my wealth worries

I have a spending problem. I have been spending above my means for almost as long as I’ve had full time work. I hate how much my financial well-being impacts my mental well-being. Money is just so materialistic, I’d like to think that I’m above it’s impacts on me but unfortunately I’m not that zen. Most of the blame is with me but I can also blame our capitalist/consumerist society for taking advantage of the irrationality of human behaviour.

my wealth worries

My first goal to help address this issue is to audit my spendings for the month of January, I need to know where my money is going before I can make measures to save. I’m also going to use my employee assistance program benefits to book some counselling around my finances, I have access to 6 sessions a year and this should help me get some goals in place. I’m also thinking of doing a financial education “6 step money makeover” offered by 10 thousand girl in 2016. If you want to see how my audit progresses you can check out my spreadsheet here.

I’m not exactly a poor person, I have a pretty reasonable salary of $74,400 (before tax) a year. Which equates to $37.65 an hour if you prefer comparing hourly rates. This puts me in about the middle of the road in regards to the Australian demographic. *(The average full-time wage is $74,724 before tax.May 8, 2014, Source: News Limited.)

My HECS debt is around $50,000, I have a loan for my motorbike and I’m currently paying off my dental work. I want to go on a 5 week holiday to Croatia in September and I want to get weight loss surgery. I think it will take me about 2 years to pay off my credit card debt if I chip away at it every month. I also want to save up for a deposit for some land in Tasmania.

You might be curious as to why I’m being so transparent, isn’t talking about salary a taboo subject? I reason that the more I share this the more support I can get and it’s obvious that I can’t do this on my own. Also I’ve already started talking about mental health which is also a taboo subject so the more I talk about these things, the easier it is to get support. I also don’t think I’m alone with my financial struggles (cool credit card in Australia infograph, credit card debt clock).

 

Anyway, what can you really do with this information? Judge me? You already are doing this. The risk is that I’m opening myself up to a social engineering security attack against my identity, the potential benefit is support working through my problems and maybe helping someone else.

my mindfulness stuff

I gave a short 5 minute talk about my depression in front of my whole company 2 weeks ago. I’ll take this opportunity to share what helps me try to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy is part of my treatment. It might not necessarily work for you but I think seeking professional help is a good step.

I try to meditate for 10 minutes a day at least 3 times a week. It’s small achievable goal for me that doesn’t make me feel overwhelmed and I don’t beat myself up over it if I don’t achieve it. The beating myself over it is something that I’ve had to unlearn. During this mindfulness session I try to focus on my breathing, the sensations around my nose and lungs, I might focus on my senses or focus on other parts of body.

I try to be mindful when having my morning cup of coffee, I find short black coffees help encourage this. I can explore the flavours, move the coffee around my mouth and explore different sensations, what is the after taste like? what does the crema look like? how does it smell? What type of roast do I think the beans are? These are all things I can explore with my coffee.

I have also been wearing a spire for nearly 3 months. The spire is a piece of wearable tech that monitors my breathing and is connected via bluetooth with my phone. It tells me when I’m being calm, focused, stressed or active.

Here are some screen shots of the app and an image of the device:

More info https://www.spire.io/

Have you noticed the mindful colouring books that seem to be popping up every where? I thought I would buy one and see what my spire would record while I coloured. It measured a calm streak while I coloured. The colouring book that I bought was a game of thrones themed book at least, I didn’t really like all of the over promising of the mindfulness colouring books.

I enjoyed Ruby Wax’s talk on Mindfulness

So if something might help people be more calm and mindful in their day to day life, why not give it a shot? Is there anything you try to keep mindful?