Twenty weeks is more than a third of the way through the Pagan savings challenge, so you're either gathering a head of steam, or you're way behind and giving up in all but name. The rewards for being on track should already be evident, so let's talk about what to do if you're on the other side of that coin. If your savings challenge needs saving, I'm here to help.
First things first: this is a no-shame zone. Not meeting your goal is not failure. The very act of setting a measurable goal is stupendous success in and of itself. Goals are measuring sticks, and if you find this one hard to meet, you now know enough to figure out if it's the goal or your effort that needs adjusting. This is just as important if hitting the goal is effortless -- maybe you're not saving enough!
Because I am saving money as cash, I am thoroughly steeped in how it flows. That's something which can be easily overlooked if all of our transactions are electronic ones. Money flows in and out of our lives, and while saving it can build its energy, that energy is only ever released by the act of spending.
The simple truth is that as I work more with money, I'm more willing to let it go, and as I let it go, even more flows back into my life. Not instantly, and often not quickly enough to prevent anxiety and a fear of scarcity, but flow it does.
For this week, I pose the query: how is our relationship with money influenced by our relationship with war?
It's not an easy one to consider for Pagans. Some of us are devoted to gods of war, or otherwise acknowledge it as a fact of life, but many others work relentlessly for peace on this planet. My own relationship with war is complicated: my family was supported by work at a defense contractor when I was a child, so the Cold War put food on our table. I consider myself a proponent of peace, but I have a relationship with Ares. I also believe that population reduction is the only solution for the many problems facing humanity and the Earth, but no one has come up with a way to make that happen which is nearly as thorough as the horrors of war.
Discovering what other people are saying about the Pagan savings challenge is a source of joy for me. Case in point: this PaganSpace.net discussion about different savings strategies.
The original poster says, "I'm not going about it the same way he did just because I don't think it would work for me to be putting more than $5 a week away into savings is practical for my low income family." I agree! The level of savings should be challenging, but not impossible. I'm glad e is adapting the challenge to fit eir own circumstances, because any savings is better than no savings, and developing a saving habit will serve you for life.
There's been a lot written about the culture secrecy lately. In the Pagan community, many people are questioning whether a culture of secrecy perpetuates bad behavior, and in the broader United States, the President is seeking to dismantle the culture of secrecy surrounding salaries.
In both of those cases, secrecy can lead to advantage being taken, but secrecy has its place. When it comes to money specifically, even if we develop a culture in which we all feel comfortable talking about money, we don't necessarily want people to know where we stash our cash. That's why I was delighted to discover a post on creating a money jar for the Pagan savings challenge, the image for this very post was nicked from Mistress of the Hearth to show what one might look like.
I heard an interesting story on NPR about women and investing the other day. The points which jumped out at me were:
Women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing, and testosterone plays a part in the gender difference;
Fear of an impoverished old age -- women generally have more time as senior citizens -- adds a layer of paralysis which amplifies the hormonal factors;
In heteronormative relationships, women are more likely to let the man control the money, even women who are the primary wage earners; and
When they invest for themselves, women tend to be better at it than men.
More than a decade into the 21st century, we haven't reached gender parity in how we relate to money. How much of that difference is cultural and how much is biological isn't clear to me, but differences there certainly are.