My Come to Jesus Moment was in March 2012 (aka D-Day). I hesitate to use that phrase, because I am quite spiritual and don’t like to use the Lord’s name in vain. However, Brett Nelson, a contributor at Forbes wrote:
He suggests ways to avoid CTJM’s including establishing milestones, embracing conflict, defining priorities and avoiding surprises. Well that is really is what good personal finance management is all about, minus the embracing conflict thingy.
But wait! When I think about how we got here, part of it was because we did not embrace conflict. We avoided it like the plague. We placated ourselves with shopping trips, one up-ing each other with purchases (well he bought that, so now I’m going to buy this) and saying “I deserve” when we were tired or stressed or just plain frustrated with life.
Laurie from The Frugal Farmer wrote on Debt Roundup What Do You Really Deserve? I identified so much with that post. All I wanted was peace, freedom and security but I was looking in all the wrong places.
I defended my spending habits as stress relief from a busy lifestyle that I had created by not prioritizing. I absconded from my role as joint financial steward justifying it in my mind that I was the higher income earner and worked long hours, so that was the ‘least he could do’. I looked for peace a few too many times at the bottom of a bottle, weary after a long day or fretting about other family stresses.
So now what have I done to (help to) turn things around?
- I don’t do things that are in conflict with our goals ~ this includes unplanned spending, shirking responsibilities in managing our finances. I’ve even started grocery shopping (for deals) and cooking a little more which is crazy (for me).
- I speak up, instead of burying my head in the sand, if I think things are going astray. Better to have these small difficult conversations straight away, that are actually quite insignificant compared to the ones we had around D-Day.
- I practice living in the moment – from “The Power of Now” by Eckhardt Tolle. This helps keep me from getting down about our debt situation and worries about family members.
- I try to set an example and communicate within our household about ideas we could do to save money and not waste. It appears I am the most frugal person in the house now, turning off lights, conserving gas etc. It used to be The Irishman. Go figure.
- I’m discussing my new frugal philosophy and sharing tips and tricks, budget and amortization spreadsheets and cool posts with my adult children. I could bear great guilt about how I have not set a good example for them but I know guilt is a wasted emotion. Instead I am trying to help them as much as I can with the new smarter ‘me’ and an excel file for any situation up my sleeve!
- I’m a cheap date LOL. Visiting my grandson on a weeknight, is now Nama’s favourite night out. Otherwise it’s history channel or just being side-by-side, both on our computers. A beer on Friday night, unless we splurge on a champagne Friday which means bubbly in the bathtub.
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