Managing Money: Budgets = Freedom

 Budgets = Freedom

Budgets = Freedom

Do you know that thing where you stop looking at your bank balance mid-week because you’re afraid of what you’ll see? Well, I do. I’ve spent a lot of years hiding from my financial decisions because I didn’t want to see how deep of a hole I was digging. I would splurge on things I wanted without thinking about where the money was coming from. I used credit cards like they were real money (they’re not real til you have to pay them back at 24% interest). I would have such anxiety about what I was doing to myself financially that I would just not look. If you can’t see it, it can’t hurt you, right?

Now, the first thing I do when I’m up and dressed in the morning is check both of our bank accounts. One is personal for family stuff, the other is for Little Fox Tarot. Every Friday, Joe and I figure out our bills for the week. We keep a running total of how much post-bill paying money we’ve got by texting the balance back and forth after we spend money. $754....I got gas - $730....I got a book - $720...etc.  At the end of the week, if we have ‘extra’ after budgeting, we decide whether it goes into savings or onto a bill that we’re paying off. Then we do the whole thing again the next week. That’s a lot of work, so every morning I check all of the deductions and see if anything looks weird. I make sure that the bills getting paid this week are all lined up. I’m not afraid anymore.

The difference between those two paragraphs is pretty intense, and the time span from getting from one place to another was about 6 years. It wasn’t easy, or fast, and I screwed up a lot and slid backwards a few times, but after doing readings for folks in the same position for 30 years, there are a few things that always help make the transition.

1. Realign your relationship with money. You get to be in charge, not money. One trick that sounds really stupid is to write it a letter. Tell it that you appreciate it being there when you need it, and that you’re ready to take a stronger role in your relationship.

2. You gotta have a budget. Have to. The first step is to list out all of your income and your bills and your debt. Have to. You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you are. (There’s a lot of Pentacle Magic going on here.)

3. There is a great book called “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey that has a great plan to getting your finances in shape. It’s a bit preachy in places, but it’s been a lifesaver to so many of my clients.

4. Walk the walk. It isn’t enough to have a budget, you have to stick to it. Expect that you’re going to screw up now and again, and then get right back to the budget.

5. Keep setting goals for yourself. Pay off the smallest bill first and cross it off of the list (it feels amazing) Save up for vacations or whatever pampers you. Make your money work for you!

You can always give me a call to talk about money or whatever else has you worried. Just remember that if you’re not in charge, the money will be, and that bitch doesn’t care about your future.