Are you Saving Money or Wasting Yourself? - Christine Kane

[Seven years ago. Before I booked hotels on the internet.]

Suze Orman was marching through my head again. She was shouting at me. It was making my heart race. Listen to Suze, I told myself. You’re an artist. You’re supposed to be frugal! And yet my heart simply could not take two whole days in another economy hotel with orange and brown bedding, and bathroom floors that made my feet curl inward when I walked on them. (And don’t even get me started on bad lighting.)

It was the morning after a show. I was in northwest Minnesota driving towards Minneapolis. I had two days off before my next show. What to do. Where to stay. The marching Suze Orman told me that Motel 6 would save me at least $90, and she said that that very $90 could be worth FOUR MILLION DOLLARS in 2057! And did I want to pass up on FOUR MILLION DOLLARS? I don’t THINK so!

Thom, my coach who had also become my dear friend, was on the other end of the cell phone. I had called him in a state of panic as my voices duked it out. He was silent. He and I had made an agreement weeks ago. I was no longer allowed to stay in places that scared me or depressed me. He had made me swear that I would take extremely good care of myself while on tour.

But here’s the thing: Every touring musician I knew stayed in bad hotels. None of them ever splurged on great rooms. And none of them ever seemed to want to! Plus, I was scared to spend extra money on myself. The mantra of many artists goes something like this: You’re an artist! You’re lucky to even make a living being an artist! Do you want to throw it away on a hotel?

Thom broke the silence, and sighed. “When you start showing the universe that you’re choosing to take excellent care of yourself, then the universe will respond in kind. You have to trust that and make the first move.” Thom was part executive coach, part actor, part businessman, and part guru. He could deliver his new-thought ideas like he was in a courtroom. No big deal. Do it or don’t do it. But here’s the truth, ma’am.

We got off the phone. Just northwest of Minneapolis, I pulled off in a suburb sprawl area. I saw a hotel called Staybridge Suites. I had never heard of it. “What the hell” I thought, and went in to see about a room.

Rooms were $125 a night. (No way! shouted Suze.) I thanked the front desk clerk and left. But on the way to my car, Thom’s words went through my head. It was noon, and I didn’t want to waste the afternoon trying to save $75. I went back in, put down my credit card, and told the clerk I’d be there for two nights.

When I walked into my room, my heart sang. It was light. It was a suite. There was a free laundry room. And a work out room. I felt safe. And I felt like I could trust myself again. My entire experience shifted in that one decision.

After I had unpacked, I called my office to check in. To my amazement, two performance offers had just come in that hour. Both of them were offers to pay me my highest performance fee, plus travel and expenses.

I called Thom to tell him about it. “See?” he said.

I’ve proven Thom’s theory so many times now that it’s ridiculous to recall all the stories. This was just the first of many to come.

And here’s the lesson: Not only do you teach people how to treat you, but you teach the universe how to treat you as well. The challenge of the self-employed or of the artist is to decide. To decide that taking extremely good care of yourself without an expense account means that you become a better artist (or business owner, or whatever). To decide that you serve the world in a bigger way when your needs are met. To decide before anyone else grants you worldly success what it means to value your time and your work.

  • Kloudiia

    OOps, realised I haven’t really said what I wanted to say! I realised that I’ve had this habit of not treating myself really well, especially when income isn’t stable.

    Therefore, there were times when I’d feel miserable, esp during my book promotion activities, where I’d be lugging poster stands, carrying books and taking the subway, making myself sweaty etc, just because I need to save the money on a cab and some manpower. For the next one, I’ll do things differently. Let’s see what surprise I’ll have when I start treating myself really well the next round.

    Thanks Christine for reminding us of this little thing that we keep forgetting. Hugsz

  • Kloudiia

    Hey Christine

    Wonderful post! I’m a Love Coach and a new author (which also means that income isn’t stable and is definitely being affected whenever I’m down!). And this is really something that I can learn from and apply in my new profession too!

    I’m battling with a poor health for the past 3 weeks, and I thought of dropping by your blog to get some good feelings and be inspired (as it always has). Thanks!

    On the road to recovery! 😀

  • Kathy

    Once again, magic timing. Just had a similar experience myself…..this year I was the President of our Alumni Association and had a weekend full of duties on campus for Reunion Weekend. They offered me a free room on campus – and I know there are some nice refurbished suites now – so I took them up on it. As GAA President, surely they would be putting me in one of those. No such chance. We opened the door to our basement room and while there was an ancient air conditioner in there – a cloud of stink escaped as we opened the door. The room smelled like dirty feet or worse, had regular well used college beds with bad mattresses and it made me wonder how I ever survived 4 years on one. Before unpacking a thing, I called the hotel we sometimes stay at when at a college event. $125/night vs. free….with David newly retired my “Suze Ormond voice” as you put it was screaming. But if they had any space you can bet we would be putting the bags back in the car and leave campus as fast as our Cooper S would take us. The universe came through, and this hotel which is often sold out months in advance on big weekends like this, had a room left!! A comfortable bed, nice restaurant, free high speed internet, and no smell of dirty socks. Since I had a good night sleep, my emcee duties at reunion dinner and farewell tribute to our Director of Alumni Relations went marvelously well….I had people asking me if I was a professional emcee – and if not, I should consider it for a next career.

  • Christine Kane

    thanks rebecca!

    hi michelle – suze’s great of course! i just have to use different measures for lots of stuff, being self-employed and an artist, etc. thanks for stopping by!

  • Michelle

    Another nice post–my husband reads Suze quite a bit and I think most of her advice is pretty good.

