One of my favorite financial books is Brent Kessel’s gem It’s Not About the Money, which helps readers identify which of his eight financial archetypes they fall into. Mr. Kessel recognizes that most people’s financial situations have little to do with how much or how little money they have, and everything to do with how they relate to money. Before you can make lasting changes to your own financial status, you really do need to understand your own money mindset so that you can implement systems that work for you.
One of the archetypes that many Career Girls can relate to is the Pleasure Seeker. As the name suggests, Pleasure Seekers tend to view money as a means to enjoy life. These are the people who live the “good life,” and often have the philosophy that, “You can’t take it with you.” These are the friends we all want to have! The ones who are always up for sushi night, mani-pedis, a spa weekend, or a day of shopping. They drive nice cars, live in beautiful homes, and are always planning their next adventure.
The fact is, we are groomed by powerful marketing forces to be Pleasure Seekers. Nike urges us to “Just Do It.” L’Oreal tells us, “You’re Worth It.” BMW promises, “Sheer Driving Pleasure.” You’re called a tightwad if you don’t celebrate your inner Pleasure Seeker, and everywhere we find examples of people who were saving it for a rainy day, only to meet a tragic death before they enjoyed the fruits of their labor.
Here’s the rub: Pleasure Seekers are usually people who work very hard for their money, often in jobs or careers they hate. They use their suffering at work as the reason for their extravagant rewards, which in turns forces them to stay in the job they hate. It’s a vicious cycle. The key to tempering the financial strain of being a Pleasure Seeker is to find ways to introduce pleasure that don’t involve spending a dime.
Practical Ways to Manage a Pleasure Seeker Budget
If you are a Pleasure Seeker, you may find yourself with credit card debt that just doesn’t seem to go away. Perhaps you’ve run your balances up with gift shopping (with more than a couple To: Me, From: Me gifts in there, right?), thinking you’ll use your tax refund to pay it off, but then when that money rolls in, you give into temptation and spend it on something else fabulous. Sound familiar? Did I mention I’m a Pleasure Seeker? I know the things we tell ourselves that keep us in our unhealthy money cycles!
As long as you have that debt, you will not be financially free and your balance may very well outlive the pleasure you obtain from the things you purchased. Regardless of the pleasure you receive from spending the money, the weight of the debt (or lack of serious savings) can easily cancel it out. The best (and toughest) advice I can give you is to stop using the cards now.
Shore up your budget so that you can cover your basic needs with cash coming in, then throw as much money as you can at your debt until it’s gone. However, I don’t actually suggest you go cold-turkey with buying things that bring you pleasure. I simply ask that you put a limit on those things and make them part of your budget while you pay off that debt. I did it, so I know how hard it is. I can also tell you how awesome it feels to be debt-free — talk about pleasure!