People…I’m losing my balance. Right now it’s financially. For someone who’s in a million weddings (which is rough on the wallet) there’s been a little too much “I’ve got to have that” and not enough focus on saving. In creating this blog, I promised I would hold myself accountable to not only see the beauty in everyday life, but to also practice life balance…between work and play, spend and save, eat the ice cream and opt for a salad, etc. Well I’m here to admit I’m falling out of balance.
Now when this happens (yes, it’s happened before…in the wise words of Hannah Montana, nobody’s perfect) I find it is best to make a game plan. Here is the game plan that works for me:
First things first, I prioritize my unnecessary spending.
Everyone has something that they would hate to compromise on… For me, it’s my beauty regime. I’m strangely attached to my hair stylist (also a great friend – shoutout Logan you da bombbb) and REALLY like my monthly mani/pedi. So I prioritize that, and instead cut back elsewhere. That means less eating out when there’s food at the house, less boutique shopping with a closet full of clothes, less going to every country concert my little heart desires…and instead I embrace outfit repeating and free entertainment (at least for a little while).
Let me add that as I logged on to write this, I was feeling sorry for myself; letting the stress get to me and wishing I made just a little more money (let’s be honest, a lot more…I’m only human). But when you look at it this way, you feel a lot better. Because I am so blessed to be able to buy a piece of clothing here or there, to go out to eat almost whenever I want, to attend three country concerts already this summer, to be a part of my best friends’ weddings. So what, I have to cut back and save up for a few months. I’m lucky I live by the beach where a day of fun is free. I’m lucky I have people I love to keep me company and support me when I need it. As my pastor said this Sunday…I’m too blessed to be stressed. Amen to that!
Now, the second part of my plan is to pay off some debt and start saving again! Two goals in one step because you can do them simultaneously! It’s glorious! And here’s how I do it…
When I’m on my “A” game, I’m putting 10% of every paycheck in my savings account. A work connection I trust (who happens to be a Financial Advisor) told me if there is anything I should do in regards to my finances, it’s utilize a 401k, and save 10% of each paycheck. He said no matter how much it sucks, if I can manage it and still pay my bills, just do it. It’s the perfect way to ensure you always have an emergency fund should you need it, and also allows you to save for experiences or future investments.
Now when trying to pay off debt, I create a timeline…something reasonable and achievable; not some crazy impossible goal. If I have $1,000 in debt for example, I might commit to paying off $100/month. Sure, ten months seems like a long time, but it’s progress. Your timeline can vary, the important part is that you have one and you stick to it.
A little bonus tip to help you save…use a goal to motivate you! Alex and I are planning a trip to Scotland and England in the fall of 2017. After calculating the entire trip cost as best as we can, we began to start putting money towards it. I want to do this SO BAD, and I don’t want to worry about money while I’m there! That desire, that GOAL, makes me want to find balance…makes me want to make my finances a priority.
And that’s honestly all it takes for me to get back on track…it’s really just those few simple things. And knowing that eventually I’ll be comfortable enough to splurge here or there again. Because although balance isn’t spending every dime to your name, it’s also not hoarding your money either. That’s why it’s called “balance” – everything in moderation. Or at least that’s what I believe.
This isn’t a fun topic for me, but I believe in being honest…not only with others, but with myself as well. Money has always been one of the number one stress factors in my life. I think because it’s so easy to mess up. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed, out of control, or like the odds are against me, I decide to look at my problems with a grateful heart. It’s amazing how changing your perspective can bring you joy and stir up determination.
What are your tips for staying financially balanced? Your thoughts and advice are always encouraged here!
Sincerely, looking for balance.