The Psychology of Money and Toxic Spending Habits That Need a Kick

The Psychology of Money and Toxic Spending Habits That Need a Kick

by Christal Fuentes

Let’s be real, we’ve all been in spots where we didn’t value our money. In fact, most of us might be there now, and you know what?… that’s ok! Wherever you are is where you are and perfectly ok, but we have to start getting a grip on our money because money is energy.

I’ll repeat that again. MONEY IS ENERGY.

That means, how we manage our money (good or bad) will have a big impact on how we feel. So often I see women detach themselves from having a relationship with their money because they don’t think it’s personal. Actually, some of us may believe it’s selfish to have a relationship with money, but that is just a limiting belief and one we need to put in check very quickly.
But let’s be real, money talks are generally boring and don’t usually fit our specific needs right? I get it. trust me I do.

That is why Sarah Reigelhuth is such a gem to me. She has a way of connecting to whats actually going on (psychology) and filling in the gap of where you are (practical). She is the author of “Get Rich Slow” and also the founder of Wealth Enhancers and League of Extraordinary Women. It’s safe to say she is a BADASS female entrepreneur who is going to help you tap into your wealth.

Even if you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, she has some tips that will change not only your habits but also how to build sustainable wealth for you and yours. So without further ado, I introduce to you, my good friend, Sarah Riegelhuth!

TLC: First of all, please let these ladies know who you are and all the beautiful things you have created to empower women in business and money!

Sarah: I am a serial entrepreneur (having founded 8 companies with my husband, Finn Kelly), and I’m extremely passionate about helping people, especially women (I’m a proud feminist), create and live the life of their dreams. I guess the two main ways that I have found to help people best is through encouraging business and entrepreneurship and good personal financial management and education.

These are my conduits to help others, mainly because I personally live a dream life that Finn and I have created together over time, and have been able to do this through building purpose-led businesses. Meaning there is no real distinction between life and work, through good goals setting, financial planning and financial management for ourselves.

I also was fortunate enough to found the League of Extraordinary Women, with three incredible female Australian entrepreneurs (Sheryl Thai, Liz Atkinson, and Marie Cruz). Destiny brought us together and the work we have been able to do to support young female entrepreneurs has been nothing short of amazing. It has been an amazing journey and for the most part, I feel like the movement has had a life of its own and we’ve been lucky enough to be taken along for the ride. The world needed what we brought when we did, and everything exploded from there!
Sarah Friends

TLC: You wrote a book called “Get Rich Slow” which we featured on a past TLC Reading Corner, but I’d like to know the reasoning of the title especially in a time where people gravitate towards the fastest ways to make money.

Sarah: Get Rich Slow is all about creating long-term sustainable wealth, and although that may not be as exciting or immediately grab you the way all the ‘get rich quick’ schemes out there do… it works. The title came to me as I was writing it because I was writing about what had worked for me (and the many financial planning clients I had worked with to that point).

Essentially what works is the polar opposite of getting rich quick. So many people are waiting for a windfall of some description for them to become wealthy when all they really need to do is start doing something with their money. Small steps repeated add up to a lot over time, in this way your future wealth is guaranteed, rather than just a hope.

TLC: What I love about your book is you talk about money as a relationship, and TLC is ALLL about relationships. You approached each chapter the same way I’d approach someone I am coaching on how to have a better intimate relationship. What are the most common limiting beliefs about money you see in women, and what is it doing to their lives?

Sarah book signing
Sarah: I think sadly many women take little initiative with their finances and financial planning because they are waiting until they settle down with someone. I won’t go as far as saying that they are waiting for a man to save them, as I do think that has changed a lot in the past decades, and I believe the intention in most cases is for them to be a healthy contributor to the household. However, there’s still a lot of apathy amongst young women about getting themselves sorted financially now. Before they have met that special someone.

Generally, also women are just waiting until later, using the excuse of wanting to just enjoy life now ‘while they are young’ and believing that somehow their finances will magically sort themselves out some unknown point in time in the future. I can tell you, it’s not going to happen until you make it happen!

Finally, I’d say fear is a big detractor. There are those in debt and living hand to mouth each week, but on the flip side there are women who are actually really good savers, but they simply leave all of their money in cash and don’t start investing due to a fear of the unknown. This is understandable because there are risks with all investments (whether it’s property or shares), however, the certainty of staying in cash is that your savings will never keep up with inflation so, as we say at Wealth Enhancers, you’ll go broke safely!

