Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When Budgeting isn't the Problem

Every first of the month I do a finance review. I look over my bank statements and see how I have been spending my money. Sometimes I get up from that table pretty upset. I see way to many trips to CVS or Walgreens and I shack my head. I know I haven't used my money wisely. The family I was born into and the resources available to them and later on to me didn't leave room for many extras. I try not to repeat history but sometimes I fail.
You hear or read so often about how money doesn't bring you happiness but my perspective is that those who say that have it and don't know how to use it.

My daughter and I had a great conversation the other night in reference to finances. Being a product of two parents who have struggled with money issues in various degrees throughout their life time she has a very strong do's and dont's approach when it comes to money.

Being a single mother today I want to make sure that my daughter has put in place certain safety nets that she can grab on to later in life. One of those is investing. I have always felt that investing is one key to financial stability but my daughter has a different take on that. She feels investing is great but we need to invest on ourselves and not someone else's product.

illustration by debtfreeadventure.com

She believes investing is not for the poor or "middle class" unless you have large amounts of money that you are not solely relying on. She uses my desire to buy Google and Apple stock all the time. She always forces me to ask myself the question "how much stock do you think you will need to own in order for you to see some sort of financial reward?" The answer unfortunately is always the same...a lot.

So what's a person to do when you want to build financial security? When your last name isn't Kennedy or Wayans or Trump or Kardashian?

For me budgeting isn't the problem. I don't have issues following a budget my problem is that my financial responsibilities exceed my monthly income. So whats a person to do when this is the card they are dealt? I've implemented a few things in my life that allow me to not stress out as I did when I was younger.

-$25.00. That is my go to number when it comes to saving. I have that amount automatically deducted from my account weekly and deposited into my Emigrant Direct account. I don't concern myself with where is the interest higher because unfortunately it isn't in many places right now but at least if I need money for a car repair or emergency, that stash is there.

-52 week challenge. I've done it twice and twice it saved me from tough spots. Again some people unless they see a large number never feel they are doing enough but small steps become giant leaps.

-tax refund. Stop thinking that your refund is extra money, it isn't. It's actually money you could have been receiving in every paycheck if the correct taxes are being taken out. Why struggle during the year only to get a lump sum in the end and waste it? Speak to your accountant or someone else that has knowledge you can benefit from, look into your options. For those who still enjoy getting that lump "extra", use it to open an IRA or save it!

-repurposing items. By this I mean I try never to buy new I look for used or start "shopping" in my own home first. We tend to have things in closets that with a little imagination, creativity and a few dollars can become new again.

-thrifting. my daughter put me on to this one. Many people use a great quality item once and discard, why not be the happy recipient of that item!

illustration by quotes gram.com

-clothes shopping second hand. ThredUp is my go to. The quality is amazing and the prices are great. Again why spend more when you can save more.

-coconut oil. This may sound ridiculous but have you calculated how much we spend, especially women on face and hair products and shaving needs? Walk around your house and start adding the numbers...you will be floored. I purchase a large jar and use it for everything. From makeup removal to toast spread to shaving to hair mask. Google all its uses save some money.

-addictive email. Remove yourself from all store emails! You don't need to be alerted on every sale. When you need you search, you shop around then buy.

-store brands.I have for many years used store brands over name brands. CVS for example has wonderful paper products that are just as good or even better than Bounty or Charmin. Don't get stuck on Labels.

-know what you owe and know what you make. Many of us are afraid to really look at those numbers but when you do they liberate you. It doesn't mean that a miracle will happen over night and your paycheck will grow, but it does mean you will be more aware of where what you do have is going. Cut corners wherever you can, every little bit helps. I use to grab some goodies at Dunkin Donuts every day, now I shop at Western Beef once a week and pick up goodies to bring from home.

These are just a few of the things I use in my life to remain stress free. I don't deprive myself of fun or luxuries I just look for inexpensive ways of doing them. I love my time at the Salon, I love eating out, I enjoy decorating my apartment, I have a nice car but all with mindful living. Not to mention I have a daughter in college and we have another year or so to go.

Living comfortable is possible but only if you stop looking in someone else's window or scrolling through someone else's Face Book. Work with what you have and don't be afraid to say I'll pass and learn to hibernate. It is totally ok to sit some things out.

illustration by page covers.com

What tips and tricks do you use to better stretch your money. How do you save for emergencies and entertainment? What are your thoughts on investing for financial security? Would love to read your comments.

Always stress free xo,
Mari

5 comments:

  1. I'm right there with you Mari! It can be so frustrating when you've cut and cut and cut and still find yourself out of balance financially. At this point, the idea of savings is laughable. Once bills are paid and our groceries are bought, there is nothing left. Even shopping for "new" clothes at thrift stores or garage sales seems like a far off dream. I think the key is in being grateful for what we *do* have. Our clothes may be shabby, but we're not naked. We have a roof over our heads, we have electricity, heat, and running water. We have food to eat, even if it isn't gourmet meals every night. There are many others who would see those things as luxuries and it's important not to overlook that fact when a case of the "poor me"s comes on.

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    1. Brandyn welcome and great comments I agree let's be grateful before we go to the poor me.

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  2. Great list of advice. Personal faves:
    * taxes - take your $ throughout the year instead of "loaning" it to the government.
    * repurpose (rethink & reuse) - I always "shop" my clients' homes before suggesting buying ANYthing. Embrace what you already have.
    * coconut oil - dead on. Can't sing it's praises enough!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Nikki lol love the "loaning" it to gov!!! So true have awesome weekend chat soon xo

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  3. I tried the 52 week challenge, but never seemed to have the right amount of cash on hand to do it. Instead, I put away every $5 bill that passes through my wallet. By doing this, I saved up enough for my husband and I to take a 2 day trip for our 10 year anniversary. I plan to continue to do it and put that money into a savings account so we have a cushion for emergencies.

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