I certainly was. We’re taught all kinds of rules around money and how we talk about it.
But are these money beliefs serving us? Are they even true? Well, we’re taking a deep look at them in this episode.
This week, I’m discussing how our money beliefs shape our spending habits. I’m sharing why I decided to love spending money and why no one will ever hear me say the words “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 40.
Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.
Well, hello friends, welcome back to the show. And I want to say thank you for joining me each week. And I really hope you’re finding value from this podcast. If you are I’d love to know about it, would you leave me a review on iTunes? Because I really love to connect with the ladies that I’m speaking with. I love to know how and what is really helping your journey to cutting back.
I recently received an email from Susan, and she writes, “Hey Sherry, just wanted to thank you for your great research and presentation on your podcast. I discovered your podcast this week and I have only listened to your first four episodes. But it’s Saturday night and I have only had the two small glasses of wine I have permitted myself to have when usually I’d be finishing off a whole bottle by now. I’ve spent years in a long pattern of daily overdrinking that I have not been able to curtail. I’m about to have a cup of tea before I go to bed. Truly a switch has been flipped. Your work is phenomenal.”
Well, thank you so much for writing me Susan and taking the time to tell me that. It really inspires me to keep going and putting more of this out into the world. And I just love knowing it’s connecting with you out there and it’s helping you on this journey.
So, on today’s episode we are going to be talking about money and particularly how we spend our money. Now, I know a lot of people, including myself, we have hang-ups and judgment around money. Some of us are taught not to talk about it, it’s a bad thing to talk about money, or that’s not a topic of conversation, or nobody should know about the money.
And how this topic came up was actually we were discussing it inside Epic You, one of my programs. It was amazing that the women in the group we were all kind of discussing our beliefs around money. And it’s interesting because we might not even notice they’re belief systems. We just assume they’re facts. It’s what we’ve been told about money growing up. And I know our parents were doing the best that they could and the best with what they knew.
But it’s really interesting how a lot of our thoughts around money actually don’t serve us. And they’re not even true which is fascinating because then we keep believing these same thoughts but actually not even investigating them, not even questioning them. We just assume that they are the facts. So, I want to share with you some beliefs that came up and I think you’ll find that you may have some of these beliefs too.
So how many of you were told money doesn’t grow on trees? It’s so interesting we’re told that. We’re not told that about many things. We don’t refer to trees and if they come from trees or not. But we are told a lot that money doesn’t grow on trees. And isn’t money made out of paper? And where does paper come from? I don’t know. Maybe money does grow on trees or come from trees. So, it’s so interesting that we would even say something about something growing on a tree.
If somebody says, “I want a nice car.” You don’t say, “Cars don’t grow on trees.” So why do we say this about money? I laugh because I just don’t think it’s a useful or helpful thought. So, let’s look at some other money beliefs. Maybe we’re told or maybe we assume money is hard to get. Maybe we feel or we’re told that only smart people make money or only if you’re lucky, or maybe that you have to be born into it. Maybe we were told that men are supposed to make the majority of the money, that they’re supposed to be the breadwinners of the household.
Maybe we were told that it’s just good to save money and never spend it, just keep saving, just keep saving. And here’s one almighty thought that I hear a lot and that’s, “I can afford that.” How many times have you said that or heard that? And I’m certainly going to come back to some of these beliefs here in a minute, but I want to keep going and talking about money because I think so many people, we get attached to the money. We get attached thinking it’s a measure of our self-worth.
Now, yes, you might have net worth but that doesn’t mean your self-worth, how much you’re worthy in the world. Just by being alive and being human, you are fully worthy. You cannot become more worthy as an individual, as a human. But so many people tie up their worth with their money or with money. I know so many people who think they’re not worthy because they don’t have enough money. And then on the flipside I know people who think they’re more worthy because they have more money.
And I also have friends and people I know in my life that it doesn’t matter how much money they have, they just feel worthy, which they are actually practicing the truth. Another hang-up around money I find is that people will think if I have more money I will be happier. Now, to a certain extent, yes, you are happier when you have food, and shelter, and the necessities for life. But there is a threshold, we know that once above a certain threshold more money does not equate to more happiness but yet our brain will still fight that.
When I say that out loud, does your brain go, yeah, but it would sure be nice to have more money? And I really think the brain thinks that it’s going to be happier with more money. But here’s the thing, if we have more money it does give you the opportunity to buy more things and to have more experiences. And when you buy things, of course you get that rush and that hit of dopamine but know that is totally temporary. That feeling will go away. That new car you loved, and you bought, that feeling will subside over time.