TLC: What made you want to become a Financial Advisor in the first place? What made this profession your mission?

Sarah: My father actually, he was a Financial Advisor and I started working with him very early on as a side job while I was studying IT but very quickly learned about what he did in his business and become very excited by it. This profession is all about helping people, it’s about sitting down with them and getting to know their fears, their hopes, and their dreams, and then going away and finding a way to make those dreams come true for them. I like the challenge and the problem-solving nature, but over time I really fell in love with the psychology of it all.

I learned quickly that the best financial plan in the world is useless if the person leaves your office and doesn’t execute it! The real challenge – and it is HUGE for Financial Advisors, is to tap into the mindset of their clients and help them to adapt and create behaviors that are positive and result in good financial outcomes.

It’s so much harder than I could have imagined early on, but it’s the human side of this profession that I ultimately fell in love with. There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone overcome their demons, shed those limiting beliefs and go on to create success and abundance in their lives.
Sarah on TV

TLC: What are 5 toxic money habits that need a big kick in the ass?

Sarah: Emotional spending. Shopping to make yourself feel better when things aren’t going your way is very dangerous! You’re jeopardizing your future life, all your hopes, and dreams because you had a bad day. Just like emotional eating, you’re setting yourself up for more tough times ahead by spending thoughtlessly to make yourself better, the likelihood is that the next day you’ll regret your purchase and then be even more upset that you’ve wasted money and blown off your goals. Avoid the shops (and the internet!) when you are down, and go for a walk or meditate instead.

Wasteful spending. This one’s a sneaky one and takes a little more work to kick. Essentially there are things that we all spend money on out of habit, that actually doesn’t provide us with any real value. An example would be buying a brand out of habit (let’s say at the supermarket) that is not on sale when an identical product right next to it is cheaper. It’s usually the small stuff that gets you here, and the way to find where you may be ‘wasting’ some of your hard earned cash is to do the following exercise for a week.

At every purchase you make, stop and ask yourself ‘am I getting value for this?’ – it’s a really simple question, but if the answer is no or not really, then leave it or find a cheaper option. This is not about being cheap or anything like that, it’s about being more deliberate with what you spend money on. Remember that the more you save on things you don’t really care about, the more you have to spend on the things that make you truly happy.

Credit card debt. Unless you pay your credit card off in full, every single month, then you need to read on. Credit cards are toxic, designed to entice you into spending more than you can afford so that you will have to pay interest on the money you have spent forever and a day! The banks are clever!

The easiest way to avoid this is to stop using a credit card altogether (I don’t use one at all, other than within my businesses in order to transact easily), or to only use it if you have the money in your bank account and can transfer it across to cover the purchase right away. If you do have a credit card that you owe money on, it’s time to cut that bad boy up and start paying it off.

Being too generous. If you reflect on your friendship group, you’ll often be able to identify the people who are very generous, always shouting a round of drinks or picking up the tab, and then there’ll be those who seem to disappear when the bill comes or get their calculator out to ensure they don’t contribute a dollar more than they need to toward the bill. You want to sit in the middle, pay your way of course, and be generous when there is a reason to be – like a birthday or to say thank you to someone. What you don’t want to be is the person that is being taken advantage of because of your generous nature. This is simply jeopardizing your future wealth, and for the main not being appreciated for what it is.

Simply not planning. Thinking that things will just work out and that you don’t need to make any kind of financial plans is the most dangerous thing you can do. The process of setting goals and making a plan to achieve them requires you to look at where you are now, and what you need to do to get to your goal. If you are not doing this with your finances, the likelihood of you ever getting there is low. I’m all for being a believer, putting it out there and manifesting, but I also know that for everything I have ever visualized and manifested and meditated on, I have also gone to work at it day in and day out. It simply won’t happen if you’re not willing to take some action toward it. Intent + action = achievement.

TLC: What advice would you give someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, maybe has a family to raise, or just feels like they can’t catch up? How could they also build financial wealth?

Sarah: Start small. Really small. Even if it is just $10 a week into a bank account, it is something. At the end of a year you’ll have over $500 which may not seem like a lot, but if you’re living pay check to pay check it’s more than what you’ve got now. Start with preparing a budget. If you sign up for my newsletter at Get Rich Slow, I will email you a template, and go through everything that you spend your money on, do whatever you can to find just a little that you can put away into savings each week.

If you can’t find it in your current income, get creative and find a way to earn more money. Can you sell some old clothes or furniture on eBay? Could you pick up a part time job on the side, or is there something you can make and sell.

