Wednesday, November 30, 2011

nickeled and dimed or why an abundance mindset can't support scarcity actions

Hubs and I are both self-employed, so health insurance is a big expense for us

(more than our mortgage actually).

We have had the same insurance for many years and for a long time the rates stayed the same unless one of us had one of those big birthdays, but the last couple years the rates have increased at random times.

Sooo, a couple months ago we received an increase notice ... again ... and I called them to see if they had any comparable but less expensive plans and long story short (actually longer story long) I switched us to a cheaper policy with a $1000 deductible - my thinking was that we would be saving $1200 and had rarely had any medical expenses (other than a few biggies last year that would not be repeated) and even if we did - we would still be saving money

and in theory this was all true.

But in actuality, what happened was that the very month I switched the insurance hubby spent the night in the hospital which cost $9500 - yes, you read that right - one night in the hospital with tests = $9500.

(no jacuzzi, turn down service or chocolate on his pillow either)

My decision to switch policies which looked like a no brainer cost us $1000 in one month rather than $1200 over 12 months which would have been easier to budget, create money to pay for, create time to shop around for something better .... and well, just stomach.

This kind of thing has happened to me before. Switch cell phone plans to save money and end up paying more somehow, buy a slightly cheaper whoseewhatsee to save a couple dollars and it never works as well, take plastic bottles to the cash recycling center to make 20 bucks instead of putting them out at the curb and get into a car accident (not my fault) with an uninsured driver that costs me out of pocket my $500 deductible.

I could go on and on.


Whenever I set out to do something solely as a way to save money it almost always backfires on me.

Now, I am not sure it works this way for everyone. I think different people are here to learn different things (some people need to learn to save money or to spend less).

The lesson for me which life has been hitting me over the head with for years is to trust that the money will be there to pay for the things I need to pay for and to value myself in the process.

I didn't come from a family that said, "you can do it, if you believe you can", "buy quality", yada, yada.

My mother was more pragmatic - she always told me that I wanted too much, that I was headed for disappointment, that I needed to love what I already had (not something to be discounted by the way), to buy the lower priced items so you could get more.

It was the kind of scarcity mindset that she took away from her own life story and although this wasn't my story

these are the lessons encoded in my maternal DNA and there is always that little voice

(who do you think you are?)

when I really go for it telling me to be careful - "are you really going to buy that - shouldn't you check around first for a better price? do you really need all these cell phone minutes? those maple cabinets? why are you paying someone to do that when you can do that yourself?"

Maybe the reason the little steps to save pennies don't work is that we are applying scarcity thinking when we have already adapted an abundance mindset. We can not truly believe that life is supportive of us and then be willing to fight each other to our deaths over a $2.00 waffle maker.

(although I have been known to throw it down over a $2.00 waffle - this family really needs to learn to let go of my Eggo).

7 comments:

KJ said...

I swing wildly from pinching pennies to spending the extra bucks. I spend the extra bucks when quality is important. Nonetheless, I think about it all.

The parallel lesson is we all need less stuff. Less lotion, fewer sheet sets, less cleaning supplies, fewer shoes, smaller homes, less sugar... Somehow that is never an issue with books.

SummersStudio said...

This sounds pretty familiar to me. My parents grew up in the depression and had a string saving mind set to the extreme. For better or worse, I am a penny pincher. The worse side? Ending up replacing things because I bought the cheapo version. So I think maybe you are not the only one in this boat.

Catherine Ivins said...

yes KJ definitely- the less is more lesson comes more naturally to me - the expansiveness lesson comes harder - and books, yes can never have too many and the only thing I wish with my smaller house is that I had higher ceilings!

Catherine Ivins said...

yes, I have made more mistakes pinching pennies - I just think when we are trying to expand in one part of our lives it is hard to contract in another - it is almost like it backfires on us and this totally makes sense because we either believe in expansiveness or we don't ... we once had someone in our town incredibly in debt- bought an expensive home, filled it with credit card furniture, was about to lose it all ... and then won the lottery - we thought it seemed so unfair... but it makes sense metaphysically for these big, expansive thinkers - of course people who are buying to fill holes in their lives will always lose the stuff because it doesn't mean anything to them really ... and the lesson would probably be life showing them that they don't need the stuff- I think our lessons are different

Orion Designs said...

My mother was a penny-pincher and my father spent money like a drunken sailor (to quote my aunt). I think I inherited a bit of both.

I've learned the lesson about buying quality -- especially when it comes to big ticket items, like appliances.

But when I'm grocery shopping, I definitely look for the sales. I have a tiny house (<900 sq ft), so I really can't accumulate stuff, which is kind of a relief.

And about the health insurance? We are self employed also, and switched to the $10000 deductible last year too. It is our single biggest expense as well.

M.M.E. said...

This was such a great post! Have you read Tara Gentile's, 'The Art of Earning'? It speaks all about the abundance mindset. I personally have one more year on my parents' health care plan (thank you Obama for upping the age to 26!) and I'm already terrified what sort of insurance I'll be able to afford. But I have to accept the fact that the money will be there when I need it. :)

Catherine Ivins said...

I remember Suzie Orman (I'm too lazy to google her, I think this is how she spells it) saying that debt was the universe's belief in our future earning ability- she would probably not say this today since too many people would use it as a reason to buy things they can't afford- and I totally wasn't writing about THAT- just believing that - and obviously everyone has their own lessons here and I am just writing about my own - doing little nitpicky things strictly to save money while at the same time looking to expand our lives and businesses are not actions supportive of each other ....