MoneyMoneyMoneyMoney…Money

It’s a line from a song. Don’t remember who wrote, sang it or the year.  No matter, it isn’t important and I needed a title for the post, and yes, this post is about money. The lack of, need of, and what it is good for.

My dad had a saying, “same shit, new day”. Yeah, dad had moments of closeness with us kids that when mom wasn’t around where he would use a word like shit. Rare even when mom wasn’t around but like my father, I believe there are times that some words are necessary to make a point.

He, in most cases, was referring to stupid things we kept doing.

My parents had money. Not the whole time I was growing up.  Just toward the end of my youth. When they came into large amounts of money they already had a good head about money, you know, because they had to work hard, save and budget so when the “bounty” came they didn’t go bat shit crazy.

They taught me how to pay bills. Let me rephrase that, they would let me write the checks for the bills. They wanted me to learn how to write checks. I had to balance the checkbook. Great skills to know. Unfortunately since they did grow up and spend a lot of their young adulthood in a constant work hard and save money and budget and live below their means way, they didn’t want us kids to have it as hard as they did. 

At first when I would mess up with money, usually like not being able to pay my rent, being evicted and so forth, usually all at once, my parents would bail me out. There was the payback, and yes I had to pay it back. I would sign over my paycheck to them and they would put gas in my car and give me a little running money.  This went on until I paid back the borrowed money. 

The only problem with this is that I never knew how much I really  owed them, how much I still owed them or when the debt would be cleared.  In other words, they took care of the worry and I let them.

I am not blaming my parents. They did what they thought was beneficial for us kids in hopes of us having a better life than they did. It backfired, like most parental plans.

As parents we try to take the negative, or what we perceived as negative parenting from our parents and do it differently. For example, due to trauma and life experience of my father there were always kind words, encouragement and the safe hugs he would give for the littlest problems we were experiencing in our lives. On the other hand, due to my mom’s traumas and life experiences she was emotionally detached at times for us kids. She didn’t like to be touched and hugs were rare, and she wanted us to be prepared for life ahead so she was the motivator/critic. 

This only means that in giving something different to my kids I totally screwed them up. Hugs were always given and I always made time for problems big or small. I also pretty much gave them what they wanted and taught them not how to cope, but that there was always someone on their side. 

All this led to was that my kids have no financial or emotional boundaries. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and worrying about things yet have no training in how to cope with things in life. There are things that you can’t cry away or hug away.

My parents had it right. Well “righter” than I did. Unconditional love and taking responsibility for your actions need to be taught at the same time. Just as my parents let some very important life lessons slip through through cracks, I did too.

So now, at almost 54 years of age, I am having not only to be like mom and dad, I am expanding those lesson to be not let important life lessons slip through the cracks. This is both for me and my children. 

This means that this mom has to quit acting like a fool in her own life. 

This starts with me labeling actions for what they really are: stupid, foolish, selfish, lazy and irresponsible. I pay more stupid taxes than most people I know.  Example: I went to buy bras. I dislike shopping as it is and wasn’t willing to spend the time to purchase something I would use in the correct and responsible way. I needed them so I went to the store. The stupid tax was paid because I was foolish in not preparing a mental  or (physical) checklist of what I was looking for in bras (I have done this a couple of time before), and downright lazy. I ran in the store, found my size, grabbed them off the rack and threw them in my cart. 

I got home, washed them (stupid) and then put them in my drawer. Marked it off my list of things to get and the reality of just how foolish, stupid and lazy I am hit me when I went to wear one. I purchased 6 bras in amazing colors – for young adults. For those that don’t know, the chest area of a young adult, especially teens, is narrower than an adult. They had the correct band size and cup size for me, but the placement of the cups and straps were NOT for a full grown adult. 

Yes, that is a stupid tax. I never tried them on (lazy), never checked the label to see if they were for teens are women (stupid) and washed them before trying them on (lazy/foolish). They were in the very least the same style and brand that I had purchased before, but I couldn’t return them.

Solution: A clearly defined goal would prevent this from happening – even if I am being lazy. Two simple steps that I could have taken to prevent this was to check the label more carefully ensuring that I was not just buying the brand I wanted but that it was designed for adults and to try the babies on first!

They were gifted to some pre-teens that could use them, and appreciate the gift. However, I am in no position financially to be giving gifts.  And, I still don’t have the bras that I need.

I have a list that is ever growing of stupid taxes I pay on a daily basis. I call them stupid because I cannot get away with saying “I didn’t know”.  I do know. I’ve done these things before and continue to do them.  All because I am selfish, lazy and yes irresponsible. 

Put that on a resume and see how far you get. Not under hobbies, but skills. This is a skill-set that I want to change.

On a different avenue of stupid taxes, I made a very short list of immediate skill-set changes before I went to bed. I listed four things that I am willing to give up immediately and things to replace them with immediately. They are easy changes but, get this, will put and extra $93 in my pocket every single month. That is $1,116 a year.  Put that baby in savings or a ROTH and it will grow, without any attention from me. 

An added benefit that will be evident immediately is that I will now be able to get more of what I really want which is financial peace.  I have a workable plan, tangible goals/outcome, defined time frame and some financially security.

There is no way, unless I deviate from the set plan, that this can’t bleed over into other areas of my life.  I don’t have to change my whole life, I don’t have to upset my whole world, just this little piece of it.

I am a firm believer. In that if we can nickel and dime ourselves to financial death, we can nickel and dime ourselves to financial peace. I have always believed this and now I am going to put my belief to work.

I leave you with two ideas: 1). Write down every cent you spend every day; 2) Put your goal or goals on paper, look at that piece of paper every day – through the day and especially before buying anything to make sure it is getting you closer to your goal or deviating from it. This is where #1 comes in play – it will help you consciously be aware of even the smallest deviations.

Being aware is half the battle. You are already halfway there! The rest is up to you (and me).

PS…. It helps when setting goals to write down why you want this goal. Keep the why on a post it or index card so you can look at it often.  Why often helps us get through that other 50% of reaching our goals.