January 18th - Step 13  -  Money money money..........

Welcome back - or if you are joining us for the first time, welcome!  The blog is intended as a 365 days journey to health and wellness, a happier with yourself you!  Fiji is supposedly the happiest place on earth - sorry Mickey and friends - hence the title.  If you are new, check out the previous exercises included in the earlier steps.

In earlier steps I have touched on some of the issues and challenges that can result in problems with our weight, mental health and general well being and happiness - today I am going to write about money.

I own up, I have, in the past proved to be "useless" with money.  Finally at age 54 I am trying to get a grip and stop telling myself "always have been always will be" and create positive change in my beliefs and approach to financial health and literacy.

Over the years I have opened numerous savings accounts, invested in the stock market, bought and sold houses and apartments.  Yet, honestly when I get paid tomorrow I will be paying all that money out for rent and bills and  my savings and chequing accounts will be back to pretty much 0 again!  It sucks and, I created the pattern.  Whilst as a single mum I only have one income  that contributes to a  lack of excess, it is not the root of the problem.  I think the problem started when I didn't take the time to appreciate money as a privilege and a resource.  Just like gold or oil or copper found in the ground, if the resources are used wisely they will create wealth and if not, they won't.

Whilst I can't control the extenuating circumstances such as medical bills for my family when Mum and Dad were in Canada, allowing myself to be duped by a buyer and loosing the home I had purchased, having to take extensive time off work to recover form cancer surgeries, taking trips back to the UK to see my mum -  I can control making poor decisions based on emotion,  greed, a need to "fit in" or feeding the instant gratification monster:-).

So, here's the plan.  For every dollar I earn I am going to squirrel 10% into an "I can't get my hands on it" account.  It IS going to be tough but probably the toughest part is that I won't have dollars to fritter away.  It's true that we all need treats but I rather think I was using those "treats" as a way to avoid the problem.  I also have a bad habit of trying to save for something and then just using money that I haven't saved to do or buy whatever....which is may be something that is a want not a need. Changing this habit and the mindset is challenging because I am generous by nature and like to get caught up in the moment - that's where the emotional spending comes in.  Finding ways to still be generous and joining in social activities may mean saying no to some things and finding other ways to accommodate the social and emotional need.

I am also going to put another 5% by for those rainy day needs or emergencies that come up from time to time and 5% into a birthday/Christmas/treat fund.  I can feel the hairs on the back of my head standing up - that's 20% of my current limited income I can't spend - but guess what I do spend that money but I spend it in a way that contributes to financial insecurity, rather than security - and yes, I agree money is not everything.  Now I am going to divide the rest up into household bills and expenses, recreation expenses for the girls and my curves membership which I have decided is a need for maintaining good health. If there is anything left over I will donate 10% to a charity of my choice and what remains is for treats/social activities.

Step 13

Even if money is not an issue for you, consider your relationship with money.  What is working well and what you might want to change.  Consider supporting a local charity if you have excess and don't currently gift in  an intentional, rather than emotional, way. If you are looking for a good cause visit local not for profits and see what they do.

If you do have financial problems consider whether my plan above will help or find a local credit counselling agency to assist you make a credit proposal or come up with a healthy budget vs spending plan.

Many local agencies and not for profits offer free workshops about money and even if you are broke going to see someone at your bank or credit union is free.  They may be able to help you reduce interest payments or consolidate a loan.  Make an appointment with someone you trust and create a financial wellness review.

January is a good time to review spending habits - and put plans into action.  Here's to a wealthier you!

Successes today.....

Writing about my least favourite subject and coming up with a plan

Celebrating a "snow day" at home, thanks to my wonderful boss and enjoying being with the girls

Making delicious gluten free brownies - see recipe at  http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/01/dark-chocolate-brownies.html


Putting off cleaning up the office - yep it's still a mess:-)

Going out in the snow (I like to look at it).  Thanks to my wonderful neighbour  who had spare milk I did't have to.......

Quote for the day:

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and sixpence, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and sixpence result misery."  Charles Dickens.

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