When You Don’t Win the Lotto
“Budgeting can’t change my life but the lottery can…” Does this sound like you? Read on then….
Well another weekend has come and gone and I didn’t win the lottery, back to work I go. Slave to the grind, slave to the credit card, slave to life. Debt can be depressing and down right ugly when your emotions start to take over. Some people think that playing the lottery or gambling at the casino will give them that big win. Sadly it never comes for most. I often talk to people who want me to take hold of their rope and pull them out from under the mess they have created. Yes, THEY created.
Spending is a Choice
I emphasize “they” because it happens so often where people come to me and have excuse after excuse about why they are in debt. You can’t blame your upbringing nor can you blame your family or your landlord. The word “choice” comes to mind and we all have the ability to make choices.
I understand, and don’t take this the wrong way, but some people really don’t have a clue what they are doing with their money. Trying to help someone can be a daunting task but I’ve learned that taking it step by step can ease the pain for both you and them. If you come to me and say “Mr.CBB, we need help with our budget” but don’t have any inclination to make changes, it will never work. You have to be realistic about your finances, and don’t think that anyone has a magic wand. The only magic you will see is at the bankruptcy office where they magically take over your financial life if you don’t get your act together.
Do you think I’m a bit harsh? I’m really a nice guy but don’t think fluffing about is the right way to solve financial problems. I like to get down and dirty and right to the point. Yes, I sometimes have to be stern with people who are in debt because sometimes they laugh it off as if it’s a joke. People also tend to close themselves out from the money talk, especially in relationships.
I honestly don’t know if people think money grows on trees. Are they that oblivious to something that can potentially ruin their lives? It’s not that people don’t know how to add or subtract, it’s that they forget they have to to spend less than they earn. For the most part people plead ignorant but know darn well what they are doing. The problem is stopping once you start.
Here’s a quick example: It’s like those “payday loan centres” people use to get money that they haven’t yet earned. Yes there’s a bright idea! Especially if it is beer that is the emergency.
If you use these services, take the money they give you and go ahead and purchase a shovel. You’ll need it to dig your hole a bit deeper. It’s no joke and if you think you have nowhere to turn, you are wrong. Stop the insanity, Stop SPENDING money you don’t have. It’s an easy concept! Stop making up excuses that you will work overtime, pay it back later or are expecting money from the Queen. If you can’t afford it you never will and you will likely pay double if not triple to try and pay it back.
What Do I Suggest?
I suggest finding your self-esteem and having a little confidence in yourself. Take charge of your finances and get moving on designing your budget. If it’s your friends or family that are causing you to spend more because you need to impress them, detach or tell them straight up, “No, I can’t spend any money – I’m on a BUDGET!”
Saying no is one the hardest things for most people, but it has to be done. If you keep adding a dollar to the pot, by the end of the year that pot will be full.
Then make sure to whatever needs to be done to stick to your budget and cut expenses. If you have credit card debt, use online sites to figure out if you can transfer the debt to something with a lower interest rate as you pay it off. If you are trying to pay off student loans, see if you can consolidate. Overall, take charge of your money instead of letting your money take charge of you.
It’s Not about How Much Money You Make, It’s How You Save It
Saving is also spending in this case.
Budgeting can be fun for any individual or couple. The best part is that once you get out of the black and see the money grow, you are over the moon. I can assure you that it will happen, but you need to give it time. We started budgeting last year after designing our own budget. We were your typical young couple, newlyweds actually, who thought they were “KING SAVERS”. Wrong!
It wasn’t until we started putting a budget together, and monitoring it faithfully for 3 months, that we were astonished, wow! Did we really spend $600 on food for 2 people? Who is eating all this food? How much should our grocery budget be? That was when we went into crisis mode. Our lives got leaner and our budget grew to what it is today, lean and mean and keeping us consumer debt free.
We started The Grocery Game Challenge at the Canadian Budget Binder blog earlier this year to help us cut our grocery budget to $190. We are happy to report we are on schedule but still have some work to do to keep it under or at the $190 mark. We have many fans post their shops with us and have surpassed their goals as well and certainly show us up.
We have successfully made changes to our cooking habits where we now cook from scratch, grow vegetables and herbs, and take time to learn new skills in the kitchen. We have also started meal planning and taking inventory in our freezer and pantry.
Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself will be one of the biggest investments you might ever make. Never stop learning, for when you do, your life only knows what you’ve taught it. Since the birth of our budget, we both work on it together weekly and we are committed. We have built up a nice Emergency Savings Fund, well over the suggested 6 months to a year stash. that lets us sleep well at night. We are in our mid 30’s now and although we have no kids, we are almost mortgage free and continue to set goals. We would not have gotten so far ahead these past 17 months without the budget.
For those of you that have alot of debt to come up from under, don’t ever give up. Once you poke your head up from under the sand, the smile on your face will never go away. Keep building on your goals and visiting them often and you will succeed. If you have a set back than get back on track as soon as you can or re-work your budget to keep the train running.
If you want to see how we designed our budget please feel free to be nosey at my blog at canadianbudgetbinder.com. You can also find me yapping on Twitter, Facebook and pinning on Pinterest. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to do the best I can to guide you.
Budgeting can change your life and out of the debt hole… has it changed yours? Share with us what you did to make it happen.
Crystal’s Comments: I look at budgeting as the fun part of achieving our priorities. I track our spending and compare it to our budgeted amounts to make sure we are staying true to our priorities. We love the fun stuff in life and the idea of early financial freedom, so we make sure that any expense we have either makes us super happy now or will make us super happy in the future. When it won’t, then we cut it. So budgets are fun!