A love letter taught me a life lesson steering me away from becoming a money fool and into a budgeting money saver. I know what you are thinking and you are probably right. What did Mr.CBB get himself into this time. Well the morale of the story is always the icing on the cake so I’ll save that until you get deeper into the thick of things.
A Fool And His Money
If you’ve ever considered yourself a money fool which to me means someone who spends without a care in the world then you may learn a lesson or two here. You may be someone who doesn’t worry much about what’s right and wrong but you know that at some point you have to make decisions you might not want to face.
You are spending cash to impress others or to make yourself feel better but there comes a time when you must pay for those pleasures. If you spent money you didn’t have or too much money then you have to decide what your next financial step will be.
I often think back to when I was younger and ponder what I might have done or experienced that moulded me into the frugal money saving man that I am today. I certainly didn’t aspire to be an accredited investor in hedge funds but I knew that if I was to make millions it would be because I won the lottery or by some odd chance I had a talent I wasn’t aware of .
Consequently as an adult maybe by default I could become a master of invention and end up on Dragon’s Den, but that’s not likely going to happen. Clearly none of these have come to fruition but I still have the seeds that were planted when I was a young boy. Those seeds taught me that I have the power to become an expert at saving money and the mindset to learn how to invest my money.
Why didn’t I go hog-wild and spend money on clothes, cars, partying and trying to be the cool kid? So many kids today try to fit in but that was never me, I didn’t care. There wasn’t visions of the present only what I thought my future might or could look like if I put in a little hard work.
If only I could find all the ways to save money and make my real estate investments work for me then I’d be ahead of the game was what I used to think to myself. “Hold your investments proud” (hyip) my father would say and I remember being happy when I bought my first home at age 21. That’s the new way to say, I’m hip! I’m sure he meant to have faith in what you do with your money especially if your goal is to make more money.
My parents taught me about money from a young age but it’s more than just education, it’s a mindset that creates individuality with-in a person. I didn’t save every penny I earned but I also didn’t do enough homework about personal finance like I should have done. A money fool, maybe I was to an extent but at least I rode the waves without burning holes in my board.
We grow up learning from our own experiences what we should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s with-in these experiences that we build up the forces to giving us the strength to make the right or wrong decisions in life. We all make mistakes but learning the reasons why we made them and why we want to fix them is a concentrated way to come to terms with these experiences.
Budgeting our money is just one way that as a couple we learned to come to terms that we can’t just run out and buy something because we have credit or cash for that matter. We know through experiences in our younger years that money is earned and doesn’t grow on trees. I get it now, it takes hard work and lots of hours to build up emergency savings in the bank.
When someone wants to start using a budget they should make sure that they are ready for this chapter in their life and they are willing to take control of money, this world’s evil, this world’s comfort, this world’s love letter. We have a love for money, it’s a note, a letter that follows us through all facets of daily living and into our minds and how we react to situations that surround us.
Why Are You Budgeting?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not everyone is cut out to budget their money and not everyone wants or has to use a budget. There are many people who are comfortable making sure they don’t spend more than they earn and pay themselves first. That’s certainly not me only because I need to track figures because I’m a numbers guy and want to know where my money is going.
Asking yourself why you are budgeting and what you plan to accomplish by using a budget is the first step to accepting the budgeting challenge. Getting your finances back on track takes a commitment and it has to be more than “I promise I won’t spend any money”.. like a 5-year-old tells their parents.
It’s not a game or a race to the finish line because no one else is going to care how much money is in your pot and whether you finish or not. Don’t look at budgeting comparing it to likes of ‘confinement of your own money’ and your life has ended rather look at it as a tool to educate yourself about your spending habits.
You know that we never used to budget before we were married and we spent money whenever we wanted but we made the big mistake of not tracking expenses. We just spent money and whatever the cost we paid for it with a bit of the frugality mindset, just not enough. Since we always had a healthy savings account we never gave much thought to how much money we would dish out each week, which was the wrong attitude to have.
Swiping our debit card and MasterCard was and still is the way we roll with our money and how we pay for purchases. Sure using plastic to pay could get out of hand if one is not mindful but at the same time it taught us to think about what we were spending our money on especially when the bill came in.
Cash just seems to flow easier when we have it so we rarely carry it. Reading our credit card bills really set off the spending alarm bells for us and another reason we wanted to cut-back and stop being money fools with our money.
Yes you can still be a money fool even if you are saving money because you just spend like nobody’s watching when in reality you may not have as much control over your expenses as you think you do. I know some people who say once all the bills are paid the rest is for me to blow any which way I see fit. Maybe, but we don’t always have to rush out and buy stuff just because we can.
Don’t Be A Money Fool
If you don’t have the right attitude when beginning a budget then it’s probably going to fail before it’s even begun. Sometimes I get emails from fans who say they are on board with their new budget but their partner is not. It’s not easy to motivate someone who views their income as easy spending money. A money fool won’t see the light until something comes crashing down, life changes or a reality sets in.
