I see it every day - friends and acquaintances posting every day on various social media sites how "broke" they are. Yet, I see those same people posting about how much fun they have at the bar every weekend, or how they bought the latest iPhone.
Maybe they're thinking they deserve it because they've worked so hard. I'm not denying that. Unfortunately, we can't always get what we feel we deserve. Having a little bit of will power to put off getting the latest gadget could have huge rewards later on. For example, if you take the money you were going to use for the new phone and put it towards your debt with the highest interest rate, you may be able to pay it off, rather than continue to pay interest. That $600 could make thousand of dollars difference.
Think about other ways you can create a free or cheap alternative for the activities that are most costly. If your bar bill is $50, you could think about spending $20 on a mixer or a case of beer and invite friends over for a game night. You still get to hang out and enjoy a beverage, but at less than half the price.
It's not always easy making the tough choices to live more financially responsibly, but it is necessary if you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck. You can still have fun and get some of the things you want - you just have to be creative and patient to get there. For more free and cheap entertainment ideas, check out my book Living Within Your Means: A practical guide to financial freedom. I'd love to personally help you live a more organized and stress-free life - contact me for a free estimate.
Okay - so maybe it isn't the new year yet, but do you start thinking about plans for next year before the year starts? I know I do. To be honest, I don't think I ever make resolutions. Instead, I reflect on my overall plan for my immediate goals and the goals I have set for myself that are 3-5 years out. Have I accomplished what I expected to this year? If not, what do I need to do differently to achieve those goals in the next year? What obstacles did I overcome (yay, me!), and what challenges were out of my control that I needed to accept? Have circumstances changed in my life, and in my family that require me to adjust my personal goals?
Kind of heavy thinking for the holiday season, right? Well, yes, but it helps me prepare (which always makes me feel better!) for the coming year. When the busyness of the last few weeks starts pulling me under, I can think back on the accomplishments through the year. That helps me to take a deep breath and know that I can handle this, too. Then, I can enjoy these precious moments with my family because they'll be over all too soon.
If you need some help organizing your thoughts or your time, let me know - either complete my Contact form, or just add a comment to the blog. I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a Merry Christmas and very blessed New Year!
I've written a couple of time about finding peace through creating a calming space around you. I think it's more than just the space around you. I feel like it would be difficult to find that peace if you are constantly struggling with making ends meet.
I realized quite some time ago that living within your means is a lesson you need to learn early - and sometimes it takes a few hard knocks to remember. Trust me, I'm coming from a place of needing to learn the lesson the hard way. I think some of it depends on the lessons you get from your parents. Whether or not they had a budget or financial goals and talked about them with you plays at least a small part in how you handle your finances. Sometimes, even if your parents didn't talk about their finances explicitly, the emotion (positive or negative) associated with money can very easily be felt by children.
That's why my husband and I have at least some financial discussions involving our children. We may not discuss the specifics of our income, but they do know that we save a percentage of our income for retirement and their college education. They also know we don't put anything on credit we can't pay for completely when the bill comes due. When they ask about purchasing something for themselves, they know I will ask if they have enough money and were they trying to save for something else. I hope I"m teaching them to have a healthy relationship with money - and understand that you can't purchase something just because you want it, without evaluating how it fits in with your financial plan.
Knowing I have a plan brings me peace. Understanding there are limits and setting guidelines gives me structure to live within. Budget planning is something I"m passionate about because I have seen the negative effects of living without a plan.
What are you doing to make sure you're finding financial peace? Let me know in the comments. If you struggle coming up with your own plan, contact me. I really would like to help!
Jennifer Raschig loves to share thoughts on creating restful spaces and presenting your best self every day.