Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Mistakes

A mistake is defined as “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” .  We have all made them from the little ones to the ones which wreck our lives or those around us.  Do you think of them as leaning lessons and are grateful for the mistake?  OR do you beat yourself up swearing to never do anything “stupid” like that again?

I will admit, depending on the mistake – I can go between the two.  No matter how you handle the mistake, you are not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another and reacted differently each time.  The truth is if we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

The good news is, you can learn from your mistakes. Then, instead of repeating them again, you’ll gain valuable wisdom to help you in the future.

1. Acknowledge Your Errors

Regardless of the size of the mistake or who it has effected,  you have to accept full responsibility for your role in what happened.  You need to ask yourself, “What role did I play in this?”.  The answer can be uncomfortable sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time), but you need to own your part.  Once you have said “I messed up,”  you can start to learn from it.  This is all part of changing and hopefully, not making the same mistake again.

2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions

You don’t want to dwell on your mistakes (this is a tough one for me) BUT reflecting on them can be productive. I don’t know about you but when I dwell on mistakes, I tend to beat myself up a little bit.  So, if you ask yourself these tough questions, it can turn a bashing session into a productive one:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I do better next time?
  • What did I learn from this?

Write down your responses and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience.  Let’s face it, we have all had them at one time.

3. Make A Plan

Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road.  It’s important to spend the bulk of your time thinking about how to do better in the future.  Make a plan to help avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your plan may need to change  No matter how you track your progress, find a way to hold yourself accountable.  Remember what works for one person might not work with someone else.

4. Make It Harder To Mess Up

How will you be sure not to mess up again?  Does willpower alone prevent you from taking an unhealthy shortcut or from giving into immediate gratification (I want what I want when I want it). Increase your chances of success by making it harder to mess up again. Find creative ways to become more disciplined. If using credit cards is your struggle – cut up the cards or freeze them.  Yup, in a big block of ice.  Whenever you try to thaw the block of ice, you will realize how ridiculous the situation is and stop spending money you don’t have.

5. Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Make The Mistake Again

We all have weak moments and the next thing you know, we have made the same mistake again!  Why not create a list of all the reasons why you should stay on track and be self-disciplined,  you can refer to during tough times. Put the list some place where you can see it – if shopping is a problem, put the list in your wallet next to your debit/credit cards.  If flirting on social media is a thing, post your list on your computer so when you start scrolling or are tempted you see the list.  Is it a guarantee?  NO but it may help you to resist the temptation.  Self-discipline is like a muscle. Each time you delay gratification and make a healthy choice, you grow mentally stronger.

Mistakes aren’t always one big blunder. Sometimes, they are a series of little choices leading to failure.  So pay attention to your mistakes, no matter how big or how small they might seem. Recognize each mistake can be an opportunity to build mental muscle and become better.

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

Are You an Emotional Spender?

Are you an emotional spender?  Honestly, until about 6 months ago, I spent when I was happy, sad, bored…. it really didn’t matter what I was feeling.  I shopped  I have been working hard to stay on a budget but it is hard!

Did you know “The number-one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy”?

Why??? The truth is, the problem is a struggle with self-control. You went to the mall to buy a birthday gift for your niece, and walked out with a new pair of shoes for yourself. You’ve tried a budget, but somehow you always seem to find something to spend money on that wasn’t in it. Can you relate? If so, consider these practical strategies to get your emotional spending under control:

1. Sleep on it.

If you think you just have to have it, whatever it is, make it your rule to sleep on your decision. Very few things are so urgent you can’t wait 24 hours to make your purchase.

2. Phone a friend.

Be accountable to someone!  You are more likely to reach your goal if you tell someone you’ve set one. So, tell a friend about your goal to stop digging yourself into more credit card debt. Then when you find yourself about to make another purchase you can’t afford, call them up and let them talk you down.

3. Never go shopping alone.

If you can’t trust yourself to phone a friend, then don’t go shopping alone. Of course, my biggest problem (and maybe yours) is online shopping).  The simple click to get what we want, NOW!  Headed to the mall, have someone with you who will hold you accountable.  Shopping online, STEP AWAY from the computer.  Leave it in your cart for 24-hours!  Refuse to use “retail therapy” to deal with loneliness, boredom, or disappointments. Find a new hobby which keeps you active, helps you to connect with others and builds new relationships. Focus less on accumulating stuff and more on enjoying experiences with people and things which matter most to you.

4. Plan for it.

STOP right now!  Take out a notepad and jot down the most important thing you need, and then the most important thing you want. Do you know how much each will cost? Jot it down. Not sure, find out.  How long would it take you to save for each? Practice delayed gratification (so hard for a recovering addict to do!). It forces you to appreciate the true value of your money, which will help you spend your money more consciously.

5. Keep a picture of your goal in front of you.

I have a vision board I carry in my planner so I am always reminded of what I am working towards.  Post pictures where you will see them on a regular basis so you are reminded of your goal. Whether it is on your refrigerator, in your purse, or on your bathroom mirror, make the vision plain and visible.

6. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.

I LOVE this saying…” if you want to get out of the hole you’re in, stop digging!”  If you’re in debt, it’s time to stop adding to your debt. And if you’re an emotional spender, keep your impulse purchases to a minimum by leaving your credit cards at home. No need to make it easy to charge it.  Better yet, cut up ALL of your cards (maybe keep one for emergencies).

7. Use cash.

I will admit, I am not a cash person.  I use my debit card for most things.  I actually feel like I spend less than when I use cash.  Crazy, right?  There are always those places which don’t take cards too so I can’t spend. Research shows though, forking over cash makes you spend less. As simplistic as it sounds, one of the best ways to curb spending is to determine your budget for various expenses (i.e., lunch, groceries, clothing, etc.), then take out your budgeted amount in cash.  Dave Ramsey’s system from Financial Peace University is AMAZING!   While it can be easy to lose track of how much you spend when you swipe a credit or even a debit card, cash forces you to count and keep track of what you spend in a concrete way.

If saving or spending is a problem, I challenge you to stop spending emotionally and start managing your money wisely.  Which of these tips were most helpful to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Money Wisdom

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We are halfway through the year and the fiscal year closes for Thirty One today.  Each year, I review my goals and my finances.  It has been a rough few months adjusting to the diagnosis of MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) and another possible auto-immune disease but I am not using that as an excuse to not move forward.  For some that may seem harsh, for others they will understand that staying positive and moving forward is what gets me up every day.

I have learned (yes, in my 50’s) a few things that I wish I had of learned in my 20’s.  Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal of being debt free from credit cards.

#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more.  By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some.  I always thought more money meant that I could spend more.  Silly me!

#2 Never spend more than what comes in.  And limit your card to the lowest possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer.

#3 Pay off any debt first.  Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.

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#4 Student loans on autopilot.  Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay of your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past.  Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”.  Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven.  WOOHOO!

#5 Build a back-up.  YES, saving is still important even if you have debt.  Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.

#6 Insuring yourself is essential.  A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. That cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.

#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.

#8 Monetize your talent if you can.  Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income.  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember.  I just wish I had of saved some of that money.

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#9 Think about retirement.  This is especially important if you are your own boss.  Sadly, I learned too late that it’s essential to put away money for the future.

#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.

Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.

Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.