I of course spend money on the basics but we all want to spend our hard earned dollars only on what sparks joy. So how can I use the popular method with my finances? As I experience a lower and less stable income for a while, I must take a look at my finances. Reevaluate and decide what makes sense in my current situation.
First I have to pull out all of the messy piles of information about where my money is spent. Especially handy for this time of year when I must get ready to do my taxes. If you don’t know where you are spending your money now is a great time to declutter paper and make a list of where your money went over the last year.
Second, I shall categorize everything. Bills, spending at the stores, spending on food, spending on gifts, car fuel and upkeep. The list can be vague at first, but will become more detailed as you wish to narrow down where you are spending frivolously and where you can cut corners.
Sometimes you have to reconsider what is a non-negotiable bill and what is not necessary.
TV cable or Netflix really aren’t necessities if you are going into debt and borrow to buy food. Eating at restaurants and vending machines is a matter of not preplanning and should be considered a treat or luxury. Buying last minute because you are not organized so you hit the convenience store late at night instead of cheaper options at a grocery store is never something you should do if you are trying to save money.
Buying books when the library is right down the street just doesn’t make sense. Borrowing that book isn’t sacrilegious. Often libraries will buy a paper copy or ebook upon your request so the author still sells books, and you can read it for free. This will make the book available for others to discover and can open up the author’s reader base. If you love the book, you can borrow it again or write it on a list for people to give you as a gift or buy yourself when finances are under control again.
Years ago I cut so many things out of my budget that others actually had nasty rude reactions when I told them. “I could never do that!” was what everyone replied. A smaller apartment compared to bigger living spaces with utilities included saved a lot of stress and time. I didn’t have children so no tv or internet was obvious logic to my situation. That equals one more debt repayment every month. Now it means one of my weekly mortgage payments since I still don’t have tv.
I worked in the town I lived so no car and no insurance meant I walked the half hour to work and the half hour home. I lost weight and took the time to enjoy my surroundings. Walking helps combat stress. I felt much healthier then so now I know walking needs to be part of my life every day. I just use the treadmill in winter on bad days now.
Being in debt meant I needed more cash. If work offered overtime, I did it all. If there was no overtime offered, I found ways to earn some small cash after work each evening and weekend. I tutored, babysat, sold excess clutter, cut grass, cleaned houses…my ego did not mean more than getting out of debt.
Maybe it is time to recheck your ego and realize being in debt is worse than not going out in a brand new outfit for dinner and drinks to show off to the socialites on a Friday or Saturday night. Other options are available. If those friends don’t respect your choices, then are they really friends? Are they in the same situation but in denial or have their priorities different?
Once again it is time for me to prioritize. I bought internet to work on a business and work towards having a better life doing what I want so I need to make that internet pay the bills.
Time to look at my spending habits, and 1. cut out subscriptions, 2. spend less frivolously, 3, generate income, 4. get myself better organized, 5. get ready for tax season, 6. find ways to save money by using what I already have to last longer (ie; eat out of the freezer and pantry before deciding on buying more groceries). 7, my clothing budget is non-existent, 8. selling items of clutter to save up for emergencies or home repairs…the list is getting longer for how to save money and how to make money the more I think.
Time to start keeping better track of my spending and see what I can learn as I declutter paper, konmari my home, and get ready to do my taxes. Many of these lessons are going to become my new way of living better.
Everything has a lesson to teach and I am going to make the most of this opportunity instead of complaining about what I cannot change.
When life is easier, I can appreciate it more and help others easier with more compassion and empathy because I know what it is like. I have been through this before because of circumstances beyond my control, I can do it again. I can help others too because I know how difficult and worrisome situations and financial struggles can be.
Don’t give up and don’t let struggles change you for the worse.
Comment if you struggle and need to talk or learn. Comment if you have overcome and want to share your story to celebrate your wins and help others see it can be done.