What are the roadblocks to successful money management?

BlogHer Original Post

They aren't necessarily roadblocks but obstacles could be a kinder, gentler word. One that doesn't raise the blood pressure for an already weakened heart after the credit card balance and checking account balance pas de deux.

The obstacles come up unexpectedly and on a personal note, they always pop up just as I feel like I have a good grip on things: Picture me high on a kite. Looking at The Balances. Things are even and I lean bag finally able to take a breath without feeling like I'm living paycheck to paycheck (I am not living paycheck to paycheck but...well...you'll see) then BAM! A boulder comes flying out of nowhere and knocks the scales completely out of whack. Suddenly nothing seems balanced and everything seems in utter disarray as I look around the debris thinking "But I swear $1,700 was JUST THERE!"

Emergencies and obstacles are different for each of us so I'll give you my top three and you are free to chime in with yours. Keep in mind that I am not expecting a solution today or upon comment but as I said earlier; the first step to tackling any problem to the ground is to admit that there is a problem and then to look for ways to give the problem a solid K.O.:

1) Work Travel

This is a toughie because I ALWAYS wanted to travel for work. I thought that room service was God's gift to the free world. Little did I know that work travel can be a royal pain in the ass and will suck the contents of my wallet dry. While I do get reimbursed for all costs accrued it isn't until I return home for four or five days in some crazy expensive city (did you know that hotels in DC can cost like $350/night?! And no, they don't include a personal masseur in each room). So I pay upfront costs for the hotel, food, transportation and my God, my job has gotten SO MUCH BETTER at reimbursement times since Financial Hell 2008 began. But for awhile there it was just painful. I'd dish out a grand and then turn around and spend the same amount three days later. Let's just say that Visa and I are still playing a fun game of catch up.

2) "Insignificant expenses"

You know those 'quick' trips to Target to pick up 'just a few things'? Or that Starbucks latte which is so very delicious so you get it every morning? These little things which seem so little at the time add up so very quickly. For Target (and the grocery store I should add) it's walking in without a list. And for the coffee that tastes so much better when someone else makes it and it costs $5.00, well that's just laziness.

3) Unplanned things that I should've planned for

Oil Changes. Failing my car inspection. Getting new brake pads. Getting a new tire. Getting a boot removed (I know. I KNOW.). Getting another new tire after hitting a pothole. Those kinds of things that mostly involve Ye Olde Sable but really I just need to plan better for these types of things that are most important and possibly more important than my dire need for new makeup primer. So perhaps I'll just start thinking that I could hit a pothole in the pothole capital of the world and maybe I should have the $120 somewhere for a new tire.

Related reading:

All of my friends with kids tell me that having children is a huge roadblock to money management. Apparently the 18 and under set can be quite unpredictable. On Wisebread, Can You Afford to Have a Baby:

Financial Planning Points for Taking Initial Time Off Work


  • Determine who is taking time off, and for how long
  • Save for an unpaid leave of absence, if necessary
  • If you have a reduced paid absence, save up the extra funds required
  • Save for any absence (and prepare your business) if self-employed

Frugal Housewife discusses the No No that is impulse buying:


There’s a difference between impulse buying and buying things you need.
If you have 20 pairs of jeans in your closet and jeans are on sale
right now, do you really need another pair of jeans? Probably not but
you just can’t pass up a good deal.

And Daisys & Dots writes an open letter to Target for their cute merchandise:

Every time I enter your store I hold my breath. I put those horse
blinders on and only purchase the necessities! Yeah Right, you must
know that this never happens and I always buy more than what I need!


HeatherB also writes about her compulsive shopping habits at No Pasa Nada.


In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.