Or maybe you purchased something recently off of Amazon, it came to your door, you got excited for about 5, 10 minutes and the dopamine hit has already vanished. So, notice that more money does not change your baseline happiness. And I bet you we can all find people we know who have money but they’re still grumpy. And if those people got more money it’s not going to make them happier, they’re still going to be the same grouchy person they always are. It does not change baseline happiness beyond a certain threshold.
But our brain still holds onto the thought that well, maybe they’re wrong, maybe I’m different. But just know that money does not change your baseline happiness beyond a certain level. That is the fact. That is the truth. And here’s what’s even more interesting is that the more alcohol you have it’s been correlated to cause a decrease in your baseline happiness. This is your baseline happiness. So, as you drink more and more over the years, your internal happiness meter goes down because it causes changes to you brain, negative changes in your brain.
It decreases the grey matter in your brain. It decreases the size of the prefrontal cortex, which is where you have executive control over yourself and that’s why you feel like you can’t be in control of your drinking. You develop a dependency that doesn’t feel good. And that you keep going back because you just want that dopamine rush. It’s like your brain doesn’t know how to handle life and be happy without it, because the happiness factor has gone down. But here’s the thing when you’re chronically and constantly consuming the alcohol, you can’t see that.
It’s like a fish being in water, you just don’t notice you’re swimming in water. Your brain just doesn’t see that it could be better elsewhere. And that’s totally understandable because when you talk to anybody, myself included, I didn’t think a life with less alcohol was going to be attractive. I didn’t think that’s not the life that I really wanted because I really enjoyed the alcohol. I really enjoyed drinking, I loved it. I was like a fish swimming in water. I didn’t know it was better over there.
So, I continued to spend money on that because I’m like, well, this is how I get my pleasure, and this is the only thing I’m really finding pleasurable to do everyday so let’s just keep doing it. So therefore, I spent more money.
And when I think about money I want us to think about it as like it’s paper. It’s paper in our wallet. It technically by itself in a world outside of this world, it doesn’t have any value. It allows us to exchange this paper for something we want to procure, something we want to purchase, something we want to have, something we want to experience. So in of itself it’s meaningless until we use it to get something else. So, it’s a means to something else, a means to an ends.
So, when you use money as a means to the ends, you’re looking and spending on the end and so that end is what you value. So, I love looking at money and how we spend it because it tells us what we value. If you didn’t value it you wouldn’t spend money on it. So, I spent a lot of money on my drinking. I valued drinking. I have shared openly and previously that I spent $4,500 a year on alcohol when I did the math. So, I looked at my spend, groceries, outside with friends, out to dinners, networking events, socializing events, parties I’ve been to.
When I looked at how much I spent on alcohol it was a lot, a $9 bottle of chardonnay was my go to and sometimes it was more expensive because I couldn’t go to the cheapest place because they’d see me every single day. So, I often paid a premium at the liquor store or the convenience store, I’d pay a markup just to save face. So those cashiers aren’t like, “There’s that crazy lady again coming to buy her bottle of chardonnay or two”, because I was worried to buy more. I had to control the amount I bought because I didn’t trust myself around more.
So, when I did the math and I looked at how much money I spent on alcohol I was like, “Wow, I must really value this.” That is a lot of money to spend on a beverage. And I started to think it’s really interesting I’m spending this money on something that isn’t benefitting me long term. It actually makes me moody and cranky if I have too much in the moment and moody, cranky, and feeling terrible the next day about myself.
When I consume it, I know that it’s changing my brain pathways in a negative way. It decreases the grey matter. It decreases the prefrontal cortex. It also is linked to early dementia and early Alzheimer’s. And it’s been linked to at least 10, maybe 13 different types of cancer. It’s really not serving my health. And if one of my values is health and I’m exercising, and I’m doing all these things there’s this one area of my life where I’m going counter to that.
Now, you may say to yourself, yes, I know I spend more on it than I want to, but I really don’t want to know how much I spend. And to that I just want to ask, why? Because I feel that not knowing keeps us in that phase of well, it’s not that bad. It’s not as bad as so and so. Or I have friends that drink a lot more. And the brain goes into wanting to hide from it.
And here’s the thing, I know looking at the numbers isn’t going to be fun. This is not an exercise you do for fun. This is not something you do for pleasure. This is to get radically honest with yourself. How am I investing in this relationship with alcohol? How much am I investing? I mean we’re not even talking about the time spent drinking, we’re just looking at solely the value we place on it and how much we spend on it with our money. Because I was spending that money to keep the habit alive.
