If you read my last post, you will be familiar with what I have come with as a “motto” for 2013, which is Pay attention. Generally, I don’t have mottos in life or anything, and I don’t come up with a special one each year. However, this one just seems to be fitting, especially after everything happened last year.
Aside from occasional coasting, I’ve also neglected to be financially responsible last year. Mind you, I don’t spend over my means (which only means that I don’t live in debt). I don’t buy things that I know I can’t pay for. I do have a habit of accumulating material things and impulse buying, especially online. I suppose it’s only a matter of time, since I’m quite accustomed to clicking around the Internet.
The thing is, I know I can pay for what I buy, so I know I won’t reach that point of desperation where I have to sell one of my kidneys just to sate my taste for the material world. It’s just that I know that some of the things I buy, I don’t really need. It’s not bad to have nice things, but sometimes, it’s wiser to scale back on some things. Especially when it just feeds the hungry consumer who is, in reality, already full.
Truthfully, I think I worked really hard last year, but I also bought a lot of things. I’ll admit that material things make me happy. Maybe not a deep-in-my-soul kind of joy, but I like having nice things. However, I have realized that a part of me likes having a stable pile of savings in a bank more than having nice things. A part of me wants to believe that I’m mature enough to say ‘no’ to certain things.
Just a week into the new year and already I’m having a financial crisis… I think that points to me not being very good with my money. I really think it’s about time for me to start being concrete and strict about my spending. Especially when it comes to shopping. I think I can afford to be lenient with things like food and entertainment (movies), but I really need to cut back on some things like cosmetics (!) and clothes. And useless things.
Be accountable to yourself. I bought this app called Saver a long time ago and had it on my phone for the whole duration of my spending frenzy. The reason why this program didn’t work for me is because I neglected to be transparent about that I buy. I failed to input everything and so I was still blind to what I needed to know—which was How much do you spend each month?
There’s a special kind of diligence required to be able to be successful at tracking expenses, but I think I really have to suck it up and just do it.
Keep a record of everything. I bought an accordion expander folder thing today for this very reason. I plan to keep all receipts in a compartment each month. My credit card bills used to be kept with my mother and she was exceptional at keeping things in order. I would like to start doing the same thing.
Assign a budget. I don’t know how well this will work, but it’s better to have an idea of how much you’d like to spend each month than have free reign. Whether or not this gets followed, it will still impart even just a tiny sense of shame each time you make a transaction that is over the budget that is set.
Aside from saving money, I think I need to work more and harder, too. I think I’m doing okay, but I need motivation to work even harder. Not just to make money, but also to make me a better person (discipline, creative growth) and to make myself feel like I have a purpose in the world.
This is really a spur-of-the-moment thought vomit so it’s likely that I will have to sit myself down and do a goal setting sort of thing to really get into the nitty-gritty. I’ve been way too lax with my time and my money, and I didn’t use to be, so now I’m going to have to fix that situation.