Struggling to pay your bills?
Can’t find money to eat out?
You are bad with money.
Most money conversations that I take part in, center around the idea that someone is bad with money. Let me kill this common misconception. There is no such thing as “being bad with money.” You spend more than you make. Let me repeat that. YOU SPEND MORE THAN YOU MAKE. You’re angry at hearing it? Good! The first step is to acknowledge that it is true. Anger is an emotional statement that is a reaction of hearing the truth. “You are bad with money”… that doesn’t exist. You simply spend more than you make.
Do me a favor. Please keep reading. I know that you don’t want to. You have probably held on to the belief you entire life that you are “bad with money.”I hear it so often from those close to me. But it’s just not true!
The only way to “be good with money” is to spend less than you make. Yes, spend less than you make. It’s an ugly word, but it is called budgeting. Trust me. I did it 7 years ago and HATED it. We took all of our credit card spending (we only spend on credit cards) and categorized them. Assigning a number to each category.
- Stocks (pay yourself first)
- Eating out
- Utility bills (gas, electric, water)
- “I just wanted it” (clothing and random impulse buys)
- Alcohol (this was part of our date night, so we had it in it’s own category)
- Work expenses
- Entertainment (vacations, Redbox rentals, etc.)
After exporting credit card expenses to Excel and assigning one of the above numbers to each line for 12 months of expenses, we knew our averages. We didn’t spend $80 on medical every month, but with one ER visit in a year, plus the flu, and the random step on a rusty nail, it averaged to $80 per month. After budgeting, we set aside $80 a month for medical. It eliminated the excuse that we were bad with money. When we had to pay a $250, or $450 co-pay in one month (yes they get expensive quick) we had the money set aside. No longer were we “bad with money.” Instead $80 a month went into an account for medical. Yes, for us to make sure we had the money when needed, we allocated it to a proper account for safe keeping. All of a sudden, we went from “bad with money” to “budgeters.” Yes, the dirty “B” word!
As embarrassing as it is to say, I could not believe the amount I spent in the “I just wanted it,” “eating out,” “entertainment,” AND “grocery” categories. (Costco is deadly.) Once I got these items under control, it was easy to pay myself first and stick to the budget. While, we are not rich yet…we are on the way. If you need someone to help you get your budget together, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There should never be any shame in reaching out, and if I can help in any way, I’m here! This is why it is Our Matriarchy.
*I would also LOVE to hear any success stories from those who have already started to manage their budget. What has worked for you?