I was spending that money to ignore things that truly needed more attention, that I just really wasn’t willing to look at. And here’s the thing, I was shelling out money because I was in fear of looking at things that really needed to be fixed, and changed, and altered. And that fear just drove more alcohol consumption, which drove more spending. And it only proved to my brain that I couldn’t control this, this was beyond my control.
It just kept me spinning out, rather than when you get totally honest about, okay, here’s how alcohol is helping, numb out, feeling good for Fridays and Saturdays or all throughout the week or whatever. But then you’re like, here’s how it’s not helping me, how your body feels, how your brain feels, how your budget feels, all of that. When we can get a clearer picture do you know that of course it might not feel good? But those emotions are important because they’re going to tell you something. They’re going to tell you if it’s time to make change.
And really I wanted my brain to see the evidence that it’s time to make change. I kept waiting for motivation to come but motivation didn’t come. I had to see it on paper. I had to put the evidence down. And I had to get honest with myself. Is this the way I want to continue to spend the resource of my money? Is this something I valued? And if not, how would I pivot and change? And do I need money to spend on that option?
Now, there are plenty of free programs out there that you can get help, that you don’t need to spend money, but you’ll need to spend your time. You’ll need to make a commitment. And as I shared before, those free options didn’t feel like they resonated with me and who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to be around alcohol. I had different philosophies about it, and I was okay with that.
So, I went and invested in a program to help me get to where I wanted to get to. And for me that was by investing in a coach. It made sense to me because of my science brain that yes, this could work. It also was what I wanted. And if it’s what I wanted and what I valued then I’m willing to spend money on it. And thankfully I did because here’s what happened when I spent money on solving this issue for myself is that it worked. And now I save money every year. I’m no longer spending $4,500 a year on alcohol.
So, I like to think of it as I’m getting dividends every year and that’s just from a money perspective. Let’s talk about my health, my brain health is improved. My liver health is improved. My cellular health has improved because of course I’m not dowsing it with so much alcohol. And I don’t even know how to calculate how it’s improved my relationship with myself, my relationship with my daughter, my relationship with my husband, my relationship with my family members. It has radically given me back dividends.
I hang out with people as my true and authentic self. I don’t need to cover up who I am. I don’t need to be embarrassed about being nervous at a party or any of that. I could just be me. I didn’t know how to be me. I thought it was not cool to have these feelings that I was having. I thought feelings were uncool. And now I feel like I can handle life at a better level and challenges aren’t as scary to me as they used to be because my brain has overcome so many challenges. It’s like, yes, a challenge.
This is where you level up and you overcome, and no longer am I feeling like I’m sabotaging my health and my life. So, I love thinking about how do I spend my money. And my thoughts have dramatically changed since I’ve been doing this work. Now, I still have room for improvement. I still have hang-ups over things. And that was clearly apparent when we were talking about this in Epic You.
But I’m so glad I’ve progressed, and I’ve gotten rid of some of the toxic thoughts that kept me feeling stuck. And that I realized how they made me feel stuck so I’m no longer going to pass that on to future generations. So, there are certain things I no longer say in my vocabulary, and especially when I’m parenting my daughter. You’ll never hear me say that money doesn’t grow on trees. I actually think that’s totally false and terribly irrelevant. Why even talk about it? I don’t say college educations don’t grow on trees. I don’t say cars don’t grow on trees.
Why do we even have to talk about the trees? And in fact, I think money does come from trees. So, this is just preposterous to me that we would talk about it in such a way that really crushes people’s dreams. There is absolutely no upside to saying that. And after I’ve evaluated that and given that a lot of thought I’m like, gone from my vocabulary, never saying those words again. And I don’t want to think about money as being scarce or a lack.
Actually, I think the federal government keeps printing it, every time I read the newspaper, people are getting more money. So, we are creating more money. To talk about it from a scarcity mentality is crazy to me. There’s more billionaires now in the world than there have ever been. We keep producing money. So, I love thinking about how we might be wrong about our assumptions about money or our belief systems that we got from future generations that are not serving us where we are now.
And I’m not quite at the place where I find it particularly abundant but I’m moving in that direction, and it just makes me experience the life that I have now so much better. I’m not coming at it from scarcity and lack. Just like when you cut back on your drinking, so many people can’t do it because they come from the place of scarcity and lack. And when you come from a place of scarcity and lack, what do you do? You want more of it and you get greedy, and you get possessive.
I talked about how I was possessive of alcohol, I don’t want to be that way with alcohol. I don’t want to be that way with money. Now, that’s not to say I just spend it all. No, I honor it, just like I have a great relationship with alcohol now. I have a great relationship with money, and I know it’s only going to improve because I’m actively working on it. I love spending money. I love having money. I love saving money. I love giving money. I don’t think of this as you can only enjoy one part of the money cycle. You can enjoy all of it.
