Author Topic: Article: I was failing at my relationship with money. Here’s what I did  (Read 741 times)

OtherJen

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I thought this article was refreshing, especially when contrasted with the often ridiculous Money Diaries on Refinery 29. I know this forum is all about facepunches and huge changes, but I admit to being similarly ignorant (often willfully so) about my own finances and a smaller-scale stepwise approach like this was what got me on track.

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I feel silly, honestly. I feel silly that these steps feel like monumental victories. The simple act of saying no to a litany of opportunities to consume and carouse must be so obvious to other people. It’s a straightforward way to save. But if I’m being honest with myself, I’m doing something I never did. I’m thinking about money all the time, and I’m not afraid of it. I check my account balance without feeling like I need to do calming breathing exercises first.

I was failing at my relationship with money. Here’s what I did to fix it.

PoutineLover

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I liked that article. It's easy to mock people who spend too much (especially in this forum), but honestly our society makes it so easy to just spend money thoughtlessly and end up in debt. I'm guilty of going out to eat too much or spending too much on clothes or travel, because I don't like saying no to friends and I think of things I "need". Luckily I've never ended up in debt, but I definitely could have saved a lot more. It's nice to see someone changing their whole relationship with spending and ending up way more secure and less anxious about money. Thanks for sharing.

RWD

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Very interesting, thanks for posting. I really think that the psychological hurdles in personal finance are much more difficult for the general populace than the math. Although people like to say they are bad with numbers or they hate math they all understand that you need to spend less than you make or you won't have any money. The tough part is self control and actually looking at where the money is going.

I liked this quote from the article:
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Still, I’ve nurtured a state of being, a personality, of being “broke” for much of my adult life. “I’m just not good with money,” I’ve said, as if that’s a chronic ailment.

marty998

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I found this very difficult to read, and not just because of the dark grey text on black background.

The Lyft rides for family, the grocery bills, the spending on accessories, travel, gifts... she'd became accustomed to a lifestyle that until now she couldn't afford. I was burning inside just screaming out "WTF!!!".

I think she gets it, but it's hard to understand why she reverts to old habits when she knows it puts her in difficulty. Self-destructive tendancies seem to be very difficult to overcome.

Good luck to her.

nereo

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Here's what jumped out to me:
Saving” was always something I knew I was supposed to do but never really understood how to do. No one taught me in high school. Then again, I never really tried to learn when I became an adult. ... “Have you ever made a budget?” my boyfriend once asked me.

I had, kind of. I’ve written down how much money I make and how much money I pay for bills and essentials and then… done absolutely nothing with that information.
"

Like many, no one taught her basic finances. She mentions high school, but kids should learn how to save well before that. She's responsible for all her actions, but went into the world financially ill-prepared.

OtherJen

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I found this very difficult to read, and not just because of the dark grey text on black background.

The Lyft rides for family, the grocery bills, the spending on accessories, travel, gifts... she'd became accustomed to a lifestyle that until now she couldn't afford. I was burning inside just screaming out "WTF!!!".

I think she gets it, but it's hard to understand why she reverts to old habits when she knows it puts her in difficulty. Self-destructive tendancies seem to be very difficult to overcome.

Good luck to her.

That’s really odd; it’s standard black text on a white background on all of my screens. I wonder if it’s a browser issue.

I think it would be very difficult to understand the “why” if you weren’t raised to think that this behavior is normal. For 40 years, I have been surrounded by similar attitudes as “normal.” Because my husband and I have a small house, used cars, and don’t travel overseas or go out to restaurants/theatres often, people tend to think that we’re poor. We don’t have incomes as high as most of the people on this forum (we’re much closer, income-wise, to the author of the article), but we are frugal, live within our means, and save what we can. We weren’t always so disciplined.

I was raised to think that it was normal to have your hair cut and highlighted and your nails done at a fancy salon every month or to go on fancy golf weekends or trips via train to stay in hotels in other cities even if finances were so tight that the family had to move in with grandparents. I was raised to think that it was normal to eat in restaurants or takeout multiple times per week and to always have a car payment. I was raised with the attitude that “we don’t shop in thrift stores because that is only for poor people.” My parents are kind, generous, and wonderful people who taught me the value of hard work and encouraged me to become well-educated and independent. But I’d be kidding myself if I thought I hadn’t learned some terrible money habits by observation.

Dicey

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Nice read,  thanks for the link.

FIRE@50

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Nice read,  thanks for the link.
THIS^^^

radram

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I like the article. It can lead to some great discussion.

I was most interested in the discussion regarding cash. The author didn't "see the light" until she switched to cash only for transactions. But she didn't see the light at all. She commits to taking out $250 a week, and when its gone its gone.... until month 2 when she spent more.

I feel this is totally backwards. To truly get a handle on spending, you need to track it. She admits she has no interest in keeping track of spending. A credit card trail locks in the record. You can see it FOREVER. You can compare month to month, year by year. You can not "hide" a latte, or a nice pair of earrings, etc. She even admits she still does not know what she spends her money on(80-100 for groceries is not at all accurate enough), only that she spends all her allotted money.

If you are not committed to tracking spending, I feel you MUST use credit, so that transaction is recorded and can be assessed at a later date.

talltexan

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I feel that your argument for credit doesn't address the author's description of how using cash changed her emotionally.

radram

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I feel that your argument for credit doesn't address the author's description of how using cash changed her emotionally.

You are right. It does not. That emotional connection is very important.... now what is she going do you do about it? She still has no idea what she spends her money on.  She thinks she "is done". She really is just ready to finally START.