Saturday, 3 December 2011

Live a life or Fix your finances

Can you fix your finances and still live your life at the same time?

I recently came across a fairly popular blog called Give Me Back My Five Bucks. There was an interesting post on there today when I dropped by. The post, titled, "Why I can't afford to start dating", provides the author's reasons on why she cannot start dating. The is currently trying to sort out her finances and kill about $20,000 in debt.

Why I understand her position and why she would feel this way, I have to disagree.

Fixing your finances or moving to the right financial path is not something that you have to do exclusively. Most importantly, you need to be able to live your life. If you cannot continue your life, the things that make life what it is, then your financial success either will feel empty or it will be very short-lived.

It is like a person who has to lose weight. You cannot simply stop eating and expect that it will work out well. You have to lose weight while still being comfortable with your modified diet and lifestyle. If you are doing this only short-term, you will eventually slip back into the same routine and go back to where you were.

Similarly, you have to be able to live your life while righting your financial ship. And by this I do not mean that you continue to spend like a lottery winner. You have to be disciplined for sure. But that simply means that you have to be realistic in your spending. It doesn't mean that you should stop dating or stop celebrating your kids' birthdays.

Yeah stop having romantic dinners in the fanciest, priciest restaurant with a $1200 bottle of vine. Stop trying to impress the other person with your money. There are a million ways to have a lovely time with someone else without nuking your budget. Take a walk down the beach or in a park. Make a couple of sandwiches and share them with your date on a park bench.

If you are trying to control your spending and fix your finances, you will have to make sacrifices. You will have to separate your wants from your needs. And you will need to prioritise. But try to be smart about it. Don't put your life on hold because money is not the end. The end is to be happy and comfortable. Money is just a small part that allows you to live your life comfortably.

If fixing you finances are preventing you from living your life - a reasonable and normal life - then you are doing something wrong and you need to course correct and get some help and advice.

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