• Paul Gordon & Janine Robertson

How 2020 began could impact your spenditude

For the first time I can recall in my adult life, the new year has passed in a blur of fear, fundraising and decidedly lacking the usual fun.  New Year’s Eve was a day of anxiety, having been evacuated to the beach due to fire risk and hearing just some of the many stories of fear and loss. 

Earlier in the day, the red sky had dulled to black and the kids asked when it would be daytime - it was almost noon.  A lone group of 20-somethings continued with their new year celebrations while the rest of the town seemed to head to bed around 7pm, well before what should have been sunset, but with skies dark already, full of smoke and ash.  We were without power or phone reception, exhausted and unsure.  The new year began with a subdued countdown and after that the town was eerie in it’s silence.  On a night that is usually full of laughter, a little reflection, big plans and perhaps a drink too many, the start of 2020 was ominous, overwhelming, sombre.

As we turn the page on our calendars, 2020 somehow seems more significant than other years that have a less round ending.  We commence a new decade with global issues and complexity.  Add to these global and local concerns the regular pain of January.  Some have a debt hangover from gifts and sales.  Back to school costs mount for others.  The regular apprehension, excitement or anxiety of what the year may hold is strangely increased by the new decade. 

How does your spenditude play out in this type of situation? 

A new decade could seem somewhat overwhelming for many.  In the same way that milestone birthdays take on different meaning, clicking over to a new decade makes the passing of time seem a little more significant, or even painful.  And the current environment is not conducive to a calm beginning to the 20’s.  So how do we begin a new year and a new decade with resolutions (or intentions) that have more ‘solid plan’ and less ‘wish or whim’ about them?

As with all change, developing habits that support the change is critical.  Whether your goal is to read more, eat better, exercise, save more, spend less, or something else entirely, forget the vague notion.  Set yourself a clear pathway and task.  The product of the goal must be directed to something that brings you joy.  When we commit to a goal that is shared, we are more likely to see success.  When we commit to something that creates habit, we reinforce our commitment.

For example, every week you and a colleague will bring lunch from home on Mondays & Wednesdays and eat together.  The resulting savings will see you and your friend attend a concert or event mid year.  The pathway is clear, the end result brings joy, habits form and the shared goal brings more chance of success. 

And don’t forget, sleep is the critical factor to any change.

Spenders, Slenders and Defenders all have played a part in the phenomenal bushfire relief fundraising efforts for people, towns, wildlife and services that need it most right now.  Defenders that have a strong sense of financial independence may see the need to strengthen their position.  In times of crisis such as this, we respond in different ways and Defenders thinking “could this happen to me?” are more likely to review insurance and tighten their spending.  Spenders may be more inclined to react with the need to seek a positive experience, and spend more in order to cope with stress or improve their mood.  Slenders could fall in either camp.

Spenders often get a case of “how can I help “ and then donate well above the average    This makes them feel like they are contributing however it can often leave them out of pocket next month.  Their spontaneous generosity is much needed - it can often be they are the biggest contributors at a time of need. In this case their Spenditude has purpose.

Defenders on the other hand, may overcook the decision to contribute.  They may be looking too closely at where the proceeds will be spent.  Although prudent, this can lead to inactivity and perhaps no contribution.  The 'Defenders Pause' when it comes to charity is a real thing. 

If you are concerned about the outcome, perhaps share smaller donations across several charities, or think of ways to directly impact those who need it most.  

To all those impacted by fires this summer, our thoughts are with you.

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