Don’t Ignore Your Financial Scar Tissue


From Podcast #182: Dealing with your Financial Scar Tissue, the one in which Jesse asks you to think about your financial baggage.


Recently on our podcast, I talked with new YNABer, Carrie Hart, and we discussed how certain things naturally come up when you first start budgeting.

Just because you’re focusing on the future, doesn’t mean you don’t have to deal with the past.

It’s a lot like a scar, right? Scar tissue. There are things that simply are going to be there for a while. And they fade over time, but just because the pain is gone from the injury, just because you’ve completely moved on, it doesn’t mean that the scar is gone right away. That still takes time.

And we all have financial scar tissue. We might have made some decisions that we wouldn’t make again—I know I have.

We might have some debt that’s plaguing us—that’s a very common one.

We may have habits that are the result of our financial scar tissue. Or perhaps the way we view money? Do we view money as a source of contention in a relationship? Do we view money as something evil? I don’t find that productive either. Do we view money as something we “just don’t get”? All of these attitudes could be considered financial scar tissue.

If you just work our process—the Four Rules—you can truly heal.

You give every dollar a job; you start to see that those dollars do nice things for you, that money is perhaps not so evil. You look at those less frequent expenses and come to grips with your true expenses and you stay on your feet a little more. You aren’t rocked by big events. So you start to realize that, “Hey, maybe I can do this money thing.”

Maybe in relationships where money used to be contentious you’ll use Rule Three to roll with the punches; not to place blame, but just to say, “Hey, yeah, things came up—we had to adjust.” No blame. Just shifting things around and sticking to it.

And maybe use Rule Four, where you’re aging your money, to exert ultimate control over it. Where one of your financial scars may have been, “Money kind of controls me.” or “Money is pretty powerful.” or “Money stresses me out,” imagine how you can turn the tables when you can stare at a pile of money and say, “You know what? I don’t need you for at least 30 days.” That is powerful. And that is another way to watch that financial scar tissue fade away.

Obviously paying off debt—that’s an obvious one—but there are others that are much more subtle.

They’re just kind of the things we tell ourselves inside our brains that could potentially be the real scar tissue that has to be worked on, rubbed out and slowly it will fade away.


Until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this. For more about how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of debt and save more money, faster—subscribe to the You Need A Budget podcast today!