When I get my cell phone bill I am so delighted to pay it because I get the privilege of carrying around a cell phone, technology at my fingertips. I could call my daughter if I need to. I could call loved ones when I need to. It is the best bill in the world for me. I love paying my cell phone bill because I love what it gives me. It gives me a cell phone.
Now, here’s another thing, I also love paying my electric bill. I love air conditioning and I love heat when I need it, and when my body feels so much more comfortable when heat is there in the winter, and air conditioning is there in the summer. If I got grumpy about it, I’m only resisting what is and fighting how it works and saying I don’t want heat and I don’t want air conditioning. And I’m causing my own unhappiness by the way I think about it. I’d rather be the generator of my happiness, not the cause of my unhappiness, but how I increase my baseline happiness.
So, here’s another thought and words that will never come out of my mouth again and that is I can’t afford this, or we can’t afford this. Again, to me, no upside to this, this kills so many dreams and stomps on motivation and just totally derails what you want. It’s basically saying what you want you can’t have. And it really shuts down the brain. I’d rather think that, wait, maybe there is a way I could afford this. What if there was a way I could afford this? What if I could get scrappy? What if I could get creative? I really want something, and the price tag seems high, how can I get it?
So, when you say you can’t afford something it just shuts down the brain. We don’t even think it’s a possibility anymore. So instead of focusing on can’t afford it, how about, how could you afford it? Because that’s going to open up the creativity. That’s going to open up the floodgates of the brain saying, “If this is something I value, how can I attain it?”
I love a story that my coach tells is that somebody couldn’t afford her coaching program. And she says, “Give me 30 days, I’ll call you back and I’ll come, and I’ll be in your program.” She went out, she got scrappy, she got a job, she took money out of her 401(k), she did all these things. She invested in the program. She invested in herself. She learned the tools and the skills that then that investment just reaped so many other benefits downstream. She made that money back within a year and she invested in what she wanted. And that taught her brain that you can go after what you want.
And right now, there are so many jobs, everywhere you go I see ‘apply here’, ‘looking’, ‘hiring’. Everybody’s hiring, so just don’t use money as the excuse for not getting the life you want. There are so many modalities, so many ways to get the life you want. So, I’ll never say we can’t afford that, or I can’t afford that.
I love asking my daughter, “How can we afford this”, if she asks for something big. And I love it because it’s teaching her brain the capacity to think. It’s teaching her brain the capacity to be creative. And it’s telling her yes rather than shutting down no. Or maybe not yes, but at least maybe. And maybe is way better than a no, saying no shuts down creativity and we just think that’s the way life is but it’s not.
So, I love asking her instead, “How could we afford this?” And you know what sometimes she’ll come back with? “No, I didn’t really want it.” That tells me she didn’t really value it and actually she didn’t even really want it, she was just after the dopamine hit, this would feel good in the moment just to take this and carry it out of the store. But when I’m done and I’m home with it, no, probably not so much. It really helps her to identify how much do I want this. Do I really want this?
And now I think we’re getting to better questions. Not only that, we get to the real truth, if I really wanted it. And now she sees me as somebody who’s working with her to get her dreams, not as somebody who’s stomping on her dreams. And other times when I ask her, “How could we afford this”, she comes up with the most creative ways, way more creative than my brain would ever think.
That’s what I love about children, their brains aren’t socialized and conditioned just to think one way and to think so black and white, and so yes and no. They’re full of much more possibility. And I love it because her brain starts to evaluate things on a different level. And then she’s collecting money from this activity and an activity over there. And then she’s seeing how things can be made possible because anything you do starts with the belief with inside of you. And that’s where it all comes from.
Everything is a thought before it’s made real. Steve Jobs had the thought of an iPhone and he saw it in his visions in his head before he went and built it. And this is what I empower everybody to do, women, my family, just, “Hey, let’s think, if you really want something, how can you get it?” And it also takes the power out of money. It puts you back in charge of being the creator of the money, being willing to go out there and get it because it’s really not about the money. It’s about what the money can provide to you, and do you really want that?
So, money to me is not king, I no longer think about money as king anymore. It’s me. Money is just a tool to get what you want. It doesn’t make you more worthy or less worthy and beyond the basics it doesn’t add to your happiness factor. But money and how you spend it does tell you a lot about what you value.
