Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Putting Theory Into Practice

I have a lot of knowledge. I'm also wonderful at giving advice. My own personal issue is putting my 'theory' into practice. I have been working on this, and am slowly making progress. My finances show that I am. We are no where near the hell-hole of debt we were in during the early months of 2009.

But I've swapped some bad practices for others. Bad me. Recognising that I have done so is good. Now about fixing those mistakes as well.

"I can't spend what I don't have." - My take on pay yourself first. The RRSP and RESP accounts are untouchable in my view, so therefore, the more money I put in them, the less I have to spend on stuff. I must put away money for retirement or I will be working until I die. I don't want to have to do that. The kids will have to have a post-secondary education, and I want to offset their costs as much as I can.

" I will spend less today to finish paying off the past." - The debt from years ago still lingers, and it is really starting to tick me off! I cannot spend or save what I want with today's income because I am still paying for the mistakes of my past. I want this debt gone, pronto!

"Budgeting is merely a spending plan that allows me to decide where my money goes." - Budgets aren't bad. I control the budget, and use it to prioritise what I need and want to have in our lives. I cannot get better with the budget if I don't follow it.

"The perfect is the enemy of the good." I always have trouble with this, in everything thing that I do. I strive for perfection, and if I cannot attain perfection, I lose focus. Especially with my savings/planned spending goals. I am trying to give myself some slack on this. I have to remind myself daily that we are not perfect, therefore I do not need to expect perfection from myself.

"Doing something is better than nothing."  I also remind myself that while I am not perfect with our finances, I cannot allow myself to become stagnant either. In the past, I have been so paralysed with fear, that I did nothing, making the situation worse. Anything I do to make our situation better, is still better than nothing.

"Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without." I'm learning that I don't need as much as I once thought I did. I'm also learning to use up things before I buy more or new, and how to make do with things I already have. My urges to spend frivolously are decreasing in frequency, which is a very good thing.

In summary, I've learned a lot over the past two years about personal finance, mostly about how to personalize the tools out there to fit our unique situation and circumstances. I haven't reached all my goals yet, because I'm still learning while I'm putting all the theory into practice.


  1. I love your comment about budgeting.

    So many people I know see a budget and think - restrictive! But, each month I sit down, look at the calendar and then figure out what amount is slotted where. If I have a dinner out with my friends I'll allot more to the entertainment category. If I have an upcoming birthday I'll put more money into the gift fund.

    I love being on a budget. It makes me much more accountable to reaching my goals.

  2. It's so easy to say what needs to be done and so hard to do it :) Having quit one of my part time jobs made the budget, such as it is, tighter and I'm struggling a bit with the money. I know what I need to do, find another part time job to replace the income, but doing it is much harder. Like you I have untouchable accounts and no matter what I won't dip into.

  3. See if everyone in a financial mess could understand that budgeting is planned spending controlled by you then we wouldn't have countless experts telling us budgeting doesn't work.

    It sure does!

    Great post!

  4. I'm with you on the lowered spending and reusing, doing without etc. Last Sept. I vowed to not buy any new clothing for a year. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to train yourself NOT TO SHOP but it is indeed possible. IT WAS A HABIT AND BY NOT DOING IT I'VE BROKEN THE HABIT!! So happy about that!

  5. Good theories! I agree!
    I struggle with "perfection" too... like if I planned to deposit $200 into my EFund, but I only came up with $150 that month, I berate myself and feel like I failed, like what was the point, like I should just go spend that $150 instead since it was a big fat epic savings failure. It's self defeating and rather silly to think like that but that's the struggle, isn't it? Every dollar saved is worth the effort.