Emotional Alchemy

Suze Orman: If you waste money on coffee, it’s like ‘peeing $1 million down the drain.

I don’t know when this started, but there is a corner of the internet where personal finance has become a place that puts people down instead of lifting them up. Making people feel guilty about spending money does not motivate them to do the opposite.

They’ve tapped into something here, because guilt is one of the most visceral emotions. But instead of making people feel guilty for their actions, we can use this power to create real and positive changes in spending and savings habits.

What if every time you felt guilty about spending money, you saved an equal amount? I first heard about this through a blog post written by my colleague Nick Maggiulli.

You shouldn’t feel guilty buying a cup of coffee every day or having a subscription to Netflix, but it’s normal to feel a sense of unease when making a luxury purchase. Here’s an example in my own life. I recently bought a pair of air pod pros for $285. I didn’t feel too great about spending the money, when what I already had was perfectly adequate. So when I got back from the Apple store, I logged into my investment account and deposited the same $285. This made me feel better about my decision. I spent money today and simultaneously saved money for tomorrow. This is a form of emotional alchemy; Any feelings of guilt I had over the purchase were immediately eliminated.

There are many different ways to use the Maggiulli Rule, which Nick and I talk about in the video below.