Just think if you had cancer and you wanted it gone, you wanted to be cancer free you would pay whatever it took to get the cancer drugs, and the surgery, and the radiation because you value your life, you value your time here on this Earth. That would be most people’s way of reacting to cancer. And that’s the same mentality I had about solving my drinking issue. I just wanted to solve it. I just want it to be gone. And I will invest in myself to get there, and it pays back dividends every single year.
I still invest in coaching. I have multiple coaches right now helping me get to the things that I want in life. I see how it works and I see how I’m transformed in the process and the results of my life, and the experience of my life keeps getting better. And why do I need it? Because sometimes my brain gets stuck too. I can’t see things, I’m still the fish swimming in the water in certain areas of my life. And I don’t want to be swimming in this water. I want to be over there.
And when I get coached and my coach helps me see things a different way, in a new way, it blows my mind. I can’t even go back to my original way of thinking. And here’s the thing, I don’t need years of therapy to get there. Sometimes I get unstuck in a session or two. It’s fantastic. And maybe you have people like that in your life, that act as a coach, that give you new ideas and new ways of looking at things. And those people are gold to me.
But what I find is a lot of my friends just want to agree with me. They don’t challenge me to see it differently. They don’t give me solutions that I can see, rather they just sit and empathize with me. And that’s not bad, but it doesn’t take it to the next level. That’s why I value, and believe, and invest in coaching because I want to take it to the next level.
I don’t want to sit here if here doesn’t feel good because just realize, there’s a cost to everything. There is a cost to just staying here and in your pain. There is a cost to not getting what you want. There is a cost in your marriage to pay. There is a cost in your career to pay. There is a cost to your house that you have. There is a cost to the car that you drive. Everything has a cost. And I think it’s just so valuable as an exercise to say, “Hey, where am I spending my money? Is it on the things that I value? Or what am I valuing by how I’m spending my money?”
Are you spending your money on things that make you better? Are you spending on things that you actually want to have? Are you spending the money and actually getting the benefits of that money? How many people spend money on gym memberships but never go? Well, let’s get radically honest. Are you going to go or are you not? And the reason we don’t look is not because we don’t want to know. It may be because we already know and we’re not willing to experience the emotion that comes up by looking.
And I say you’re robbing yourself of such an opportunity that you can feel that because in your pain can lead to change. We all think we’re going to want to change from a place of feeling good. I’ll tell you where most change happens, from a place of feeling lousy because it’s a negative where you’re like, “I’m just sick of this pain, I want it to go away.” That’s when you take action. It’s actually the emotion that fuels the change, but we think it should come from motivation and feeling good.
And I love how the author, C.S. Lewis puts it in his quote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Isn’t that true? A lot of us don’t take action until it comes terribly painful. So, pain is something to pay attention to. And notice you can solve pain. You don’t have to carry it around with you for the rest of your life.
And just like pain, how you spend your money is something else you should pay attention to. Are you investing in yourself in the way you want to be? Is your spending in alignment with your values? I ask myself this regularly. I review credit card statements regularly. I want to know how I am spending my time and if it’s on the things that I value because I want to grow. I want to continue to learn. I don’t want to stagnate. I don’t want to go on autopilot with my spending or with my drinking.
I get to choose the relationship I have with alcohol just like I get to choose the relationship I have with my spending of my money. And for me I value myself, I value my health, I value the relationships in my life, and I value making a contribution to the world. All of that comes at a cost, a cost I love to pay with my time, my money, and my energy. And why do I love it? Because I’ve done the work to know exactly what I want in my life, and what I want my life to look like, and how I want to show up in my life. I don’t want any regrets when I get older.
And I’ll tell you what, doing this podcast each week is a beautiful investment for me. I enjoy spending the money it takes to produce it, the time it takes to write it and record it, the energy that it takes for me to expend, the creative pursuit that this offers, and all the benefit it’s providing for the women who are listening to it. I want to contribute to the world in this way. It is my choice. It’s about getting that richness in life that you want and getting rid of the dullness. And you do that by learning new skills, learning new tools, learning new ways to think so you have new behaviors.
So, you can control your mind and master your life, and you feel better along the way when you do all of that. And if you are wanting to learn more of these skills and tools from me, I invite you to check out my programs. I have two programs, How to Get Your Off Button Back as well as Drink Less Lifestyle, very different commitment levels and investment levels. I also offer private sessions as well as inner voice sessions.
All of these are ways that you can learn to break free from the mental bonds that are holding you back from living the highest version of yourself. You can check out all my programs and my offerings on my website www.drinklesslifestyle.com. Thank you for joining me this week and I’ll see you next week. Cheers.
Thanks for listening to Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with drinking now check out the free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. See you next week.