Let go of guilt, prioritise joy without breaking the bank

Spending unapologetically — your money, your pleasure, your choice.

OK, team, buckle up because we are diving straight into the heart of the matter.

This topic hits close to home for me, and I hope it resonates just as strongly with you. Face it: we need to make money one less thing to feel guilty about.

We are living in a complex era where we are bombarded with conflicting messages about money.

On one hand, we are told to be frugal and sensible, to pinch every penny. On the other hand we are surrounded by intense temptation, endless opportunities to spend and a constant barrage of social media influencers flaunting their latest purchases. It is like a never-ending game of "keeping up with the Joneses".

And let us not forget the time factor. Many of us are working longer hours and juggling multiple responsibilities, leaving little time to carefully consider every financial decision. It is no wonder we are all feeling confused, conflicted, and, frankly, exhausted when it comes to managing our money.

But here is the truth: Whether you earn $100 a week or $1000, many of us are simply spending more than we earn. The guilt is real and those nagging voices in our heads need to be silenced.

Yes, financial responsibility is important, yes we must sacrifice some things to ensure we are reaching our bigger goals, but we need to recognise that money is a tool for enhancing our lives not causing panic attacks in the supermarket aisle during the weekly shop!

So before we dive into discussions about our upbringing, personalities and the reasons behind our money habits, let us cut to the chase and start ditching the spending guilt first.

I have got a few key points that will kickstart that mindset journey today, and in the coming articles, we will delve deeper into each one and give you actionable strategies to reclaim your financial power.

 - Budgeting with purpose: Budgeting is not about depriving yourself of joy; it is about prioritising your spending based on what brings you happiness and fulfilment.

But here is the kicker — your budget will look different from your neighbours and that is OK. They have different passions and priorities, so ditch the comparison game.

 - Mindful spending: We live in a world of instant gratification, where impulse buys are as common as breathing. But practising mindfulness can help you become more aware of your spending habits and the emotional triggers behind them. It is about pausing and asking yourself: Does this purchase align with my values and bring me genuine joy? Do not be afraid to say no.

 - Breaking the justification cycle: Society loves to make us justify our spending — to friends, family, partners and even ourselves. But you do not owe anyone an explanation for how you choose to spend your money, as long as it is within your budget and brings you happiness. End of story.

 - Self-compassion: Feeling guilty or ashamed about our spending choices is all too common, but it is time to cut ourselves some slack. Practising self-compassion means understanding that it is OK to indulge in things that bring us joy, without falling into the trap of an all-or-nothing mindset. After all, moderation is key in all aspects of life, including money management.

Your financial journey is uniquely yours, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to money management. By embracing guilt-free spending and prioritising joy in your budgeting, you can create a more fulfilling and empowered relationship with your money.

 - Becky Runga, who is a financial adviser (mortgages) at Mortgageme in Dunedin, has launched a podcast entitled Broke to Brilliant, with the support of Mortgageme and OAR FM.