A year ago, I wrote a blog post about finances and how my husband and I were going to tackle our $30,000 debt. We felt empowered. We had a plan.
But month after month, it seemed as if we were in the same place.
My husband and I naively thought we had the answer. Our plan seemed logical and sound. But even though we were constantly checking our numbers, staying in communication, and making more money, our debt was exactly in the same place.
Immediately, I got hijacked by the fraud syndrome. Here I had announced publicly that I had a plan and I was committed. But my numbers said something else.
Something was missing.
So I turned to the only two people who I genuinely trusted in this area who I knew had the results I was seeking. My parents.
My dad ran a successful dentistry practice and gave us all we ever wanted. I grew up privileged. I remember watching my mom do the monthly bills on her computer, tracking in Quick-in.
However, they never taught me how to manage a budget. They just said, “don’t spend money you don’t have.”
Well, that didn’t work out so well when I quit my corporate job in 2006 and started to rack up debt as a green entreprenuer trying to make it.
And that debt has consistently stayed the same ever since. It sits shelved like a box in the corner of the attic, waiting for someone to actually look at it and do something with it.
So here I am, feeling guilty and embarrassed to be writing about this again with no success to show. But that’s exactly why I am writing; because so many women are in the same boat, scratching their heads if they will EVER be able to pay off a debt and get ahead, or flat out avoiding it all together, hoping if they don’t think about it, it will just go away.
Well, it won’t.
Money needs our attention like a best friend or lover.
Money is energy.
Money is abundant.
Ok, we’ve heard all that, but it feels like a bunch of spiritual bypassing jargon when you have those red negative numbers flashing at you.
So what’s the truth?
And what’s it actually going to take?
So circling back to that meeting with my parents … We sat down, opened up our books, and they said, “You have to create a budget and stick with it. Here’s what we suggest…”
But during that meeting, something still felt missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. We went home and created a budget based on their recommendation. And as soon as we did, we felt the same weight as last year, the “I won’t follow through with this.”
Then the light bulb went off: the problem with budgets is they are like fad diets. They work for maybe a month but as soon as you have some kind of breakdown, you start eating emotionally again and the whole thing falls apart.
What we realized is we put together the wrong kind of budget last year. Like a fad diet, it didn’t account for reality.
So Brent did some research and found something that was quite simply brilliant.
It’s called YNAB: You Need a Budget.
YNAB has four rules:
Give every dollar a job.
Save for a rainy day.
Roll with the punches.
Live on last month’s income.
Our old budget from last year did not follow any of these rules.
But this feels different. YNAB is teaching us how to prioritize our dollars and put them to work. It’s starting to not only make sense, but also feel better. And that is something that has shifted from last year.
So here are my key takeaways today:
1) Get help from someone who has demonstrated success with their finances; but don’t take their word as the only truth
First seek out someone who has what you want. But sometimes, what works for one person, won’t work for another. Make sure you also check in with yourself and your own self-authority so you don’t take advice blindly. We checked in, saw a gap, and did more research to find a budgeting tool that feels aligned.
2) Do not let shame stop you from action
So many of us have shame around money. But shame only lives in the dark. We must call it out and have the uncomfortable conversations about money. We must look at our numbers if we want to have a breakthrough around money. You can’t just have an abundance of money through meditation and affirmations. Those spiritual laws work with consistent aligned action.
I was not taught how to have a healthy relationship with finances. Not many of us were. While my parents were rich, they didn’t teach me how to budget or be accountable for my money. Now is the time to learn and heal from the past as fuel to move forward into the future.
3) Be authentic and humble with your sharing
Last year, I was over-confident, thinking I had the answer. Usually, when I set my mind to something, I follow through. But in this area, I “failed.” I’m turning this failure into a lesson and opportunity to grow AND I’m also being real and transparent that I may fail again. I don’t have the answer yet. I haven’t had “the breakthrough” quite yet that shows the results. So today, I’m not going to pretend like I have the answers. While I know how to make money, I am still a novice at managing it. And I’m putting my head down, not from shame, but in humility and determination to do the required work here. What I do know is that this is how we break the pattern.
Over to you …
What’s your current situation with your money? What are you most challenged with? Get real. Be honest. Share the shame. It’s the first step to healing and transforming your relationship with your finances.