart” and that can only mean more grateful and happy people living in this world.
I am grateful for this chance to share what I know and pray that you too find gratitude in all that you do in money matters and beyond.
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