I got behind.
Then I took action to catch up.
I admit it. I don’t always track my money or plan it out “perfectly”.
I can be impulsive. Like, I knew on Friday that I wanted to move homes, but hadn’t really calculated how much more rent I could afford yet. I knew that I would do those calculations soon (the following week or two, I told myself), but I did NOT know that on Saturday I would fall in love with a place and accept their offer that same day!
I admit it. I don’t always take immediate action; at times I know what I need to do with planning my money but that’s not the same as actually doing it.
I can procrastinate. Like, I knew that now that I had accepted this place on Saturday and all of my bills would be increasing in the coming weeks, I needed to get in YNAB and look at how this would affect my income and savings strategies. *Gulp.* Especially given how much I adore using YNAB, this procrastination was not a case of not wanting to do it. Often I procrastinate when I don’t feel prepared to get with the reality just yet.
I admit it. I go in to denial sometimes about the truth of my money.
I can be willful. Like, I sent the check for first and last month’s rent after doing some minor calculations in YNAB without harmonizing the whole picture. I did dip in to my emergency savings fund, so that neither of my checking accounts would get too close to $0. (The zero balance in a checking account is NOT a zero that I love!)
I admit it. I love and accept myself, too. I’m so glad that I got caught up in YNAB when I could, and that I know that my next savings goal is just to rebuild my emergency fund. (And increase it since my cost of living is increasing. I want it to hold me for 3-6 months should anything happen to my income.)
This process is not about wrong or right; it’s about strategies that are either useful to my health and wellbeing, or not as useful.
Mean self-talk used to rough me up like a schoolyard bully. It was AWFUL. Internal bruising!
I hear on a regular basis people using this type of talk on themselves when it comes to their relationship with money. “I’m dumb with money.” “I’ve never done anything right when it comes to money.” “I’m such an idiot with money.” “I’ll never get it right.”
Ouchie! Please…stop the war! Put the weapons down! That is a wonderful human being that voice is roughing up!
So you read above how I’m not perfect when it comes to what I do with money, right?
Practicing the systems that work for me over time has given me the strength and courage to just notice when I’m not fully caught up with the systems that work. This does not mean that I’m incompetent or a failure or a slacker, or any of those mean things. It just means I’m not caught up just yet. So what’s the way to change that? Just get caught up when I can, and when I’m able and willing to! No value judgment apart from that.
I invite you to look at your relationship with money in this light, especially with the holidays coming.
A powerful exercise could be to enroll a healthy friend or teacher to let you know when they hear you beating yourself up about money choices. For me, that critical voice could rear up in a second without my actually knowing it. I still need the reminder from friends and teachers from time to time, to be kinder to myself.
Another possibility would be to write a short list of things you’ve done with money in holidays past that did not serve your health or wellbeing. Just to raise your awareness about how you might make different choices this year.
My experience is that this stuff lends itself well to patient practice over time. I don’t think any of this process came naturally to me; I’ve been through intimidation, fear, scarcity, anger, resentment, judgment, hopelessness. For me that was just a part of how I needed to grow and get more freedom in my relationship to money.
I know that you *can* do it. Whether you *will* do it, is entirely up to you.