Find a way, there is always a way, and whatever extra you earn put straight into a savings account.

TLC: If there was ONE simple practice you’d like the ladies reading this to start today, what would that be?

Sarah: I have two! If you’re not saving any money at all, start. Just start and start small if you want to, but create a regular habit of putting some money from each of your pay checks away into another bank account and don’t touch it. I always say ‘pay yourself first’ and this refers to putting away your savings from your paycheck first before you do anything else like paying bills.

Secondly, ask yourself that value question every time you spend money. Am I getting value in return for the money I am spending?”  If you can build this into a habit you’ll be surprised over time how your relationship with money will start to change.
Being intentional and deliberate about how you spend your money shows you respect and how much you value yourself. After all, the money you earn is simply a representation of the work you do in the world.

TLC: Pay raises… we CRINGE at the thought of asking for it, but how can we overcome this fear and what is the best way to approach the boss?

Sarah: Being a boss, and having once been an employee who did ask for a pay rise, I can answer with both perspectives in mind!
The best way to ask for a pay rise, is to go in armed and confident, and the best way to feel armed and confident, is to prepare.
Think about it from your bosses perspective. They are trying to run a business, balance the books, make a profit and keep everything going. They are simply not going to give you a pay raise just because you want one.

That’s just not a good enough reason. And in fairness, if they did that every time someone asked, they’d probably go out of business. You need to make your case to them as to why you are going above and beyond what you initially agreed you would do (as your job) in return for what they are paying you (your salary). If you are just doing your job, what they asked you to do when you were hired, and not doing anything more than that, you need to ask yourself if you really deserve that pay rise.

If you know you are putting in extra hours, smashing your goals, and taking on other areas of responsibility, then you have a great case for requesting a pay rise. That’s what I did when I asked, I thankfully had a wise mentor who was a business owner herself, who said to me, “What are you doing that is more than what you agreed to do when you were hired?”  This really got me thinking, so I prepared a list of what I had achieved and what I had taken on additionally using my own initiative.

I also worked hard and picked an appropriate time to request a meeting. I let them know what the meeting was about when I requested it. I told them I wanted to review my position and my salary, that way everyone was aware of what was going to be discussed. You don’t want to ambush your boss as this will be, unlikely, well received. I was well prepared for the meeting. I told them how much I enjoyed working there, and went through the facts of what I thought would be a fair compensation for the work I was now doing, as opposed to what I’d been hired to do.

We negotiated a little (be prepared for that), but eventually agreed and I got the raise! It’s not easy, but if you are well prepared and stick to the facts, most bosses will be reasonable. Don’t get emotional and tell them you can’t afford to pay your rent or anything like that, it’s really is not their problem and is unlikely to yield the response you want.

TLC: Money isn’t really “acceptable” to have a relationship with among most women, but why is it so important to love your money?

Sarah: Loving your money ultimately means loving yourself. Think about it, money is what we receive in return for what we put out into the world – our work, our passion, our purpose. If we then treat our money with no value or respect, we are infact treating ourselves and the work we do with no value or respect. Likewise,  if we are not saving and investing and growing our wealth, we are subconsciously saying to ourselves, “I don’t care enough about my future self enough to bother preparing for it.” Not a good message we’re sending.

There is a stigma around money, and whether you should love it or hate it, or that it’s evil. It’s all rubbish. Money is simply our conduit to the life we want to live. We just need to respect it for what it can provide us with and ensure we are managing it in a way that will enable us to ultimately spend it on the things that we want for our lives.

TLC: If there was one word you’d like women to feel, what would it be?

Sarah: Empowered.

BONUS: What actionable would you like us to do for the next week, month, year?

Sarah: Make a plan. Start by writing down what you would like to achieve, by what date, and what the cost will be (how much you will need for the goal). You may have one big goal, or you may have many goals, It doesn’t matter as long as they are clear, all have a timeframe and a cost associated to them. Then divide the amount you need by the number of months you have between now and the goal, and this will give you a rough idea of how much you need to put away each month to achieve each goal. Set up a savings account for each goal and start saving toward them.

Better still read my book, Get Rich Slow! Even better still, find a Financial Adviser you’d like to work with (it’s totally ok to shop around until you find the right trusting relationship) and get the professional advice and guidance you need to really make actionable change in your life.

Christal Fuentes

about the author

Christal Fuentes

Christal is the Founder of The Ladies Coach. She lives and breathes her belief which is that you can’t find fulfillment in life without mastering the art of relationships.


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