Why Do We Spend?

I recently received the following email and I wanted to share a part of it with you today because it has really stuck with me. He wrote:

“For me the practical side of making a budget has been eye opening. It has freed me to the point that I am no longer scared to look at my bank account any more. But on a slightly more heavier note… the “habit” of spending/overspending/indulgence spending is not something that, I personally, have been able to just overcome instantaneously because I have a good budget down on paper. Years and years of living from one salary to the next is so programmed into me… the adrenalin rush I get at the idea of having money again at the beginning of each month… is all something that needs to be addressed and looked at. My feeling is that there is often, not always, a “root” to the debt problem. What is the real reason that a person landed in that situation? For me personally, having the budget is super simple and easy… following it and sticking to it is taking every bit of strength in my body.”

My friend has been working so diligently for the last few months to get his financial life in order, and yet he is still struggling with the same issues that got him into debt in the first place. So this week I am going to be looking at the heart issue of spending money.

Why do we spend money? There is an easy checklist of reasons that I am sure that you can rattle off: out of necessity, for bills, to live, to take care of our families, for our health, for happiness, because we want something. These are the obvious answers, but there are so many reasons that aren’t as obvious like: we spend because we are stressed, because the high from shopping is addictive, we spend as a distraction from problems in our lives, out of a sense of obligation, out of impulse, or even to impress others. If all you do in your financial life is implement a budget to try to get you out of the mess you have made, but you never examine why you got into that mess in the first place… you will very quickly end up right back where you started.

So for the rest of this week, I am going to be writing about the reasons that we spend money. How do we get free from dangerous, self-destructive spending habits? How do we make space in our budgets to wean ourselves from these patterns instead of trying to quit cold turkey. Some habits are extremely hard to break and may even require healing. For example, some people spend because they have no idea who they are and so they are trying to be someone else. Money makes a horrible god, and yet it is always fighting to tell us who we are or aren’t, and what we should want. It is after our hearts.

When spending money has taken over your life and is in fact destroying your future, there is a heart issue that needs to be uncovered. Why do you spend money? I am talking about unbudgeted, unplanned money. What are the triggers in your life? It is interesting because if you know what sets you up for failure, it is a lot easier to set yourself up for success. It’s a good week to get free, friends. Ephesians 3:17 says that “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” So I am praying that the Holy Spirit will mess with all of our hearts this week and breathe His freedom into our spending habits. Spending money is a part of life, but discovering why you spend and what triggers you to spend might just liberate you from ever being controlled by your spending habits again.