Getting Rid of My Middle Class Mindset

I am the sole breadwinner in my family. I brave Metro Manila traffic twice a day to get to work. And when I do get to work, there's always this nagging feeling that I'm not good enough and that my boss will eventually agree with me.

Stress! Stress! Stress!

Of course I deserve this treat!

I deserve to eat out after an extra long day at work. I deserve this new blouse because I worked so hard. I deserve this out of town trip so I can relax and recharge my batteries.

Does any of this sound familiar?

If you're remotely human, then I'm sure these or similar thoughts have ran through your head to justify taking cash out of your wallet when an insistent voice is whispering to put that money in the bank instead.

In this article differentiating the middle class from the rich, one of the dominant traits of the middle class is how it puts too much value on comfort and immediate gratification.

Ulp. Guilty as charged.

In my defense though, I am very much aware of my middle class mindset and I'm constantly doing battle with it since I really do want to transition from middle class to really rich.

Now that I've accepted the bitter truth that I and I alone am to blame for my stagnant net worth, I and I alone as well can remedy that. The nice thing about being your own worst enemy is that you can easily transform yourself into the heroine of your own story.

As Jun pointed out in an earlier post, I have turned a corner. This is because I have finally grown exasperated with constantly tweaking our budget to pay off never-ending consumer debt. Debt brought primarily about by my constant feelings of entitlement.

My consumer debt and personal loans will be totally wiped out by the end of the first quarter of 2018, leaving a substantial amount of cash at my disposal. This is the proverbial tabula rasa and I have the option of using the extra cash to make bigger mortgage payments and decimate one mortgage in 1-2 years, or go to Japan and blow 150k-200k on a week-long vacation with my soon to be family of 4.

The smart and financially responsible choice is obvious, yet I constantly find myself dreaming of slurping steaming hot ramen and taking the Shinkansen to Kyoto from Tokyo.

Unfortunately, this conversion of your middle class mindset to rich mindset does not happen with a snap of your fingers, instead, the brain and heart have to be trained by making daily and consistent choices that serve to reinforce your goal of having a prosperity mindset. It's pretty much like a muscle that has to be constantly stretched and agitated for it to reach an Amazonian Wonder Woman level.

I know this. I've known all of this for years. Yet I still fall victim to the pernicious marketing machinery and buy in to the treat yo'self shtick. So why is it different this time around? It's different because I'm finally sick of dealing with debt of my own doing. Girl, tama na ang katangahan na ito, ok? 

This desire to be debt free is so much stronger than my dream of gawking at cherry blossoms. The world will always be there to be explored, but I won't always be this strong and with this much earning capacity. I don't want to wake up twenty years from now with a passport full of stamps but still juggling our budget and paying down the mortgage. Honestly, nakakasawa na siya. 

Besides, I want to reach a point in my life where I work for a cause that I believe in, without counting the days until I receive my paycheck because a credit card bill is due. Which is not to say that I don't put stock in the work I do now, because I have never been in a more inspiring environment. However, there are still things that I want to accomplish career-wise and I can't go after those because I can't afford to take a paycut and go for 2-3 months without income. When my debts are gone and I have an emergency fund fully in place, then I can give myself permission to pursue that other path and banish the coulda-shoulda-wouldas.

But for now, it's all about making the necessary changes to shake up my deeply rooted middle class mindset and eventually embrace a truly rich mindset.


Didi said…
I get that. I always have the nagging false need to treat myself to something like eating out or a massage (hayun sobra kasi it is super expensive here in the States). Sometimes they're small treats, but they do add up.

This is something I want to work on din. Like try to remove that "I deserve a treat."
Jen said…
I think I passed this part of thinking habit na.... for now.... Now I can discipline myself (and my husband) from buying things because we think we deserve it.... Pero to make this possible, I chose one or two things when splurging so that hindi ko na maisip na masyado kong kinakawawa sarili ko. 1, foot spa or massage. 2, watching movies.
Jillsabs said…
Yeah, where did this "I'm so kawawa!" mentality come from no? Can we still blame media on this with all of its talk of "Treat yourself" and "You deserve it". I say most definitely!
Jillsabs said…
Hi Jen!

That's a good technique! Small treats are usually as satisfying as the more expensive ones because you only really want a break from your daily routine.
PwedePadala said…
Be careful with small treats. I treat myself with Netflix and even justify that it's a great movie/documentary (like "Big Short"). Then things get out of hand. Posts are still drafts. Online courses are stuck in the middle. Job hunting is forgotten (the worst).

Instead of "I deserve it." I'll remind myself of "the pain of regret."

Anyway any recommendation on Netflix?
Jillsabs said…
I'm personally hooked on The Good Wife, which my husband thinks is silly because I'm a lawyer who spends her free time watching a lawyer show. But it's just so interesting to see the dynamics of a law firm (which I think can be applicable to any partnership) and how litigation in the US is portrayed. What I love about the show though is how they dress. It's a lesson on how corporate dressing does not have to be blah and boring, and can be downright fabulous :)
PwedePadala said…
I watched a few episodes of The Good Wife but had to stop before I get hooked. My List keeps on growing. Going way way back, I'm wondering if you've watched Ally McBeal. I know it's old but it reminds me that I didn't get to know the ending.

You're right! They look dashing and brilliant. No objection at all. (Pun intended. Can't help it.)
Arlene said…
Billy died in Ally Mcbeal.
Ally has to deal with life after Billy-Georgia era.
There was an adoption thingy after, which resulted to Ally relocating and leaving the law firm
It's a liberating ending.

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