Be Real With Your Expectations
If you believe that a budget is going to solve all your money problems right away you aren’t being fair to yourself. Let go of the notion that there are quick fixes to pay off debt because that is nothing short of a lie. Sure you can get payday loans, bank loans, lines of credits and all the other credit that’s widely available but it’s just that, credit. You still owe the money now matter what end of the bill you hold.
Spend Money On Yourself
This is one area of our budget that we put on hold while we were saving for a downpayment on our home. Even though we had significant savings we wanted to maximize how much we could save and how much home we could buy. We decided to lay off on the rare occasions of eating out, coffees and shopping in general to reach this goal.
We have since introduced a small entertainment fund and an allowance which is essentially for the both of us of $30 although we use it mainly for a case of beer or if we want to splurge on coffee or a treat at the local shops.
Chill With Other Money Savers
Although we learn from being around a diverse group of people sometimes it’s best to surround yourself with people that are similar to you. If you are with people whom you try to impress with your money your goals may not be attained as you desire. It’s a different story if you have enough money to get by every month to pay the bills and splurge.
If you aren’t paying your bills and splashing your money around with excuses of entitlement than maybe the folks you mingle with aren’t the best company for you at this time.
If you want to stay motivated then sometimes you need to move away from those that aren’t and go it alone. It reminds me of when I quit smoking. It’s not easy hanging out with a bunch of mates that smoke when I just quit smoking.
After a while it didn’t bother me like it did at first but I opted to stay away for a while until I got the cravings under control. I didn’t ditch my friends I simply took a step back until I knew It was safe to come out again. You can do the same with your finances but only if you feel you have the control you need to achieve your goals.
Deep inside if you want something so bad that you can almost taste it, than you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. Sure we all fall off the bandwagon but hell, pick yourself back up and get going again. No one is going to wipe your toosh from falling because you are the captain of your destiny.
If you do have someone with open arms, they are your angels, your light, someone who cares and someone who doesn’t want to see you fail. Embrace the help with open arms.
Bottom line, if you can’t say no I’m on a budget then do yourself a favour and walk away. If your friends don’t understand then it’s time to find new ones. If you’ve already tasted what it’s like on one side of the fence why keep your foot buried while trying to get over to the other side?
Incorporate A Budget Into Your Lifestyle
It’s not necessary that a budget must dominate your life because that’s not what it’s meant for. Take the time to customize your budget and make it work for you and not against you. Introducing a budget slowly is much easier than dumping it on all at once. Budget failure is your own fault when you don’t plan to work through step by step how it should be incorporated into your daily life.
The Budget Attitude
If you can’t laugh a little then what’s the point? If you feel that a budget is going to hamper your spending style and your depress you to the point where you will give up then don’t start. You need to live a little, love life and find ways that don’t always involve money to make you happy. If you find that “things and stuff” are more important than the roof over your head and homemade meals on the table than a budget might not work for you.
Ah, the love letter. I remember when I got caught by the teacher doing something I wasn’t supposed to being doing in class. Yes I was always into something I wasn’t supposed to be but this time I was merely being the good student and helping out a fellow classmate. You see, Jillian was the popular, pretty girl that no one ever dared said no to. I surely couldn’t say no to her especially since she had a crush on my mate Billy.
I was passing a note that Jillian had tapped me on the shoulder with and asked me to pass to Billy for her. You would think it would have said something like, “Can you help me study for the next math test”. No, that would be far too easy, she had to make it mushy.
Well I’m the one who got caught with the “love letter” and remember thinking “why does this crap always happen to me”. I was a good kid but I knew better than to not pay attention when I was supposed to be learning from my teacher. I should have said, no.
Although I didn’t have to read the note out loud the teacher kindly did that for me. It went something along the lines of “Billy, you make me smile whenever you look at me”… bla bla bla, Love Jillian xo xo. Everyone knew Jillian had a crush on Billy and of course the letter made everyone bust out in laughter and should have made me red in the face. My punishment that day for passing the letter taught me a few things that I carry with me today.
- Laughing really does help when you think others are going to laugh at you, might as well join them because we shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are, where we came from and mistakes we’ve made.
- It didn’t matter what anyone thought of me because I had to take responsibility for my actions when I should have declined passing the note. It’s hard though when a pretty girl is smiling back at you but we must overcome temptation especially if we know it’s wrong.
- When the teacher made me write “I Will Not Pass Love Letters In Class” 100 times on a piece of paper it meant I sure as hell was never going to do that again.
- Learn to say no sometimes, it doesn’t hurt and people will soon forget and move on.
- Good looks only gets you so far in life
My point is if you really want to have something engrained in your mind, laugh a little, take responsibility for your actions, do something about it and stop worrying about everyone else. If all else fails, write it out 100 times because I bet that by the time you hit 10 or even 20 lines you’ll get it.
No Billy and Jillian didn’t go on to live happily ever after but I went on to learn that one wrong doesn’t make a right. Becoming a budgeting money saver doesn’t have to make you feel as if you are being punished or sent to the corner for not managing your finances properly.
What it means is that you are taking the time to educate yourself on ways to improve your finances so you too can stand up and say “budgeting saved my finances” while leaving the money fool behind.
Can you remember a time when you were young that you were taught a lesson that is still with you today?
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