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Why is it vital to work on your relationship with money in order to achieve your goals? And why is looking into your past important? It’s because you are unable to truly embrace the present or the future if your hands (or bank accounts) are taken up with carrying the past.

Do you have moments of money blindness? Money blindness is a term used in gambling circles; it’s when your perception of the value of money varies, sometimes drastically, depending on the situation. So, whereas $200 in your wallet may be a noticeable amount of money to you and you are careful spending it, you may not even give a second thought to spending $200 in a particular boutique, restaurant or bar, or when shopping online. Money blindness can be triggered in different areas. For some it could be in their social spending, for others it’s their image and clothing, or grocery shopping. Maybe you’re frugal to a fault when it comes to yourself, but a spendthrift when it’s for your children. Money blindness is often enabled by credit card use for purchases, since credit cards delay the emotional downside of spending money.

Here’s a quick exercise: Think of one negative financial pattern in your life. Instead of just getting frustrated at being caught in a cycle, consider this question… What’s the payoff for you when you do it? What void are you trying to fill? The answers you come up with will be your first glimpse into your unconscious money beliefs.

Here’s an example to illustrate: A woman has debt she’s trying to pay off, and she is doing her best to trim expenses… she takes her lunch to work, avoids the impulse buys at the checkout, and shops the sale items at the grocery store and pharmacy. But every time she walks by her favourite shoe store, her money blindness kicks in, and she emerges with a few pairs of gorgeous shoes. She gets home, and after ignoring the boxes for a while (she’s hoping by not looking at the purchases, they didn’t happen), she unpacks her new additions only to find she has other unworn pairs that can equally serve the purpose. She’d like to return the shoes she just bought, but alas, they were on final sale. She sighs and makes room for them in her overflowing closet. When her credit card bill comes in the following month, she gasps because she’s now $350 deeper in the hole! This depresses her, and opens her up to more therapeutic retail episodes, and more debt.

Now, I can hear the dimissive statements from the peanut gallery now: “Stop shopping for shoes!” or “Stop walking by that shoe store!” Unfortunately, that doesn’t address her problem, or the problem that so many of us experience. If you’re prone to money blindness, efforts to avoid one trigger (without properly addressing it) can cause another. So let’s look at this story again.

What’s the payoff for this shopper? What resides in her past to trigger this unconscious spending? Well, for one, this lady found herself looking back to her childhood and remembering money was tight in her family, and she kept her shoes until they wore out or she grew out of them. When a new size was needed, she wore her sister’s hand-me-down shoes. Her family couldn’t afford new or trendy shoes like the ones other kids wore in school. This made an impact on her, as she unconsciously equated beautiful new shoes with something that would make her feel like she belonged, and not an outcast. This is why she would, without realizing it, suspend her spending awareness when it came to shoes… like the spending never happened. But it did, and her mounting debt served as a reminder.

Where or when do you experience money blindness?

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