I remember when I was a kid and I would make pot-holders. Did you do that too? And, I walked (alone) around our neighborhood and sold them. 1 for 25¢ and 3 for 50¢! I know…slave labor. But, that was back in the day when I could buy a pack of gum for 5¢ and penny candy was still a thing.
And, I remember feeling rich! Like in rich! I would go home and make more potholders…and sell as many as I could!
The joy I felt in the making, selling and then saving is hard to even describe!
Fast forward through the years. Somewhere along the line I lost the joy.
As I look back I think it was because I was caught up in the comparison trap. She had it and I wanted it too…only I couldn't afford it. Does this happen to you too?
I was caught up in the never ending cycle of never enough. No matter how much we made…we spent it. Bumps in pay meant bumps in lifestyle. We never saved for emergencies and our futures were something we never even considered!
Coupled with little or no savings…no wonder I was overwhelmed and stressed out! One little emergency would set us over the edge.
Because money is not intuitive. Money has a mind of its own and unless you pay attention to it…money will flow through your fingers like sand at the beach. Here today… and then gone tomorrow, with nothing to show for it.
And, I need to interject here…I did not realize that I had lost my financial joy until I was about 48 years old. At about the same time I was wanting that million dollars I hit a financial brick wall and had an emotional breakdown. I realized that we were destined for the poor house when we got older if we did not make changes and changes fast.
So I had more cash to payoff debt and to save and invest…as I saw the bills diminishing and my savings account growing and growing…as I saw the light at the end of the tunnel…I realized, at that point, I had lost my joy. How did I know?
Because the joy came streaming back. I learned how to put the joy in my finances. And I want to help you do that too!
FIRST – take a birds eye view of your money. Are you happy with where you are? Or do you want to go on vacations, pay for college or weddings? What about retirement – do you have any money for that?
Do you have money for emergencies – like a new roof or hot water heater? What about a newer car? Can you afford car repairs? How about the basic necessities of life like food and shelter? Can you afford those? What would happen if someone got sick…like really sick – how would you pay for that?
If your answers to these questions are not what you would like them to be – it’s time to figure out your money. These are your goals. And if they are big enough, and you want them enough, you WILL make changes. Because this is what happened to me. I had NONE of above…and wanted it all, so I made BIG changes.
And, at the time, if you would have asked me if I had an extra $20 I would have said no way! (little did I know that I had thousands that were hiding from me just waiting to be discovered.)
SECOND – Now it’s time to analyze your spending. Grab a notebook and write down every purchase you make. And I mean every one. You will have 2 lists. The one that includes your automatic monthly payments and the one that includes the money you spend as you live life. Getting coffee. Eating out. Getting your highlights or nails done. Gas in your car. Target runs. Amazon purchases…you get it…ALL.
At the end of the month grab your highlighters and highlight all the like kinds. Eating out can be yellow. Personal stuff can be green. Clothes pink. What you are doing is separating everything into categories.
Because everything that you bought with that money was from habit. You drive by Dunkin Donuts and get an iced hazelnut latte everyday….it’s a habit.
NEXT – look at your income and compare it to your spending. Is it your income that is holding you back or your spending? We had an amazing income…it was my spending that was out of control, only I didn’t know it.
How many times did I go to Costo to get a ‘few things’ and leave after spending $396? Way too many. How many times do you go to Target for diapers or 1 jar of nail polish and leave with 5 bags of ‘musts’ that you really didn’t need?
This is the hidden money. And now it’s time to either cut back on your spending or make more money.
For the sake of this article…I will focus on your spending.
In order to get ahead of your money and find the joy, you need to find that extra that is hidden. When you cut back and only buy essentials – you fill find the extra. I went on a cash budget. And could only spend what I had in my wallet. ZERO credit cards.
Look at those automatic payments. Do you really need a subscription to 6 different TV channels when money has you stressed out? Do you really need Cable at $200 a month? What apps are you paying for that you don’t use? Can you cut back on the expenses for the kids? How many magazines do you buy at the checkout? Do you supersize it every time you go out?
It's time to cancel and stop spending money on what you REALLY don’t need and use that extra money to pay off debt. Or build your savings account. Or invest for your old…er age.
I promise you, when you get ahead of your money…when you know where your money is going rather than wondering where it went…when you have a safety net…your financial stress and overwhelm will go away.
And guess what happens next…
In my quest for that million dollars, I realized that money wouldn’t make me happy. And, money won’t make you happy either.
What makes you happy and joyful is knowing that you are on track to reach your financial dreams.
And, I just gotta say…welcome to the club. It's time to celebrate!
Now, at Positively Jane, women and financial freedom is a passion of mine. Please grab this free download ‘How to Become a Millionaire’ and check out ALL the wonderful things I have hanging around Positively Jane just for you.
And, if you are just sick and tired of money being the biggest challenge in your life let me help you fix it all. You can find out more inside Financial Independence Society.
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