The Stories We Tell Ourselves…and Why We Need to Stop
It’s easy to justify just about anything if you want to badly enough.
When it comes to our finances there are a handful of stories we all tell ourselves to take away the guilt of a decision that may not be in our best interest financially.
#1 – I deserve it
Of course you do! You deserve everything the world has to offer. But does that mean you take that trip down South when your are struggling to pay your credit card debt? Or you buy that new coat when you barely have enough money to make ends meet each month.
What you deserve, more than anything, is to be free of burden and guilt and worry.
Focus first on how you are going to tackle the cash flow crunch with a goal of “splurging” once you get a handle on it. Create that proverbial ‘carrot at the end of the stick’ and, pun intended, stick to your goal!
Related post: The 3 Step Simple Spending Plan
#2 – Things will get better when…
- … I get a new job
- … my tax refund comes in
- … my kids move out
- … I get a raise
- … etc, etc, etc.
Bon Jovi’s song, “Living on a Prayer” comes to mind….hopeful thinking doesn’t get you where you need to go. It just keeps putting off the big decisions until later.
If you find yourself repeating this mantra, it’s time to take action. There are only two things you can do to put your financial house back in order. Increase income and decrease expenses. Explore both completely. And if you can’t figure it out on your own, seek professional advice.
Related post: Living within your means
#3 – I can afford the monthly payment
This one has to be sneakiest of them all. We avoid looking at the total cost, or the interest rate, or the time to repay it, and instead focus on the weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payment. And, even worse than that…we don’t take into account our current monthly cash flow situation BEFORE signing on the dotted line.
Sure that car payment is only $250 per month, a small payment for a car, right? Or, that furniture is only $50 per week. BUT….what if you cannot afford the extra $200-250 per month? That car payment is for 8 years! How long will the car last before large repair bills start to show up? If you add up the total cost of either of those and figured out what you were ACTUALLY paying for the item, well, you might just have a small heart attack!
Do the math. Are you making ends meet now? If not, you cannot add a new monthly payment. If you are, how much are you able to pay each month comfortably? Test it out, start putting that car payment, or furniture payment away each month. If you can do it for 3 months without any issue, then maybe you can afford it, but keep the term low because life has a way of happening and changing things in the long-term. Better yet, if you can comfortably set that money aside, save for what you want and buy it instead SAVING yourself oodles of money!
Related Post: No payment, no interest, no impulse
The bottom line…we can tell ourselves all kinds of stories, but they won’t fix our cash flow. The only story that matters is the one where you tell yourself that you are important, your finance are important and that you are going to do what it takes to get your feet planted firmly on the ground and make your money work for you. Start from that place and see what happens 🙂
Wishing you happy, healthy finances!
Mary Ann Marriott
aka Dr. Debt
DO YOU HAVE a money story to share? Comment below…