Custom Navbar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Getting Back To Basics When Life Throws You Off Course

Getting Back To Basics When Life Throws You Off Course
We were so busy in the month of August that I didn't even have time to realize that our days in what once was our "forever home" were numbered. Then one day I got home from work and was half-way out of my car when it dawned on me, "This is our last night in our house."

Dani and I have decided to move in with my Grandmother for the time being as we continue our attempts to sell our house. By doing so we hope to save on some heating costs this winter while giving Grandma some much-needed helping hands around her home.

With this change in our living arrangements our financial situation has changed some too. It will likely change again once the house sells and we're out from under the burden of homeownership, and it will change again in a year or so when we find a new house... or apartment... or something.

All of this means we need to take a "back to basics" approach to our budget, which, when you think about it, isn't a bad thing to do every now and then anyway.

Since leading Financial Peace University, Dani and I have kept in touch with some of the people who attended. Some are doing well. Others have backslidden. One lady approached me last week and said, "I hope you're not planning another FPU reunion because my husband and I have made no progress with our finances at all!"

People in that kind of a situation think I'm going to be mad at them or disappointed, but there's no way I can fault them for their mistakes when I make plenty of my own. The more important thing is no matter how many times our financial mistakes trip us up that we dust ourselves off and get back up. Sometimes that may involve a budget "Reset," especially if you haven't been keeping track of your income and expenses.

We live in a society of perfectionism, where one mistake by a political leader or celebrity earns them a lifetime of public shunning, unforgiveness, and hatred. Anyone remember actor Mel Gibson's drunken anti semitic outrage back in 2006? Of course you do. Because despite his numerous attempts to publicly apologize for the incident and seek forgiveness from the jewish community, Gibson is still far more hated in America today than he is loved. Why? Because we found out he wasn't as cool and collected and heroic as the characters he portrays in film? Because we found out that he's a real human being with real problems?

Our culture, while admittedly imperfect, demands perfection. The moment someone doesn't live up to our expectations we diminish them.

Instinctively we apply this type of thinking to ourselves far too often. When we're faced with a project we can't complete perfectly, we quit. When stuck in a marriage that doesn't reach our standards, we divorce. When we're unable to follow a financial plan, we ignore it.

We know we're imperfect.

We say we're not striving for perfection.

Yet we fault ourselves, and others, when perfection is not obtained.

I don't know about you, but the word "absurd" comes to mind.

Perfectionism isn't really about being meticulous and perfect anyway. Essentially, it's about fear. We fear failure. We fear making mistakes. We fear disappointing others. Which is why people act so ashamed when they admit to me that their falling short on their financial budget.

Look, it's no surprise to me that you've fallen short. What would surprise me is if you said the budget is working great, that you've never screwed up, that you follow it to a T, you love it, because at that point I would just assume you're lying!

Maybe it's time to get back to some basics. Don't let the latest mistake keep you down. Revisit that budget, find out where you went wrong, and get back on track. Cut the fat. Mind the frivolous spending. Start putting money into savings again. Don't give up just because you've messed up.

Dani and I are going to be making lots of changes to our budget in the months ahead because our financial plan, as we laid it out years ago, has not become what we wanted it to be. Some of that's because of mistakes. Some of it's just plain the result of life interjecting the proverbial monkey wrenches. But all of that doesn't matter as long as we don't throw in the towel.

So, bear with us as we continue to figure it all out. And, while you're at it, pick up that budget, dust it off, and dive back in!

Keep pinchin' :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment