Category Archives: Plentyland

Playing with Virtual Money

It’s summer!  Time to be a bit more playful.  Personally I’ve been doing more playing and less blogging.  How about  a way for you to ‘play’ with your money this summer that is fun, whimsical, and doesn’t actually spend any of it … because it’s virtual?

It’s my twist of the Prosperity Game, which has been around for years—so long that there are apps and even printed checks you can buy to play the game.  None of that is actually needed to play the game.  All you need is some place to track what’s happening , like a journal.

It’s a game you play with yourself by spending virtual money everyday.  You start with $100 and double it each day ($100, $200, $400, $800, etc).  One of the rules is that you have to spend all the money each day.  Sometimes people want to save up for something, but that’s not necessary.  Since it doubles every day you will be close to spending a million a day in just two weeks ($819,200)  Another rule is that  you have to spend it on yourself.  You can take people with you on trips, or the like, but you must spend the money on yourself.  The point is to explore and clarify your relationship and thoughts about money—not just give it away. While playing the game you will shop, make lists, spend imaginary money on imaginary things.  I suggest you don’t get tied up in the fiddly bits of things like sales tax.  Rounding off is fine.  It’s not about record keeping!  No actual money is used.

It’s a very interesting game.  Over the years, I’ve encouraged many of my clients to play this game.  It does several intriguing things.  One thing it does is pretty effectively show you where your “money ceiling” is.  Your “money ceiling” is the amount of money you just can’t understand—the amount that is beyond your personal limit.  It’s a good thing to know.  If you approach your money ceiling without knowing where it is, it can suddenly open up and sweep you away.

The game also helps you reframe your ideas of:

  • What is expensive
  • What is cheap
  • The value of things
  • What you really want
  • How much stuff you can handle

All very intriguing concepts to play with and understand.

Okay, now that you know the basics of how the game works, let’s look at the part of the game that I’m most intrigued with. Your brain actually thinks it is real money.  Your head doesn’t know the difference between your spending the money virtually or in reality.  I know this by personal experience.

When I played first this game, I lived in a house where the washing machine drained into a deep sink.  It was a very old, very heavy sink with a small drain.  I had a furry spaniel dog, Decaf, who contributed lots of hair to the laundry, and frequently that hair would come out of the washer hose in a way that would plug the sink, and cause it to overflow on to the floor.  Not a fun thing to clean up.

Naturally, early in playing the money game I decided to “pay” some of my virtual money to get that sink fixed.  Yipee!  Problem solved.  About a week later I did some laundry, and the sink overflowed.  There I was, standing in water, with my hands on my hips saying “Damn it!  I paid to get that sink fixed and it’s overflowing!” and then it struck me.  I had paid to get the sink fixed with virtual money!  It wasn’t really fixed.

Other people I know have had similar experiences with this game.  One person offered to loan a friend $25,000 until it occurred to her that it was virtual money she was offering.

I learned a bunch of other things playing the game.  Some of my ideas of what was ‘expensive’ and what was ‘cheap’ shifted.  And then there was the place where I just felt overwhelmed.  The place where I had hit my money ceiling.  A very good thing to know.  I suggest that you play at least one day past that place, because just beyond that point often lurks some really amazing dreams.

The real point is that your thoughts about money are fluid and can change.  That’s good news.  You can change your money thinking.  You can provide some different experiences of money for your brain, even virtual ones, and your brain will accept them as real even when they aren’t.  That’s good news.  It’s also odd news.  It would seem  to be telling us that it’s important that you pay attention to the messages that you send your brain about money, wouldn’t it?

How about playing this money game to explore what’s going on in your head around money, and learn about some new possibilities.  At the very least it’s a bit of a fun summer lark!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

I’d love to hear how the game worked for you. Give me a call at  503-258-1630 or leave a comment.  Happy spending!

Generosity With Boundaries

I’ve been practicing what I call “Generosity with boundaries” for ages. Frankly, it’s always seemed important to me. How can I help people stand in Plentyland if I’m generositycoming from scarcity? I need to walk my talk. Part of that is to be generous while taking good care of myself and thus, “Generosity with boundaries”. Of course, this idea, like money itself, isn’t just about money. It’s about using all of our assets in a way that is both generous and self-supporting. So ideally, it’s the notion that we help others with our time, energy and, sometimes, money. And we make sure that we help in ways that don’t jeopardize our own well being.

Let’s layer in the idea that money is reflective. What that means is that money doesn’t actually make things happen. Instead it reflects, or shows you, what you are choosing to do with it. It shows you if you are walking your talk, whatever that talk may be.

And I think there is also something in here about the idea of the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Do I treat others the way I’d like to be treated? And do I use my money with others the way I’d like them to use it with me? I don’t think this concept, that is fostered by many religions and philosophies, is simply about being “‘nice”. I think it truly has to do with the idea that we get back what we put out.

We aren’t likely to gain respect by treating others with disdain. Being aloof isn’t likely to create friendliness in others. Sure, not everyone we are kind or generous to is going to be that way to us. However, our being kind will make the possibility of the kindness being returned more likely.

The real question is: Do you treat your money transactions the same way? Do you treat others around money the way you want to be treated? How do you want to be treated around money? For me, words like fairness and respect come to mind. I really want to come from a win/win place. I don’t want to be taken advantage of and I also don’t want to take advantage of others.

I’m not responsible for the choices others make around their money. I am responsible for how I use my money and how that reflects my ethics and values.

So what would “generosity with boundaries” look like for you and your money?

I’m here to help you untangle your money knots. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Ka’ching,

Shell Tain, The Untangler