"We’re just barely scraping by… How could I possibly afford an original piece of art?"

Whew. This is the toughest question because it is tied to so many deeply seeded beliefs.

When I was growing up, my family never talked about money — unless it was to say that we “couldn’t afford” something. There was no transparency and constant sense of scarcity. So when I became an adult, I continued on that train. I never really understood what my financial situation was. I avoided my bank account and yoyo-ed between “treating” myself to things, over-drafting my accounts, and then feeling guilty for spending money. Yuck.

It will take a lot more than a single blog post to untangle your beliefs around money, so I’m going to pose five questions and then offer resources for you to dive deeper.

Here are the five questions I ask you to consider when assessing whether you can “afford” art:

1) What are the cultural values you carry about money and wealth?

If you are American, you probably grew up with the message that you needed to grow up and “make money”. That message then crashed head on into the message that we should “be happy” and “live our best life” or “dream big”. So many conflicting messages — especially if you trying to live up to everyone’s perspective of what a “good life” as an adult looks like. If you want some help unraveling the messages we receive about “money” and “wealth,” this documentary about the so-called Generation Wealth is illuminating.

2) How do you prioritize financially?

Do you like to clip coupons and scour for deals? Do you splurge on anything until the bank account is totally dry? Does the thought of spending money at all just paralyze you? Money, A Love Story is a huge help if you would like to get clarity around how you have prioritized in the past, what motivated that set of priorities, and how you can shift your priorities (if necessary) to have the financial foundation you want.

3) How do you communicate about money with your partner or any other person who shares your finances?

Are you communicating about money regularly? Do you hide income or expenses from each other? I found The Money Couple’s money personality assessment to be incredibly helpful in understanding my money personality, as well as my husband’s. It is especially helpful if you feel like you or your partner is “better with money”. Ultimately, neither of you are “better” — you’re just different!

4) Do you have a clear vision of what an abundant life looks like to you?

If you haven’t read The Desire Map, I highly recommend it for becoming intimately acquainted with your vision for what your best, most amazing, most abundant life actually looks like. If you can taste, smell, hear, touch, and see all the specific parts of your life that make you feel truly happy, then achieving that feeling becomes attainable, no matter what your financial situation looks like!

5) Do you truly believe you deserve beautiful, lasting, handcrafted, meaningful things?

This is the biggest, toughest, stickiest question in the bunch. Deep down, most of us don’t feel like we really deserve beautiful things. We were shamed for breaking things as a little kid. We colored in our books and had them snatched away. We were only ever given hand-me-downs.

Coming back to parent yourself, to care for yourself, to find a deep sense of love for yourself is critical for any healing around money. You do deserve to surround yourself with things that remind you of your beauty, your value, your place in the world. If you need support in addressing these deep self-worth issues, a therapist or spiritual advisor will be incredibly helpful. If you need help finding someone that you can afford, I’m happy to point you towards some great resources.

These 5 questions are deep, and I personally had to wrestle with for years before I came to a place where I am comfortable with my answers. Please take your time with these questions.

If you’d like more resources, reach out to me at info@cjhowardart.com any time. I’m here to support and encourage you.

Sending you lots of love,

CJ

P.S. If you believe that any of these paintings are good enough for you to add it to your personal art collection, then I want you and my art to be an absolute match made in heaven. Therefore, all paintings come with a Worry-Free Guarantee, which means you can return or exchange any piece you purchase within 30 days. Plus, the shipping is on me. Yup, totally free shipping. (Or - if you’re local - I’m happy to hand deliver your piece and help you hang it.) Finally, if you’re too strapped to pay the full price upfront but just have to have that painting, I’m happy to work out a payment plan with you that will work for both of us.

Plus, if you click the link below, you’ll get a chance to win a free painting every month!