A little while ago, I introduced a series called “Money Matters”because at the end of the day, it does! We need money to survive in this world whether we like it or not and we should be good stewards over that money.
To start this conversation out here on the blog, I’m sharing my money FAILS of 2018. The tragedy that was my finances!
The most recent fail was I did not prepare for Christmas like I did in 2017. In 2017, I created sinking funds using a Capital One savings account that I saved money to throughout the year. I withdrew some of the money during Black Friday and the rest throughout the month of December as time went on. It was the most stress-free Christmas I’d ever had when it came to gift buying. All I saved was $500. Anything that was outside of that amount just didn’t get purchased! Perfect. I used that money for gifts and any other Christmas related purchase that came up until all the money was spent. Fast forward to 2018. I had a set amount of money being transferred into that account. But then, an emergency happened. I had to stop my recurring payments and they never started back again. The money that had accumulated in the account was withdrawn by April. December came and I was like oh, well! People love me regardless right! Sure they do! But I’m a giver at heart and I earnestly wanted to give gifts. Instead, I cooked dinner for my whole family and simply celebrated the true meaning of Christmas. The plus side is – I’ve scheduled my recurring payments for this year and am excited to not have to cook all that food again!
I did not track restaurant and personal spending this year until the last quarter of the year. Other things became more of a priority for me in 2018 so I became a little more relaxed with my budget. I wasn’t reconciling as much as I used to and the result of that started rearing its ugly head in August and September. I kept trying to understand where my money was going. I was using Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar app at the time to balance my budget. I kept having to move money to personal spending or eating out without truly realizing that I was going without in other areas like saving (hello Christmas). Once October and November rolled around, I wanted to get a true representation of my spending habits. I switched budgeting tools – EveryDollar to YNAB, and finally saw the truth. I was spending way too much on eating out, random personal errands and giving to others what I did not actually have the extra income to do. This leads me to #3.
I gave away money I didn’t have. Sure. God still provided and made a way, but you are suppose to give from your EXCESS. If you don’t have any excess to give, be mindful of the things in your household that are about to go without. Also, be mindful of the fact that had some of these people been better stewards of THEIR money they wouldn’t need YOURS. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with giving from your heart to others – whether they have it or not. However, as the saying goes – Charity starts at home. Make sure that you’re good from start to finish before you give out of an empty pot of money.
Lastly, I got too relaxed with my budget in 2018. I could blame it on so many different things and elements of life. But the fact of the matter is, I did not budget well. The only way the first three of these fails could have been fails was if this one was true. And it is. And that’s also okay! You have to own up to the things about yourself that need to change and then make the necessary adjustments to do so. Which is why I’m so eternally grateful for YNAB. I had used Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar for a few years now and swore by it. Don’t get me wrong. Dave Ramsey is bae. The seven baby steps are still golden (even though I venture off from them on occasion). But YNAB is EVERYTHING. I was introduced to the budgeting tool by Paige of The Purposeful Penny and haven’t looked back ever since. It has (and is) given me a true outlook on how I spend money compared to what I actually budget for. It’s made me stick to my budget on a few areas already and I’ve only been using it since mid-November. All the areas I got relaxed in during 2018 is now being gracefully reconstructed and made brand new.
So as you see, 2018 was not the best financial year for me at all. I am, however, on the road to recovery and renewal. Thankfully, it wasn’t ALL bad though. These were just definitely some major hitters to my financial independence. Next week, we’ll be talking about my money wins. I’m way more excited about that.
All my Love,
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