I said the dreaded “F” word…..finances. Money is the one thing that so many people don’t want to talk about. I am an accountant and I don’t like talking about it. But it’s a necessary thing and the focus of my week.
Firstly, it’s important that we ditch the idea that money is bad and evil. It’s as necessary as breathing for most of us and we should treat it as such instead of linking it to evil conglomerates that are out to destroy the society we crave. Money isn’t what ruins the world, it’s people who don’t take control of their money situation. Or even worse, use money to manipulate and control others. Are you a big evil conglomerate looking to control all of society? Nope. At most you are a person who should be taking charge of your own money. Does this mean you need to have lots and lots? Nope, you can have a healthy relationship with money at any income level by learning how to live within your means.
Yea, so living within your means. That’s a big issue to tackle. Do you have to have a TV in every room? Not really. Does it make you horrible for having a TV in every room? Nope. The key thing is, are your bills being paid and money saved for those TV”s or are you buying them because you want it and want it now and screw paying rent in two weeks? How about a cellphone? For many people, a landline is all they need and cellphones are a luxury. For others, a landline is pointless and a cellphone is necessary. Now before anyone gets into a frenzy on how a cellphone is NOT a need……yea, in some areas of the world and some lifestyles it is very much necessary. If someone routinely is not at home from 8am to 10pm, a landline is pointless because they can never call anyone without being rude and calling at an inconvenient time. In some areas of our country there are no payphones. Seriously, in my teeny tiny town I know of one payphone. And if I am on the other side of town, driving to that payphone is pointless and when a cellphone is necessary. How about computers and laptops? Some people still view those as a luxury and not a need. But it all depends on the lifestyle you live. I work on a computer at all hours of the day. I don’t have a TV and use my laptop as a method to catch the occasional show. Also, my children use computers to do their homework. Sure there is a library and if you live close to one that has computers available that is something to consider. If you are rural, that could make getting to a library with computers difficult. Again, it’s all about what you have deemed what is necessity and what is luxury. The biggest key with that is be honest.
Track your spending. I am a big online banking freak. Seriously, I LOVE checking my bank balance via online. Recently, I have made a change. I got checks. Now usually I use my debit card, the checks are just for those situations in which a debit card isn’t going to work. I use cash when I have no other option. And I don’t like using cash because I find cash easier to spend and I can’t track it. What I am doing now is reverting back to the old checkbook balance method. Why? Because I actually see in my own handwriting how my money is spent. And I can track back to the beginning of my ledger without needing to log in to the computer and scroll through pages and pages of transactions. Not everyone will think this method will work for them and that is okay. You have to find that method that works on making you accountable. I have tried a Quickbooks file, the strictly online checking of accounts, and now the handwritten ledger. Ledger works for me and it’s taken me a couple years to figure this out.
Why am I bringing up the finances? Well in my quest for a job, I am getting hit with credit checks. Yes, your credit can be checked for some jobs. Most notably financial positions. Your credit can make or break you on the front for getting a good job. So I have been really focusing on how to get in control of my finances this week. I am considering calling OnTrack to inquire about financial education on getting that control back and having a healthy relationship with money. I was never really taught how to have a good relationship with money and in order for me to teach my kids and improve my situation, I need to get the hang of it.
Think it over. Sit down and write out where your money goes. Take control. It’s your money and you should be in control of how it’s used.