Even Dogs don't deserve Deprivation
Have you ever deprived yourself in order to meet your financial obligations? Looked at something you own that you feel slightly ashamed about, and thought, “Well, I’m just going to have to put up with it! There’s no money for that!”
Or have you taken the opposite track? Spent money you know you don’t have, because what you’re spending it on HAS to be bought, you (or your family) NEED it, and you’ll figure out the money later, somehow!
Many people present personal finance as if there are the only two options: deprivation, or denial of financial reality. You can either be frugal to the extreme, and push feelings of want, need or shame down as far as they will go, or else, spend up large and try to ignore the consequences.
I don't believe in the "two options" model of personal finance
Much of the work I do as a money coach involves helping clients get creative in meeting both their needs and their financial obligations.
And I’ve noticed that, when you're looking for it, this type of creativity can be found all around us.
Kelly O’Neill owns Happy Pawes Dog Day Care and Dog Training. As a trained Veterinary Nurse, she prides herself on meeting the needs of the animals in her care. As a business owner, she knows she can't meet these needs at any cost. She told me a story about taking in a dog who was nervous of other dogs. If she’d applied “deprivation mode” thinking to this situation, then then the nervous dog would have been put in with all the others and expected to get used to the situation. At the very least, the nervous dog would have had a miserable time; at the worst, it could have led to a fight between it and some of the other dogs. Depriving this dog of its need to feel safe was not an option for Kelly. The “meet needs at all costs” option was too expensive and impractical. It would have involved keeping the nervous dog segregated, with no way to get used to the other dogs; making exercise difficult; requiring more staff time looking after that one dog. This was also not an option. So Kelly and her staff got creative. They met the needs of the nervous dog by building it several “shelters” in the daycare room, where it could go and hide when it felt overwhelmed. The other dogs could still be smelt and heard, but the nervous dog didn’t have to interact with them if it didn’t want to. As time went on, the nervous dog used the shelters less and less, until they weren’t needed at all. Its need to feel safe was met with a few resources and a little creativity. If, like me, you are filled with compassion for this nervous dog, and love the way that Kelly and her team used their creativity to meet its needs, then try applying the same sort of creativity in meeting your own needs without harming yourself financially. If a nervous little dog deserves to have its needs met without blowing the bank, then you do too.