Money fears. We've all had them right? How many times have we said something like "I really need to get my finances under control" or "If only I had more money" or "I can't afford to do that"? Have you ever stayed in a job that you didn't like simply because it paid well enough?
Today's action step for facing our money fears had three parts. First, make a simple list of all your expenses. It didn't have to be perfect, but a good estimate. Luckily, this part was easy for me because I recently revisited Mint.com to update my budgets so I could keep better track of where my money was going. Seriously, seeing all your expenses versus your income can be a real blow to the ego. I'm just saying... However, having the app on my phone has helped me stay in check with my spending this week.
The next step was to select two small expenses that gave me pleasure. A lot of pleasure. I have to admit, this was really hard for me. After looking at where I spend my money, I had a difficult time analyzing my expenses to figure out was really made me happy. We were forced to choose though, so after a lot of consideration, I decided that my very small weekly automatic transfer to my savings made me happy, and my car payment. Those are what brought me the most pleasure. I love having a car; it gives me a sense of control and freedom. I could have said my rent, but writing that big check each month doesn't bring me pleasure; although having my own place does. This was tough.
The final step was to list three things I know I'm spending money on that don't bring much joy. Let's just think about this for a minute. Can you think of three things you spend money on that either doesn't bring much joy and/or makes you feel guilty? One big one that doesn't make me happy at all is paying my student loans. Seriously, they are so depressing. I've learned I need to change my mindset about these because they aren't going away anytime soon. Then, I thought of all those expenses on eating out simply because I was too lazy (yes, I said it) to plan/cook a meal; particularly breakfast and sometimes lunch. Typically I don't take the time to prepare a breakfast and I don't take the time to pack a lunch that I can end up spending over $20 a week on breakfast alone. That's a waste for someone who needs to be budget conscious. I've been making plans to kick this is the butt. Let's hope I stay disciplined.
This is where I come up short. When it came to find a third item, I was stuck. Then I thought of all those times I went shopping because I "had an extra $20, let's go to Joann's!". There are times when I would rather shop than pay for my chiropractic bill, or save. I love shopping, it brings instant gratification. However, sometimes, the happiness wears off quickly and then I feel guilty. I could have made a larger payment to the chiropractor or I could have saved that $20. Honestly.
So here we are. I've been more open about myself here than I think I ever have. I believe that admitting these things will help me face them better and overcome the issues. Let's hope because there are times when I simply feel stuck. Like things aren't going to get any better and I will always be someone who works only to pay bills, will never get out of debt, or will never be able to travel to see her friends/family and do those things that would really make me happy.