    I tend to be pretty cheap though as I’ve gotten older I realize the benefits of loosening up a bit here and there. Not too much though 🙂

  • Rebecca

    Love this learning. Easy to consider rationally, hard to put into practice. Kudos to you!!!

  • k

    wish i could meet you at blogher. i just found yours and i think you’re such a cool gal–multi-faceted and inspirational!

  • Christine Kane

    yay michelle! it sounds like so much fun. my biggest regret about my summer in europe was how unreasonably frugal i was – i never splurged on anything! so i’ll enjoy your stay vicariously…

    hiya chocolate. i’m deciding to no longer like the word “frivolous.” now, i’m gonna go get my nails painted purple.

  • chocolate covered musings

    amen to that sister. i never even used to get massages or pedicures as i had such a hangup about them being ‘frivolous’. not any more! and, even though i have them now, i still have enough money for everything i need and more. how about that.

  • Michelle

    Hi Christine!

    Several weeks ago I was planning my trip to France (a HUGE splurge for the social worker me!) and spent hours online looking for hostels in the cities where I couldn’t stay with friends.

    Then I fell in love with this place:

    It’s in Provence AND I’m staying there alone AND it turns out that it’s the same week as a rice harvest festival where I’ll get to see the traditional costumes and culture of the region – and I love that stuff!

    Sometimes the treating of oneself well becomes an gift that continues to unwrap itself!

  • Christine Kane

    hi susanne… be sure to note that i’m not totally dissing suze here! i get why she does what she does. AND i think that when people are NOT spending out of addiction or unconsciousness then they can certainly be a little more about their own self-care, etc.

    hey sylvia, thanks for the note! (I’ll have a new song download soon!)

  • Sylvia C.

    I think there are a lot of women in the world who need to read this post.

    I was one of them.

    Reading your post put me in an even better mood!



    Sylvia C.
    PS- Loving your song, “The Way You Say Goodbye.”

  • Susanne

    Okay, I hear you. I’ll make an appointment with my hairdresser ASAP.

    (Suze Orman says when you go to the hairdresser every six weeks instead of every four (or in my case every three months instead of every two) you’ll be a millionaire when you retire or something.)

  • Christine Kane

    hi janet – yes to all of those things you wrote! that 2 cent lower gallon of gas image cracks me up. it’s so true. thanks!

  • Janet Green

    What a wonderful yet simple truth! We might also apply this to the business world or even our own consumerism – how many of us have wasted precious time driving across town to save 2 cents on a gallon of gas? Or to that big box store to save a couple bucks on something an independent retailer had just down the street? Our time is worth something, as is our dignity and sense of self worth. So many ways to put this into practice… thanks, Christine! ~ Janet

  • Christine Kane

    hi susan! yes, let’s definitely meet at BlogHer. If it’s crazy hard to find people, come to my panel and we’ll say hi! And good for you for taking a leap…

    good for you laine! my friend suzi (she’s a web designer) got herself the best computer screens and office furniture possible from the start of her career. and i must say, her career has risen to match her intent!

    hi whitetshirts – sounds like you know your strengths because you’ve taught yourself that you are good at what you do and worth the extra care. i love that you wrote “so that the task of teaching will be lighter…” That says it all!

    you go carmen! 🙂

  • Carmen

    Great post, Christine! Such a good reminder that being good to yourself now is ultimately better than being “4 million dollars richer” 40 years from now. Today, I will treat myself to something I’ve been holding back on because of those battling voices.

  • Whitetshirts

    I love this post because it can be applied to so many different things. I am an English teacher, and I allow myself to have the things (technology that works, pens that I love to write with, and going to conferences every chance I can get) that will make my job easier, so that the task of teaching will be lighter. This is not a cheap endeavor. I guess until I read this I just didn’t realize what I was doing.

    And, the universe has responded. Because my husband is in the military, we move around a lot. At each place, I always contact the local college and let them know I am in the area and here to help if they need me. I think I am able to do this because I feel prepared, which in turn helps my family be more comfortable and me feel more confident.

    Thanks for once again for naming my practice and helping me see why.

  • Laine

    And that’s why I bought the 17″ macbook pro, and not the 15″. : )

  • Susan

    Christine… I recently discovered your blog, and just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying it. Also to thank you for the timely posts. Funny how they are often things that I need to hear… As a stay at home Mom, this is something that I tend to do a lot: both about money specifically, and about how I allow myself to be treated by the universe… something to work on. I’ll echo Ken when I say that I enjoy the real life examples you write about.

    After much musing and fence-sitting about the decision I have made the leap and will be treating myself to a trip to Blogher in July. Perhaps there will be a chance for us to say hello!

  • Christine Kane

    hi ken – that’s exactly what I want them to do – so I’m glad it worked for you!

    thanks Leah!

    hey yogajenn – getting rid of clutter will really and truly change your life and also help your business! (and staybridge suites isn’t boutique-y at all! it’s mostly business-y – but really nice. i stay there a lot now!)

  • yogajenn

    mmmmmmm… now i want to go stay in a nice, clean, comfy boutique-y hotel. beauty, simplicity, minimalist. the outer affects my ‘inner’ so profoundly and i forget how goooooooooood it feels to be in that kind of environment. there’s way too much clutter, clutter, clutter in my actual home so a great reminder…thanks.

  • leah

    wow, great post. and i really needed to hear it. thank you!

  • Ken D

    Thanks Christine. I really enjoyed your last two posts. I like the real life applications you write about. It brings the ‘theory’ into the real world and directly challenges me to figure out where I can apply it into my own life.