Our Spirited Life began in September 2012 and has helped me grow in so many aspects of my life. It’s one of the many ways I hold myself accountable and continue to act on living the life I want for me and my family. Also, knowing that I’ll be writing about something forces me to look at it in great detail, which aids in understanding from the inside out.
Mike and I have since removed our heads from the sand and are looking at the cold, hard numbers on a regular basis. The key to successful money management for those of us who HATE it, is routine. Bake it into your routine (i.e., I look at our numbers every Monday for about 1 hour and see if anything needs changing/updating).
Last week, one of the best money blogs on the web, Man v Debt, posted about my current favorite topic, talking dirty. It reminded me how difficult this process is on so many deep, deep levels for people, and how critical it is to keep the conversations about money open, honest and consistent with yourselves and your partners.
When I am dealing with debt and money stuff, I need it to be in small doses, otherwise my brain shuts down and all I hear is Charlie Brown’s Mother. So, I thought it would be best to break my advice into the same small doses.
I like to think of dealing with debt like peeling an onion.
The first layer is the thickest and the most emotionally exhausting. Who wants to take time out of life to examine a potentially ugly situation? Not me! But what’s the alternative? It’s not going to magically disappear no matter how many birthday wishes you use up (trust me, I’ve tried).
Your only option, if you want it to go away, is to face it, head on.
You will probably feel zapped by the influx of information, so I recommend doing this in managable chunks of time and energy. If you feel yourself getting upset, take a break and pick a time to come back to it.
Step 1: Make a date with your partner to sit down and begin the process. Create some ground rules (no blaming, no yelling, etc,), pour yourselves some
giant goblets of wine and remember that you are on the same team.
Step 2: How do you spend your money?
- Head on over to Mint.com. This site automatically links to your online bank accounts. It takes some time up front to enter all your information, but it’s totally worth it b/c it does all the math for you. I hate math so this makes me a very happy girl. I think the best part is how it categorizes your spending habits. Look around and see what you’re spending all your hard earned cash on, you’ll probably be surprised. Download the app for easy access later.
Step 3: Find areas you feel ok cutting back.
- This step will be different for everyone. You don’t want to cut too much all at once, or it could backfire in the long run. Choose small expenses first that you might not miss too much. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Check out my post when I found $734/month by downsizing, eliminating and making other small changes to our daily routines.
Congratulations!! You have taken the critical first steps at peeling your onion and uncovering the truth about your finances. Now take a break and do something that feels good (without spending a buttload of money!). You deserve it!