I was brought up in a meager household. My parents were raised back home and came from the poor and middle classes. We lived on welfare for most of my childhood and adolescence but eventually became a family of entrepreneurs and led ourselves to comfortable living. My family believed in hard work and enjoying life. But we also valued sharing and giving back to those less fortunate since we lived and understood it.
I spent a good portion of my adult life living comfortably and sometimes even lavishly. The moment I started working and earning my own money I developed a sense of entitlement and believed I was in control. Growing up and having no money to all of the sudden having some form of financial freedom boded well for me at first. I was able to save money because I hadn’t develop a habit of spending. But then out of nowhere I became reckless. I started changing because I didn’t truly understand the value of money.
Once I got engaged and was trying to save for my wedding I began living frivolously with my money. I spent thousands upon thousands on material things that fulfilled temporary joy. It made me feel confident and in control. By spending within my means I justified my bad habit as, “oh I deserve to treat myself” or “you only do this once.” But once I got married, my spending habit amplified. I became a crazed woman with my husbands credit card ready to go on a spending spree on the daily and spending beyond my means. I became something so far from what I used to be. I didn’t have a budget or limitation, so I just spent to fill a void in my life.
Since my divorce my life changed drastically. I went from never repeating the same clothes, let alone bras or panties, twice, to being completely broke and in debt. The financial shock left me feeling defeated and confused. I didn’t like who I became when I had all that money, but I also wasn’t satisfied with being broke or just living comfortably. I realized the value of money because I lost it. I realized the value in budgeting and using money wisely and investing it correctly. After a few years I regained my independence by first working in the corporate world and then establishing a few businesses. I have come a long way, but have a lot more to accomplish.
The most important thing I learned about money is, budgeting. I developed the ability to cut my spending habit exponentially all while saving. I was forced to figure out ways to maintain some of the luxuries I became accustomed too. I have a motto, “always maintain and gain”. I couldn’t just give up everything I got used too, but, I also couldn’t afford everything I was used too. I had to figure out a way to keep what I had and build from that. So, I taught myself how to do whatever I used to pay someone else to do.
For instance, being a girl I got used to getting manicures, pedicures, waxing, dying and cutting my hair and performing all other beauty regiments. I used to spend hundreds possibly even thousands a month to pay someone else to do these things for me, but my situation forced me to learn to do it all myself (YouTube is amazing) and even naturally. This saved me a ton of money and refined my personal skills. Also, by not purchasing new clothes and shoes I was able to make use of the stuff I already had and only wore once or twice before. I also spent less money eating out, thus, helping me get back in shape because I cut out excess fatty foods. Finally, I cut some of my social habits such as partying, drinking and smoking which saved me hundreds a month. I learned to do all of the things I wanted to do while budgeting myself and still saving a little for a rainy day.
Time to reflect:
Are you good with money? Do you spend within or beyond your means? We all like to indulge but are your indulgences borderline obsessive and compulsive? Do you know how to budget your money? Do you like who you are when you spend money? Ask yourself these questions as you go out and spend your hard earned money. Think about what you’re giving up in order to gain. If you are trying to change your ways of spending, consciously figure out where your money is going. Once you know where and how you’re spending your money, learn to budget yourself. Find alternate ways to maintain your activities without spending the same amount or possibly even doing it for free.
“Soon gotten, soon spent; ill gotten, ill spent.” ~ John Heywood