Finances are a pain but the worst thing you can do is ignore them. Everyone hears it all the time, you read articles about it – but I believe most people still do nothing about it. Here is an example of how you can take charge and tackle the problems instead of letting them get worse. Nobody should have any excuses to not be able to do what I have been able to do it a short time period.
Saturday morning. My busy time at work is officially over, at least for a couple of weeks. Now all of the things I have been putting off have to be done. My other half is at work for half the day so I started with hanging out with my girls (4 years old and 1.5 years old). Unfortunately, the younger one is under the weather so it makes things even trickier when attempting to try to stick to a schedule or plan of any sort. I know one of the excuses most people will use is not having enough time in the day to handle finances, to plan a budget to make phone calls to handle certain outstanding bills. My response to that – make time! Time is money but money is time. My day is full of things I need to get done but I have made a conscious decision that finances is my priority for the day.
To get some confidence and motivation, I start with the easy daily Saturday tasks. I get the girls woken up, feed them breakfast and play a few games with them. As soon as they start playing on their own, I take care of some laundry and get through the dishes from the night before and this morning. As my coffee is brewing, I do the morning push ups, pull ups and planks to a few tunes I play on YouTube. Now I have some energy and now that I’ve had my cup of morning Joe or 3 – I’m ready to take on the tasks I am dreading. I daydream about the rest of the day I have coming up and begin to open weeks worth of mail. Now I do everything electronically so I don’t know where our checkbook is, the way our bills are currently paid is the following –
I logon to our joint BoA account. I review the last time certain bills were paid and schedules payments. This is not efficient and not accurate. As I am going through mail and electronic mail, I notice I am overpaid on some bills which makes me angry at myself. I need to automate our finances so these kind of things don’t happen.
I find a Target statement in the mail that is three months past due. The balance of a couple of hundred dollars past due frustrates me because I don’t even remember using this card. You know the times you go into a store to buy something and as you’re checking out, the cashier offers you the Credit Card for the store. You respond with ‘no thank you’ but than they tell you that you can save 20% on all your purchases today, I usually fold and end up accepting the card. My advice – do not do this. Unless it is a store you often visit, do not accept these offers because than you have missed bills like I just experienced. Now I’m on the phone with Target collections trying to figure out my last transaction date and why I even had a balance on their in the 1st place. As I’m trying to have a conversation with the Customer Service Rep, I am holding a crying crabby sick daughter… things are getting a bit difficult but instead of hanging up and telling myself to handle this later, I hold out and get the situation figured out. Phew, what a relief. My lesson learned is you can’t ignore your finances and can’t make excuses of why you can’t handle them at the moment. I continue sorting through the rest of the mail, logon to my operating account and make sure all our gazillion credit cards have payments made up to date.
All of this can become stressful, we do not have unlimited funds and we have to manage our money carefully, especially since we eat organically (more on this later), we have a wedding in a month which we are paying for most of it (more on this later), we have 2 little ones that require finance attention, and our bills go on and on. Although it will be difficult to create a budget and stick with it, I know we need to do this because we can’t have $95 penalties from Target which puts us behind the 8 ball of saving for a house we hope to purchase one day.
Now that some chores are behind me, the bills are handled for the time being, I had time to post the blog – it is lunch time. Time management is another lesson I learned early on (that is for another time as well) but for now, stop making excuses and go do what needs to be done when it comes to your finances.
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