January Focus of the Month: Finances

I. Hate. Finances.

I leerve me some money. But I hate finances.

Wanna know why? It is because I understand finances, but I’m still bad with them.

I know how budgeting, expenses, RRSPS, Direct TFSAs, RESPs and LOCs work, but I still mess it up.

To me, money is a cupcake, and I’m on a diet. I know I shouldn’t indulge. But it’s just too tempting.

I’ve had a long journey with finances since I graduated from university. Thanks to my supportive parents and serving up drinks at a local pub (which was located above a strip joint – we often had to call them downstairs and politely ask them to turn down the music), I came out of university debt-free. But I didn’t fully understand a budget until I sat down with my Money-Smart Sister who showed me how a budget looks on an Excel sheet.

She taught me about expenses, debt repayment, savings and budgeting.

After all her sweat and all my tears, let’s fast forward seven years later and I’m STILL struggling with budgeting my money properly.

Source: Lake 88

I often blame my freelance business income, which ranges month to month. But after three years in the business, I should be able to understand how to better budget my income.

Here’s my problem:

I start out the beginning of the month with the best of intentions, but by the month’s end, I have overspent and I am playing catch up with my money. It’s an exhausting cycle and commonly results in my coming to my husband every four months, admitting defeat.

He then talks with me about a plan. We set a plan. I get excited. But I still fail.

That said, I do have to give myself credit. When my family decides on a financial goal, I never waver. For instance, I saved all my teaching money last fall and contributed it to Alex’s RESP. I’m so proud about being able to do that for him.

But the moment I walk into Target, all I see is Red. Literally. That’s their marketing colour. And then they see green. Literally. Coming from my wallet.

My biggest problem with spending is that it doesn’t usually always come from an “I want” mentality. It is to buy for others or the house or it’s an “I need” mentality (such as deodorant – that’s important). That’s all sweet and swell, but when I don’t PLAN for this spending, that’s when I get into trouble.

My inability to prepare for upcoming costs is why I have assigned January as my Financial focus. I need to budget, check in on my online banking, stop the unprepared spending and instead start planning. I also need to delete Target from my GPS.

This month, I’ll review ways that I’ve addressed these issues, look at helpful resources and chronicle my money woes, challenges and successes. I’m scared about this one, but also empowered.

In life, money can play a determining factor in our happiness and unhappiness. I am tired of the unhappiness and instead want to follow a plan that works for me and the future.

Now I’m really seeing red.

*

How did you learn about money?

What is your financial Achilles heel?

Can I get a ride to Target?

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6 thoughts on “January Focus of the Month: Finances

  1. I have the exact same issues! (Right down to the Target weakness and getting frustrated every four months and having to rehash a plan). I made Finances my New Years resolution so maybe if we’re good we can treat ourselves to a Target date… Damn it!

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