Lesson 9 - Financial Sobriety ToolsMay 23, 2023
Financial Sobriety Tools
What tools do you think of that you could use with your money?
Right away I think of using a tracking program, mindfulness and working out.
These might not be tools you think of when you think of your money.
Financial Sobriety Tools is the second foundation of Financial Sobriety School. I reach into my toolbox every single day for my Financial Sobriety. Tools can help you grow in your relationship with your money and your Financial Sobriety. Keep you grounded. Get you excited. Connect with your money.
Let’s start building a relationship with our money that is no longer something that is happening outside of us and something that is happening within.
The tools that I use the most in my Financial Sobriety are:
- Creating a spending plan
- Tracking my spending
- Daily mindfulness
- Celebrating my money
- Only using my debit card and not credit card
- Having a money date with myself and also with my husband
- Window of regulation
- Habit Tracker
- Money narratives check-in
These are a few examples of what I use to keep myself on track and accountable when it comes to my Financial Sobriety.
Creating a Spending Plan:
This is like creating a budget, instead of using the word budget I love the term spending plan as it gives you permission to CHOOSE what you are going to spend your money on. Here is a link to a template for a spending plan. You will gather information to know your income, your fixed expenses and your variable expenses. Variable expenses are expenses that can change month to month like groceries, eating out, gas etc.
Tracking your Spending:
Tracking my spending is CRUCIAL to your Financial Sobriety. When you create your spending plan you are creating a map of how you are going to spend your money. With tracking your spending it will let you know where you are on the map. It will help you know how much of your plan you left to spend on groceries, eating out, utilities etc. Here is a link to download my spending plan template: https://www.lindaparmar.com/spendingplan
You can use a spreadsheet to track your spending and you can also use an app. Some apps I recommend are:
You Need A Budget: https://www.ynab.com/
There are so many apps out there these days and asking friends or family what ones they use can be helpful as well as they can help you get them set up.
I have a morning practice that I do every morning and part of that practice is my daily mindfulness practice. I use the app Calm: https://www.calm.com/. I have used this for many years and I love it. There is also a free app called Insight Timer that I highly recommend as well: https://insighttimer.com/.
Having a mindfulness practice with our money will help us stay present, conscious and overall make better decisions with our money.
There is a meditation you can download that I did about money on my website: https://www.lindaparmar.com.
Journaling is one of my favourite pastimes overall in my recovery. I really love to connect to how I am feeling and get that pen to paper to explore what is going on within me. A good journal prompt to get you to start is: what is going well with my money? You could also ask yourself what you want to change with your money? If you start to go down a shame spiral take note on why you are feeling this. This will start the excavation of thoughts about money and shame.
Celebrating your money:
One of the journaling prompts I just gave was about what was going well with your money. Celebrating your money is SO IMPORTANT to your Financial Sobriety. When was the last time you heard someone be excited about money, or even proud? We often don’t think about it, we focus on what we feel like has gone wrong with our money. Maybe a daily practice of saying what you are celebrating about your money that day is a great place to start!
Debit card vs Credit card:
I only use my debit card unless I absolutely have to use my credit card for tickets to an event, parking etc. If it can come directly out of my bank account that is my first option. These days most of us have a visa debit card that we can use for online transactions to come right out of our bank accounts. My relationship with credit cards has proven to be a slippery slope so I avoid them if I can. Some people can use credit cards responsibly but at this moment I am not using them. I am so grateful that my husband and I have worked so hard over the past 5 years that we have finally paid of my credit cards, I like this feeling too much to go there again!
There is a great feature within credit cards that can work well if you are finding that you are using it too much, you can lock the account online so that no transactions will go through anymore. This is usually found within your banking app or your online banking.
Do you regularly look at your money? If not a money date is a great place to start to look at it, connect with it and understand what is actually going on with your money. I have a money date with myself where I compile on the information I want to talk about with my husband as we have a money date together as well. I love to have some time to myself to look at our balances online, have a look at our spending plan and our spending tracker to see how we are doing. I bring this information to our money date where we talk about it together and make sure we are both on the same page and have open communication about our money. This might something that sounds hard to do with a partner if you have one so maybe just starting on your own is a good place to start. Create a cozy space with comfy clothes, soft music, maybe your fave scent and take yourself on your first money date!
Window of Regulation:
This is a tool I learnt with the Trauma of Money Institute. It’s a great way to be able to check-in with yourself and see how regulated you are feeling before you make a decision with money. On a scale of 1 - 10 how regulated are you feeling? 1 being dissociated or not present and 10 being manic to hyper. Below is an image of the Window of Regulation. If you are finding you are at a 10, what are some tools you can use to help you get within the range that you feel in the right state to make a money decision.
What are some habits that you want to build with your money? It could be tracking your spending, checking your bank account daily or having a daily mindfulness practice. When I first start to introduce a new habit into my life I love to use a habit tracker. You can find them online or you can also find apps on your phone. The app I use is called Habit. Here is a list that has been compiled that have some great apps on it: https://www.lifehack.org/668261/best-habit-tracking-apps.
I LOVE BOOKS. I love audio books, e-books, hard covered books, soft covered books. You name them, I have them.
Here are some of my favourite money books:
- Money Love - Kate Northrup
- The Art of Money - Bari Tessler
- It’s not your money - Tosha Silver
- I will teach you to be rich - Ramit Sethi (also a show on Netflix)
- You are a badass at making money - Jen Sincero
Some of my fave books that aren’t directly related to money but can be a tool are:
- Burnout - Emily and Amelia Nogalski
- Atomic Habits - James Clear
- Dopamine Nation - Anna Lembke
Remember you don’t always have to buy the book. These days you can google the author and listen to them talk about it on podcasts and of course your local library because they will be free!
Money Narratives Check-in:
What are some common narratives that run through your mind about money? What are you constantly saying to yourself about money? Are the narratives that you are even thinking yours? Were they narratives that you heard growing up in your household or someone close to you?
Checking in with how we are talking to ourselves about money is huge. We imprint the negative thoughts and emotions about money and we have to manually bring in the good stuff. Our brains are wired to remember and ruminate over the same things, the same shame spiral can happen again, and again and again. How can you stop that rumination? What is something you want to say to yourself instead?
How do you want to talk to yourself about your money and Financial Sobriety?
These are my tried and true tools I use for my Financial Sobriety. Can you think of anymore that you can add to your list? Or maybe some that I have suggested but you want to put your own spin on it? The best thing about our Financial Sobriety is it is up to us what we choose to do and not do.
You have the power.
I can’t wait to hear how this supports your Financial Sobriety.
Financial Sobriety Expert