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Negotiating the New Normal. Part Three - Creativity

by Sarah McMurray Steps for Better Finances

Negotiating the New Normal. Part Three - Creativity

You’re completely clear about your situation, and you’ve practiced self-care. Soon you’ll Take Action. Before you do, I need you to understand creativity as it relates to your money.

I originally tried to write the Take Action blog posts with the creativity side woven in to each one. On editing them, I realised that Creativity is its own post. It’s not a step to take in its own right, but it is a guiding principle to follow any time that you take action. When I talk about creativity with money, I mean: making sure deep needs are met (while spending less or no money) being open to considering alternatives

Meeting Needs

Even with drastically reduced income, you still deserve to have your needs met. It’s often the thought of living in deprivation that (understandably) puts people off reducing their spending. Much of my work with clients is helping them to identify the real need that their spending meets, and figuring out how we can still meet that need while spending less or no money.

A need is not just the basics of life – food, shelter and safely. Needs are so much more than that. My mentor, Karen McCall, sums it up like this: “A want, when met, entertains you. A need, when met, sustains you.” For example, food is a need we all have. If we only look at the need for basic nutrition, then prison food would suffice for us all – it’s nutritionally balanced, and it only costs $5.70 per person per day. But food can be so much more than just fuel for our bodies. Food can be: an expression of love; an outlet for creativity; a reward; a way to express our culture and beliefs; a sensual experience of tastes, textures and temperatures; a way that we relax and spend our time; a key part of a celebration; a way to deal with boredom or uncomfortable emotions; something we just eat out of habit; or an important way that we connect and bond with others.
When you consider cutting your food costs, put some time into thinking: what needs does food meet for you apart from basic nutrition? Then consider – how could you meet those needs while spending less or no money? Get creative!

Sometimes there’s no way to meet the need without spending the money. In that case, it comes down to knowing what your priorities are, and getting creative in other areas of your life.

Being Open to Considering Alternatives

When we’re happy with how things are, we tend to regard change as a bad thing. To justify this thinking, it’s comforting to think of change as if it is a choice between two options: “Either I can live this high-cost existence, or I can live in shack, off-grid, and only eat vegetables that I grow myself. Well, the shack idea would never work, so I have to stick with how things are.” The good news is, there are many, many more options than just two.

With the change that has been forced upon us by Covid-19, you may need to consider new places to work, new types of work, or different places to live. You may need to suspend buying things that you thought defined you. Very few people undergo change like this willingly. But it is absolutely the kind of change that you may well look back on and be glad it happened. New people, places, values and opportunities will come to you because you make those changes. Bring a creative mindset, and allow yourself to be open to considering them.

Clarity, Self-Care and Creativity. With those pieces in place, you’re now ready to take action.

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