Since the pandemic began, many people have lost their jobs or had their hours cut. Now more than ever, it’s evident that managing your money well is extremely important. If you’ve never truly sat down and focused on where your money goes, it’s time to learn how to create a budget.
Money’s a funny thing.
Some people love money a little too much. Others say it’s the root of all evil. Yet others view it as a means to an end. I’m more in that last camp.
I think money becomes what you want it to be. It can become a powerful tool to help you build the life you want, but it can also destroy that life in a matter of seconds, if you place its importance above human relationships.
We live in a capitalist society, which means that you can’t simply say no to money. Even if you were to say no to money, you’d just be depending on someone else’s money to survive. Even if you started living off bartering completely, the resources you’re bartering with touched money at some point or another.
So… you’ve got to find a way to earn money. And if you’re going to earn it, you’ve got to find a way to manage it.
The majority of people in both the US and Canada have consumer debt (sometimes so much of it, that they’re on the brink of personal disaster at any moment).
As a society, we start teaching our kids that borrowing money is perfectly fine as soon as they graduate high school—and we convince them to take out loans to get an education. Then we convince people that “owning a home” is the best thing you can do for your personal investments (it’s not), and people go into further debt to buy a house.
And so it keeps on going… our need for immediate satisfaction eating away at the money we work so hard for, until we have no choice but to live paycheque to paycheque.
And then we blame the economy and the government for our woes, when in truth, if you’re earning above the poverty line, your own choices in how you spend what you earn are what truly matter.
My husband and I have never carried credit card debt or had car loans. Some of our friends wonder how it’s possible that we’ve never truly carried any major consumer debt.
We drive old cars (one of which looked like a taxi), we paid off all our student loans as quickly as we could, and we save for what we want to buy. It’s simple, really: if we don’t have the money for something in hand, we don’t buy it. We have three kids on what’s officially one income, and we manage without debt.
But we’re not perfect. We’ve abused lines of credit in the past. While we don’t recommend this, we don’t swear off borrowing money completely—there’s a time and a place for it. But we try not to as much as we can.
How are we able to do this? One simple word: BUDGETING.
Budgeting and planning ahead changed our lives. And YNAB made it easy. In this section of the blog, I share some of our financial experiences with you. Read on to learn more about budgeting, personal finance, and more.
Posts about Money, Budgeting, and Personal Finance
Living The Debt-Free Life
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with an acquaintance many years ago. We had been talking about money and debt, and she said, “well, you have to have debt if you have three kids.” I didn’t really engage, but I remember being taken aback, if not completely surprised by the comment.
How to Create a Budget that Works for You
I’ve done a few things with my family that have left some people puzzled about our socioeconomic status. How can we afford to do all the travelling we do? We’re not rich by any means. We’re just good planners, and we happen not to care what other people think about our lifestyle. If you want to be able to afford those extra experiences you’ve been dreaming of, you’ll need too learn how to create a budget that works for you—and then stick to it.
Continue reading “How to Create a Budget that Works for You”
Side Hustles for Stay-at-Home Parents
Side Hustles allow me to stay home with my kids while still earning money.
If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent for any length of time, chances are that at some point, you’ve considered going back to work. But for whatever reasons, you keep deciding to stay. For me, there are many reasons. But even though I’ve decided to stay home with my kids, that doesn’t mean I can’t work for pay, too. And the same is true for you. Enter side hustles.
Personal Finance Blogs Worth Reading
Financial situation got you down? Ready to get your finances under control?
I’m no personal finance expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two over my short 36 years. I’ve been a broke (working) student, a laid-off employee, and a homeschooling mom of 3. I’ve worked 3 jobs and I’ve worked no paid jobs. I’ve written articles for pennies (or for nothing at all), and I’ve secured big clients on retainer.
Save Money: Why We Drive Crappy Cars
I’ve never owned a new car, neither do I ever intend on buying one. (Except maybe for a DeLorean time machine replica. That’d be worth spending money on. If I’m ever filthy rich).
I just don’t see the appeal of adding “car payment” to my pile of bills. I’d rather pay in cash, and when that’s not possible, pay it back as quickly as possible on my own terms. Which is why when we did borrow money to pay for a car, we did it on a low cost line of credit and paid it off within a few months.
I stopped saying “I can’t afford it.” It’s liberating.
Way back when, I was a poor, broke, indebted university student. I was barely making ends meet while working two jobs and pursuing a dual degree. More often than not, when I was asked to do something or go somewhere, my answer was “I can’t afford it.” It didn’t quite feel embarrassing (I was used to being broke), but it did feel like a downer – and like I didn’t have a lot of control over my situation. Truth be told, at the time, I really couldn’t afford much more than tuition, books, and rent (I got some help with the food situation – but that’s a story for another day).
Fast forward to a few years later—all my debt was paid off, and I was in a good financial situation. But I often still said “I can’t afford it” when I was asked to do something. Then I stopped to think, and I figured out that in reality, I could indeed afford it, if I moved some money around. The truth was, though, I didn’t want to do that – I had different financial priorities.
Now, when I’m asked if I want to go somewhere or do something, I never say “I can’t afford it.” Instead, I proudly say, “it’s not in my budget.” These simple words don’t mean that I’m broke. They mean that I have full control of where my money is going, and I have the confidence to stand by my priorities. You should try this – stop saying that you’re broke, and start saying that it’s not in the budget.
What’s that now?
You don’t have a budget?
Continue reading “I stopped saying “I can’t afford it.” It’s liberating.”