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I’ve been slacking on getting better at managing my money. I’m not really sure how else to phrase it. I’ve been going over budget and spending on things I really don’t need to spend on.
For what seems like the longest time, I’ve always felt I wasn’t good with my money. I would think about how I would be doing something but could be doing it better. I would procrastinate on doing things because I wanted to “get this thing out of the way before this other thing”.
I knew I was okay at managing my money but I never thought I was some personal finance extraordinaire. Even saying the term is widely debatable. What even makes up a personal finance extraordinaire?
I’ve always thought it was someone who kicked butt with their finances and had mastered the art of managing money. This was a person who had a rock solid six-month emergency fund, buffer in their checking account, small money cushion account for pop up expenses, and a paid off old car that they proudly drove around in. Because getting new, financed cars sucks, FYI.
This was a person who maxed out their Roth IRA every year and was on the path to retiring early at 55. They would ride off in their convertible (preferably used, non-financed) into the sunset with their sunglasses on.
Now, THAT was the type of person I needed to be. Not someone who ordered take-out for the third time in a week and hadn’t been tracking their spending for the month.
Sometimes I suck at money.
Saving it, investing it, earning it, basically just not being better at managing my money.
I like to prioritize saving for travel and retirement but sometimes I find myself spending a wee bit too much on Starbucks and eating out. I love watching movies and sometimes I blow my entertainment budget by spending too much on movie tickets and rentals. Judging from the internet’s top productivity listicles, watching TV and movies is the devil’s advocate. Oops. So I have another strike against me.
For a long time, I would build up an emergency fund. Then it would be quickly dashed down by some unexpected expense that would leave me feeling bad. Dental bills and car repairs are the worst. Other times the coffee and take out habit would get out of control and I would feel even worse since I knew it was something I could control.
So basically, throughout my many ups and downs with money, I always felt not near what I would picture to be when it came to being “good with money”. Sometimes I suck.
Knowing my money motivation, the ‘why’ behind my money was important to articulate, but it hasn’t been a catch-all in stopping some of my bad spending habits.
Lately, though, one thing has helped. I’ve started to realize it’s okay to suck.
I’m not living paycheck to paycheck or YOLO-ing all day every day. So at least there’s that. I’ve never dipped into my retirement account either. I still do have an intact emergency fund. I do feel bad about some of my spending but I always make an active effort to combat it. So all hope isn’t lost.
Tying my financial identity to a one-off purchase doesn’t seem rational.
As much as money is an emotional thing, once I think logically about it, I realize I’m not so bad.
Addressing the root of the sucky feeling, usually a bad spending habit, and working to prepare for it next time makes things feel a lot better. The key is to not stop and wait. Just keep going.
How do you address those feelings of being inadequate financially?