Recently I was working with a client to establish a budget for her to work with for the month of December. As we talked through the “numbers” of the budget, she began to realize where her money was going. She has a good job and reliable income. Her mortgage payment is relatively low for the area that she lives in, and she has a roommate that helps with the mortgage payment too. All this and she still is living paycheck-to-paycheck. When we would get to a specific category on her budget, she would articulate the amount she wanted to dedicate for that line item and then pause. She would see how the money available for other line items was diminishing with every decision. She constantly used the words, “I should, or I shouldn’t.”
For example, “I shouldn’t spend so much on vacation.” “I should budget more for pet care.” “I shouldn’t allocate that much money for projects.” I wanted to check in with her to see where the “shoulds and shouldn’ts" were coming from. She admitted that she was much like her dad and felt that she deserved to go on lots of vacations and that she shouldn’t have to wait to make plans. This line of thinking led to charges on the credit card towards the end of each month.
She was so distressed about the idea of living paycheck to paycheck. She said to me, “I’m in my 30s and I have a good job. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t have a healthy savings account and money for the things I want to do.” When I heard this, I asked her, “do you feel ashamed about living paycheck to paycheck?” She replied, “yes, I do.” We acknowledged the shame and I invited her to set it aside while we work together. I promised her that she could feel ashamed later if she wanted to, but only after we worked together for a while.
Being able to help this young woman identify that shame was driving her fear of over-drafting her accounts and spending more than she had was where transformational coaching started with this client. I commend her for being honest about her feelings with the intention of becoming more “grounded in her budget.”
As we get closer to a new year and you begin to think about what you want 2022 to look like consider, what is it that you’ve been wanting for a long time? What is standing in your way? What support do you need to get what you want? If you want some help in thinking through some of these questions, reach out to me. Your first coaching session with me transformational too!