Becoming Debt Free Q and A
By sandhillsis on February 23, 2009
Thanks for your questions and comments on personal finance. Keep 'em coming, I LOVE reading them. The following email, struck me as universal and probably the most common question I get asked...
I have to ask how were you able to live on the budget. I try to stick to a budget, but stuff always gets in the way. I'd love to know how you were so disciplined.
Discipline is a strong word for me, I don't do well with it. Actually, I do better with a life plan, I wrote about it here. I don't think money is much different than diet or exercise. I like the way I look and feel when I exercise, so I get up and do it everyday. I like the way I look and feel when I don't over eat all the time, so maybe I won't take that second helping. Money is the same way. I like the secure feeling when we have money left over at the end of the month, so we stick to a money plan.
Money is nothing more than a tool in your life toolbox. A tool you have to have to survive in this world. Dave Ramsey says personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. So it's a change in the heart, first. This is the hardest part because it involves emotions and relationships. Here is how the shoe leather meets the road...
Admit you need to change. Before you start a budget or a spending plan, ask yourself, are you ready to change? Can you look yourself in the eye and say "I'm ready to change"! Until you want to change, it won't happen. If you're married, your spouse will have to get to that point too. Keep in mind, you can only change yourself, though. You can't make others change with you.
Accountability. Whether married or single you have to have a partner who will hold you to your plan. If your married you need to be on the same page. If you can't agree with your spouse on money, it may be a relationship issue, don't be afraid to get some help. If you don't know what your page looks like educate yourself: read a book, find a person who is out of debt and ask them how they did it, or email me (it's what I do). There is lots of free help out there.
Get mad. I mean mad. If you are at a point in your life you can say, "I won't EVER live like this again." PERFECT. Use that anger at your past money mistakes to sling shot you into control of your finances. Where you have the freedom of choosing what your money will do for you, instead of letting your money make those choices for you.
Forgive yourself. So you screwed up, your human. Leave the past in the past, learn from it and move on. Don't waller in defeat when you can move on to victory.
Congrats! You're 80% of the way, to sticking to your future money plan. If you want one, that is. Riddle me this! Do you even want a money plan? Or Are you happy with where you are financially? Why or why not? You can email your answers to me at email@example.com or just leave a comment.
More to come!
(crossposted on www.reclaimsimplicity.com)