How to Control your Money instead of your money Controlling you
I think it's pretty safe to say that at some point in our lives we haven't made the best choices when it comes to money. At some point, we wasted too much and spent too much. Then we look back and say "where did it all go?" The ride is so quick and energy filled but when it's over what are you really left with? You then find yourself having to admit that shirt was way overpriced or that additional night out was really not all it was cracked up to be.
I've had my share of regrets over the years and my recent experience with purchasing a newer car bought back those thoughts and feelings. I wanted to revisit an old post and update some of the tips.
Growing up no one in my family ever really "taught" me the correct way to handle my finances this took years of trial and error for me to get it right and still today I sometimes trip on a rock or two. Case in point the reason I'm sharing this with you today. I don't know about you but I think some of us can agree we come from a society that believes "I work hard I deserve it" and to some degree that is so true, I certainly believe that myself but to what extent are we going to fall for that line and end up hurting ourselves more than we help? How deserving is the quick gratification over the long-term stress?
One of the major things I've learned about finances and running a household is learning how to analyze your needs from wants when it comes to household shopping and labels and brands. When I first moved out on my own and I've spoken about this in the past everything I bought was because that's what my mom use to buy. Charming toilet tissue, Bounty paper towels, Glad trash bags, Downy fabric softener and so on. What I wasn't conscious of was that her household income wasn't mine.
I was 18/19 years old starting to build a life with a small income. Slowly I started to change and when I started living with my daughter's father and then when I had my daughter those early behaviors continued to be tweaked or removed altogether. Getting to this point in time today I have learned the following in order to do the right thing by my money. How to Control your Money instead of your money Controlling you:
-bulk stores are not economical unless you shop carefully and split costs with family or friends
-you don't need numerous cleaning products to clean around your house, baking soda, Clorox, a gentle wood cleaner, vinegar and a nice light scented oil is all you need for clean house and laundry. We have Google and Pinterest now with so many DIY ideas look them up.
-ladies we don't need all these anti-aging, exfoliating, blemish control blah blah blah products Coconut oil, Tea tree oil, Green tea, cotton balls, brown sugar, some essential oils are all we need for great healthy skin again Google and other research tools will help you cut these costs. I don't even buy any type of shaving products I use Coconut oil for just about everything
-Family Dollar, Dollar Deals, CVS and Walgreens are great family budget places to shop at
-don't be cheap on paper towels or toilet tissue it will cost you more in the long run
-big ticket item sales aren't always sales so use caution
-just because there is a sale doesn't mean you have to make a purchase
-don't leave investing in yourself for last. Make it a priority to invest a specific amount on yourself. Choose a reasonable amount, make it automatic and keep it moving.
Last year I read a post on a blog I follow about the 52 week Money Challenge. This Blogger was going to use it to go away on vacation with her hubby and two small kids. I said oh great I can try that and buy this bag that I wanted. Yes, I love myself some handbags not that I need more I just want more. I wasn't thinking at that moment about long-term goals or long-term gains I was just concentrating on my beautiful new bag was going to "add" to my collection. A collection I say because again we are conditioned to think we need to add more, upgrade to better, variety is key.
So every week I saved my money checked each week off with pride keeping my eye on the prize until my daughter made a comment that woke me up and busted the Impulse bubble.
She said "so you are going to buy that bag and what? Use it daily? You know you change your bag every few weeks you've been doing that for as long as I can remember and now this bag is going to change that? You're going to give that money to someone who doesn't need it instead of investing it in yourself?" OMG! My child, I love her. She truly is my teacher now what was I thinking she was absolutely right. What was I going to do after I made my purchase? And how was that going to help me reach my goals long term? Her words opened me up to all those times in the past I've made a purchase just because "I've deserved it" only to later regret the waste.
It made me stop and recall years I could have been building a better nest egg for my family had the impulsive idea we deserve it right now had not gotten in the way. But after I allowed myself to go through those emotions I gathered my thoughts and decided to use Reason. I finished my 52-week challenge two weeks ago and decided to walk myself over to Chase talk to my account manager and open a Brokerage Retirement Fund. Maturity means learning to do what is the best long-term. Thinking things through and using rational thoughts.
As a mother, as a parent these are lessons I have always taught my daughter so why just because I am the adult would I not be listening to my own advice? I am proud to say I have a few baskets each with a few eggs in them and that is a long-term reason my short-term impulses can be satisfied to some degrees with certain returns and that works just fine for me.
Update: So I didn't buy the bag, I took my daughter out to dinner instead and put the rest of the money into my retirement fund. I'm halfway through another 52-week challenge at that is going towards my home purchase. I no longer buy in Bulk stores except for seafood items and veggies which I then cook in a variety of ways to add to my meal prep. I cut, even more, eating out and my Salon budget is the lowest it's been in years after I cut off most of my hair. The money I save on that end I don't even think about as extra I just dump straight into my Emigrant Direct emergency fund.
These little tweaks have me setting up more of my financial freedom and have changed how I view money. I am no longer control by my funds, my funds are Controlled by me!
Share your thoughts, are you driven by your impulses or do you have certain tips/ tricks you follow to set up your financial freedom?
Always stress-free xo, Mari