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Lesson 3 - Sober Spending

Apr 04, 2023

Welcome to lesson three, my favourite subject, Sober Spending. This is the fourth foundation in the seven foundations of Financial Sobriety School. I'll go through each foundation as the week's go on but  I wanted to start with Sober Spending, because as of today, you can actually register for a three-day class that I'm going to be hosting called Sober Spending, you can register for that today! It is at We're going to be having the class from April 19th -21st 2023.

I'm going to be hosting this time for you to be able to do some Sober Spending, have some experience with it, learn the foundation of Sober Spending, I'm so excited!  I wanted to tell you a little bit about what Sober Spending is. It's one of the biggest pieces overall with our money. Dealing with the emotions and dealing with the numbing out. All of this is a core foundation of Financial Sobriety. How we spend our money, how we plan to spend our money, and being able to actually pause when we're spending our money is really, really, really important.

We talked about what financial sobriety was in lesson one. A quick recap of that financial sobriety is coming to a place where you're making clear decisions, you are making mindful decisions, you are looking at your money, you are dealing with the behaviors and the compulsions with spending money, releasing past stuff that really isn’t serving you, you're starting to heal your relationship with money, you're coming to it from a clear, sober mind.


What is Sober Spending? Overall it is planning what you're going to spend and checking in with yourself when you do spend to ensure you are making clear, aligned, conscious decisions with your money.

Here are the steps to Sober Spending:

  • How much do you have to spend? (income)
  • Create a monthly spending plan (fixed and variable expenses)
  • Break down the spending plan to weekly spending
  • Plan your daily spending
  • Practice the power of the pause before you spend
  • What is your why behind the buy?
  • Is the spending in alignment with your spending plan and your goals?
  • Check in with what you need when you feel an impulse to spend

What my experience has been in my career is most people have no idea how much they make, spend, owe on credit cards, loans mortgages etc. This is one of the biggest reasons why I do the work that I do, to bring clarity on what you are doing with your money. What expenses are coming out of your paycheque? What is due and when? Not being late on bills and being mindful and planning exactly what is expected of your money.

Money needs you to be really, really specific with what you expect from it. Money needs clarity. Often, we receive a paycheque and we don’t know what is set to be paid in that pay period and next thing we know we don’t have any money left and bills are due. You are not alone if this is how you are doing it. That's how I used to do it. I have learned the hard way and know the importance of planning with your money. 

I recommend to do a spending plan for the month. When we're really starting our financial sobriety, I recommend to break that down per week, and then break it down daily. This is a great time to introduce the concept of a money date, you and your money (more to come in upcoming lessons), when you sit and have a money date you can get clear on how you are going to spend your money.

I believe in habit stacking. What I mean by this is, if there is something that you're doing a habit that you have every single day, just add something on top of that. For example, I have a morning practice that I do every morning. It is my meditations, my readings, my cards and journaling. I added  checking in with my money to my morning practice, stacked my habits.

What a daily check in could be is: is this where I expected it to be with money? What do I have to spend money on today? What do I have to spend money on this week? Seeing where you are on your spending plan. At first that feels like a lot but once you really get into the habit of it, it hardly takes any time at all. The most important thing is starting to make it a habit of looking at your money and planning.


When I started doing this with my morning ritual the most important piece would be meditating before I looked at my money, I would drop into my body, I would become present presence with my money. Being mindful is a big part of Sober Spending. When we feel triggered to spend money, feel an impulse I make sure I am taking some really big deep breaths. My affirmation that I say to myself all the time and got me through the toughest parts of my financial sobriety was ” I am safe, I am safe, I have a roof over my head, I have groceries, I have everything I need, I am safe” . Acknowledging what I do have and the safety that that has brought me has been so important because money can make us feel really, really unsafe. The embodiment piece of Sober Spending, connecting with your body is really big tool.

One step that is important, especially those of us who love online shopping is removing our credit cards from apps and websites we frequently spend money on. The BUY NOW buttons are way too easy.  I recommend that you take your credit cards off of those apps and those websites and only put on Pay Pal that's attached to your bank or your bank account or if you have a Visa debit put that card on there so it will automatically come out of your bank account. Let's remove the credit cards from our Sober Spending, if possible.

I have a mind hack that sometimes that really helps support people. If that urge is really there when you are online shopping you can put the item in your virtual shopping cart and leave it there. Don’t buy it. Put into place a 24-48-hour time period before you give yourself permission to buy it. Do you need it? Is it just a want? Was it an impulsive thought to buy it? On a scale of 1-10 how much do you actually need it? Usually by the time the 24-hour period is done, you remove the item and carry on. We actually still get the dopamine hit even if we just put it in our cart and don’t check it out! This can also be a slippery slope for people who have a true addiction to spending money, if that’s the case I recommend you put boundaries on what websites you visit.

Make sure you start to unsubscribe from emails and texts from retail emails.  We are living in a world where we are inundated with advertising. We are living in a consumer society that makes it normal to be in debt to buy everything.

We also have the option to break down payments with Afterpay services. The gift that keeps on giving. It is so tempting to use the service as the psychology of it makes you believe it will be affordable for you. The hard part is when you are then set up for 5 Afterpay’s and multiple payments you can’t afford. This is where focusing on Sober Spending is important. Being mindful. Being clear on how you are spending your money.

One of my trainings that I did with the Trauma of Money was so beautiful, Chantal had a quote that I loved, it is that any time before you buy something ask yourself “what is the why behind the buy?”. Get a notepad or a post it note and write “what is the why behind the buy”, put it on your computer, put it in your car, put them in different places of where you will see it when you spend money, what is the why behind the buy? Why am I doing this? What feeling? What am I trying to escape from? Am I Am I trying to numb out? Am I trying to leave my body? Where am I in my body? How am I feeling? Checking in with ourselves and what's beautiful about that as then we get to connect to our hearts a lot.

It feels so good when you feel proud of yourself for a decision that you make. As much as all of this is going to feel out of out of your comfort zone, when you start to feel like you're getting somewhere and you're making decisions that will feel so incredibly good

One of those things to point out is that if you're feeling like it feels too hard, and you kind of jump off the wagon a little bit. Just keep making the next right decision. Don't go into that shame spiral. What can you learn from this? What am I going to learn from this in my spending? And how can I use that lesson to move forward? This is Sober Spending.

It is really important that you are checking in with your moods and how you are feeling overall.  The acronym I use is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  Are you feeling any of those right now? What's going on? Do you actually need to maybe go for a walk? Do you need a snack? A nap? Some journaling? I love this tool as connecting your body and money is so powerful. When you are feeling any of those things, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired you could start to feel the impulse to spend money. What do you need right now? Connect to your heart and your body.

 Summarizing Sober Spending:


  • You're going to plan your spending, look at your money, what are your expenses coming out and making a spending, breaking it down into months, weeks, days? having a daily check in with your money.
  • What is the why behind the buy?
  • The 24-hour limit of putting things in carts if that resonates for you,
  • Pausing, checking in with your body, checking in with your mood, how are you feeling?
  • If you make a decision with your spending that you don't feel great about. That's okay. What can you learn from the decisions? Make the next right decision.
  • Making clear, planned, aligned decisions with your money.
  • Checking in with your body and your feelings.


If you want to be a part of the Sober Spending class, I would love for you to be there. It is open for registration now  The class will be from April 19-21, 2023. 

I would love to see you there!