Take Control Of Your “Cost Of Life” Before It Controls You
I don’t feel like I live an extravagant lifestyle but I often think my money evaporates into thin air.
Most of us are financially squeezed and pulled in multiple directions. Should I fix the car windshield, sign my son up for swimming lessons or enjoy a weekend anniversary getaway with my husband?
Do I really NEED to choose? With all these priorities, how will I ever pay down the mortgage, save for the kids education or fund our retirement?
Is this you?
Stop, take a deep breath and know you’re not alone. Everyone I know faces tough choices with their money. Even those with six figure incomes (they usually have six figure expenses too). Regardless of how much you earn, when you take charge of your money, you’ll feel more in control of your life.
It takes time/effort to figure out the most important priorities- they’re different for everyone. When you let the other ones go, it’s incredibly liberating. Understanding your financial needs and putting some dreams on the back burner for now, can change your entire perspective.
I remember the days when I was most stressed about money. The kids were small but everything else was large- mortgage, car payments, childcare expenses and more. My husband and I were in our mid-30’s and working flat out. It was hard to make ends meet. Sometimes, I thought we were the only ones living with financial struggles. It didn’t help when friends bought shiny new cars or took sun-filled vacations.
Reality Check… Making tough financial choices is part of life and no one escapes. When you have a young family and lots of responsibilities, you are in the thick of it. It gets easier if you stay focused. Postponing hard money decisions only makes the (eventual) pain worse and last longer.
I dreaded my first “exercise” but knew it needed to be done. Armed with a glass of my favourite white wine, I started work on the very thing I’d postponed for too long. A “spending plan” to help me figure out where I wanted my money to go. I won’t tell you it was easy but it was one of the best things I ever did to feel good about our money.
It’s 20 years later now and I’m still doing a yearly spending plan for my husband and I. Yes, he gets input too. I’m amazed at how I’ve grown to enjoy this task. You see, I feel like I’m in charge of my life- in the driver’s seat, not simply a passenger. When it comes to my money, I’m much happier being in control!
An annual spending plan is much more than an exercise in number-crunching. It’s knowledge, thinking and creativity at their finest. It opens your eyes to possibilities and options you may never have considered before.
Do you have a spending plan for 2015? If you do, what did you learn? If you don’t, why not give it a shot!?
Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t … Steve Maraboli
Proud founder of this blog Let’s Talk About Money, Patricia Gass, CPA, CA, provides personal finance coaching and education to improve your money skills. Follow her on linkedin, twitter or pinterest