So last post I sort of ended with the thought that gaining control of my finances allows me to move forward in my self-improvement goals. I’m going to try to explain that today in a logical way so that you can understand why budgeting and being in charge of your money is going to help you move ahead in life.
This is not about being rich or making money fast or anything like that. I still haven’t figured out how to make $1,000’s of dollars in a week and I work shift work just like a lot of you. I’m a regular person who is just trying to improve herself, not necessarily get rich (wouldn’t complain if it happened though).
When I first started this self-improvement process I realized that I needed to make a lot of changes. Good changes! But some could be expensive. Not all of them, and the goal, really, is to make one-time purchases so that you aren’t constantly spending money. But some money was going to be necessary.
- I’ve been developing a better self-image. Basically, the way I think about myself and my self-esteem is improving. I take less crap from people and it’s easier for me to be assertive. I’m not aggressive, but I’ll say something if I need to. When this started happening, I realized I needed better clothes because my wardrobe did not reflect who I really was (like Mulan!) So I did a closet refresh and purchased a few items. Not a lot and I’ll get more into that in the future, but as you can imagine, those clothes cost money.
- I realized that, instead of buying items, I wanted to collect stories and memories. I wanted to adventure. I wanted big things to happen. Flying to Europe and sleeping in a bed costs money. And not a small amount. So I had to get my finances under control in order to be able to do that.
- I started appreciating quality over quantity. It is now no longer satisfactory to have 100 of something, I want one really good version of that thing. For example, instead of using the plastic takeout containers that I get from Chinese food, I prefer the glass pyrex containers for storing leftovers. They last longer, don’t have weird chemicals in them, aren’t as difficult to wash and they reheat food more efficiently. Instead of 20 pairs of jeans from Old Navy, I purchased three pairs of premium denim jeans at the Nordstrom sale. They’ll last longer, they are better quality and fit really well. As you can imagine, while these things will last longer, they require a little more research and money to obtain.
- I prefer good, well crafted food. This sounds hipster and snobby, I know. But hear me out. Recently I’ve discovered that there is a WORLD of difference between a chain restaurant (Applebees, McDonalds, Chilis, etc) and food that was carefully prepared by someone who loves their craft and has taken time to carefully select the elements in a dish. Handmade pasta, freshly butchered meat, fresh fish, and fresh baked bread are all experiences if you will allow them to be. For me, food is not really about just eating because you’re hungry, but it has morphed into something much more satisfying. When I eat a dish prepared by someone who is really passionate about food I’m happy. So no, I don’t eat out a lot but when I do, I realize it’s going to cost something. Quality ingredients and experience cost money. It’s just the way it is.
Again. I’m not rich. I make maybe $2,500 a month, a little more if I work a butt load of overtime. I don’t have rich parents and I don’t accept money from people (I’m not a beggar). I’m actually insanely proud of my independence and it would be insulting for someone to try to bank roll my adventures.
Does this all make sense?
I firmly believe that the first step to improving your life is getting your finances under control. I did this backwards and am only now starting to budget, so don’t make the same mistake I did.
Another thing to note is that as you work on getting your life in order, you’re also developing self-control and discipline, two very important traits that are going to see you through some tough times and difficult decisions. Having self-control is the difference between buying five shirts that you don’t need because they’re on sale and saving that money because you know they’ll fall apart in four months and you can buy one shirt somewhere else that will last you several years. Having discipline is the difference between waking up on time for work because you know you should and hitting snooze five more times. Discipline and self-control are brothers.
The good news is that the more you exercise discipline and self-control, the easier it becomes to make the right decisions.
We’ll talk more about discipline and self-control in another post. For now, I hope you realize how important (and useful) money is in this self-improvement process. Please understand, however, that everyone is going to have different goals and processes. It might not be your dream to travel around the world and that’s perfectly fine! But I’m sure you have something that you’ve always dreamed of doing that you just haven’t been able to afford.
Grow up, be an adult, control your spending. You’ll get there.
Thanks for reading! Come back next Wednesday for the August wrap up and the introduction of September’s theme! I’m super looking forward to it.
Have a great week!