As I sit and hear the water bubbling in the percolator on the stove, I am considering how my financial problems have been eating away at my happiness. And as a slave to debt and payments in adult life, I’m constantly reminded of how little I’ve kept for myself while others have taken from me– all the while, I believed that it was a good thing, to pay later for something I felt I had to have post haste. The thing is that I have blamed others and really taken a look at the proverbial mirror, and I’ve seen what kind of dimwit I’ve always been. But in the same breath, those who are ignorant are not ill-intended towards that which they don’t know. Sadly, this is a reality for many millions of people. They’re not taught the ways of the dollar, and how spending less by buying none of the crap you really need is not entirely discouraged. Our whole lives have revolved around buying everything on credit, or in the form of a down payment, or some other means by which to purchase something over the course of time, since you didn’t have that money to begin with.
Thus, I’ve decided it is going to take great testicular fortitude to reverse the financial damages I’ve rendered to myself. I’ve not dug myself into SEVERE debt, luckily. I rent an apartment, and so I don’t owe for a mortgage. I do have car payments, nice smart phones (ironic) for my fiancee and myself, child support arrears (definitely blaming others for my own luck)– and here it is YEARS later, and I’m coming to the realization that I had not exercised the very common sense I told people was not very common. Spouting off quotes doth not a smart man make (to make use of random, non-verbatim, and highly altered quotes as a means to prove a point). As a newly-discovered personality trait, I’ve suctioned myself down a funnel, into a twisting spiral that is reality and karma only to discover that I, myself, have lived verily as a hypocrite. And ignorant one at that.
Denial knows no boundaries, intellectual or otherwise. As it turns out, I’m a great reader! I’m an okay writer! And I’m very much sobered by this slow-but-steady reality check. As a person who has not done much in the way of intelligence at all, I’m very much sobered by the fact that I have never taken the time to even learn much about budgeting, financial intelligence, or money in general. I have heard from countless people over my lifetime: “More money would be awesome.” “I could use more money.” “If I had a million dollars, I would be set!” The unfortunate thing about desiring more money is that it would be used as a means to highly fuel one of the greater problems that we as a society have already had to face for decades: we’ll waste it on crap if we have neither the proper financial literacy nor proper discipline. We’ll buy things on credit, buy the expensive house, the expensive car, the expensive this-or-that with high maintenance costs.
Look, I’m a custodian. I know a thing or two about cleaning, and basic maintenance is not exactly rocket science to me. I can fix a gasket in a faucet, soft reset phones, figure out the damn remote for the TV, and
kick the dog if it doesn’t work— just like anyone else. I do all of these things in the run-down apartment which I live, and yet when it comes to controlling my spending habits, I’m like a kid in a candy store. “Gimme this and that and all of it! Shiny! The hardest part about learning this is that I actually have to look at myself, and I see a dunce cap on a donkey. Regret sucks!
So, I’ve made it a point to really start to try some of the savings and payment exercises as expressed by a man who goes by the name Dave Ramsey. This is a person who has written a few books, held many seminars, taught millions about controlling their money, and means by which to eliminate their debts. It seems as if he not only has good content, but he knows a thing or two about what has worked for him during his lifetime.
By this time next year, if I can change my spending habits and stick to it with great diligence, then I should be out of the debt hole. But, I understand fully that it will take a monumental degree of discipline, heartache, and tantrums by my inner gimme kid. The only thing I should be investing in at this point is my knowledge of money, but it starts with the first step. All great journeys begin with the first step.
Baby step number one is to save for an emergency fund. This is almost unheard of in my household, but I’m starting off by keeping accurate count of how much I have in my emergency fund, which I will store somewhere. I’m not sure WHERE just yet, but I will have it somewhere.
As I work through the book, I’ll be keeping a sort-of journey through my Instagram. I already have a single post regarding some related reading, with a total of five or six books that I’ve been working through over the last few weeks. They are:
So, that’s a lot to absorb, but when I study something, sometimes I use a laser focus for extended periods of time. A lot of this is basically common sense, but it still doesn’t hurt to read a book on the subject as written by those who have actually done something to make money far in excess of what I’ve even achieved to date. If you have any awesome tips that I could use, please feel free to share with me in the comment section below!