We also thought it was important to address the first steps to take to reach financial independence… and also acknowledge that not everyone is currently in a position to get to financial freedom. The truth is, ‘just save more’ or ‘be frugal’ are not adequate pieces of advice if you’re in a tough situation. Sometimes, you need to do more than just cut back on consumerism.
I began tracking every penny that went in and every penny that came out. And although I didn’t feel like I could control my finances yet—because I was making so very little money that I didn’t have many choices about what to do with it—it gave me the sense of possibility someday. You know, if I kept this up and figured out how to earn a little more than what I was making as a telemarketer. Someday this would pay off and I would be in control of my money.
The reason our last budget didn’t work is because it was too much work to track & manage. The problem was that we didn’t have a system in place that would work for us.
So I recently set out to come up with a system that would fit our needs.
Because at the end of the day, the most effective budget is the one that you’ll stick to.
I swear there is a something in your DNA that determines whether you’re frugal or spendy. I definitely have the spendy gene. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. As they say, the first step is acceptance. Understanding yourself as a spender will let you build up an arsenal of tools to counteract that. And budgeting is a big part of that.
The first thing we had to do, once I added up all the debt, once I had my UGH-Sick-and-Tired Moment, we had to get real with our spending. So, I needed to see where exactly all this money had gone. We don’t live in the lap of luxury. Yeah, we have a flat screen television. The couch behind me? Bought that secondhand. Fancy car in the driveway? Nah, at the time we were driving an ’07 Honda Odyssey minivan. We really didn’t have anything to show for the almost-$60,000 in debt that we in fact had.
Stick to it, stick to it like glue! Stick to it like a spider on the wall! You really have to make it a priority in your life, and make it something that your life is now about.