Thursday, September 22, 2011

We're All Unique, And Yet The Same

We all have different background, different traits, different upbringings and different ways of life. No one could expect you to try to live on my budget (nor would you want to), and I definitely could not live with someone elses budget. We have different income levels and sources, with differing priorities for how we spend and save that money.

So why do people think that there should be only one way to build and fix their finances?

I remember going to a picnic one year in Toronto, where Hubby and I had the opportunity to meet Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Money Maven extraordinaire. We were blessed, along with many others, to sit and share a meal with her, and were able to pick her brain about all things financial. We talked to her about our journey to Debt Free Forever, as I had so many questions because of the unique situation we are in with regard to the way I receive my income. I will never forget what she said to me.

"Everyone thinks they're situation is different, and unique. Really, it's just another excuse as to why they can't do something, can't save, can't pay off their debt." She went on to say that if a couple just apply the principles she preaches ( don't spend more than you make, save something, mitigate your risks, pay off your debt in 3 years or less), there isn't any situation that can't be made better. Anyone can do it, regardless of how 'unique' their situation seems.

I have to admit, I am a little slow sometimes.

When fellow blogger Taylor over at Debt Can Kiss Off asked her readers if anyone had any experience with lump sum payments, I had to chime in my 2 cents worth. If anyone knows how to mess up with large lump-sum income amounts, it is definitely me. For those of you who get paid regularly weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, imagine the strain it puts on a budget when you get paid the majority of your income annually.

My situation although unique for its own reasons, really isn't all that different. I still make X amount of dollars per year, gross. I still have to budget for things in the somewhat distant future (like 8 months from now). I still have to keep a tally of my spending so it doesn't go out of control. That is no different than anyone else who is trying to keep their financial boat afloat when they get a weekly pay cheque.

I've come to realise (finally!) that the boat Hubby and I are faithfully rowing to the distant shore of Debt Free is no better than the boat you and your family are rowing. Sure, your boat may have pretty blue stripes and has a catchy name for it, while ours is just called boat, but we both have to deal with the same leaks and waves. We deal with the same issues, struggles and once in awhile, the same accomplishments.

The only difference now is that we can wave to one another across the water, and support one another (through our respective blogs) to keep rowing. Especially when it feels like all we are doing is going around in circles. :)


  1. I love this post. It's so true! (Thanks for the link love!) Saving/getting out of debt is kind of similar to losing weight: Everyone's got their 'magic formula', but when it comes right down to it spend less than you make translates directly to burn more calories than you eat. Basic math.

    It's nice to have the support along the way (and I totally appreciated your advice about the lump sum payments.. seems like a fairly obvious answer now that you've said it, but having the validation/confirmation of my blog-friends is always nice)

    To carry on your boat analogy: we are like beacons in the night to each other; we keep each other going in approximately the correct direction!

  2. I like the boat analogy and think of my fellow bloggers as the lighthouses posted along the journey. We can either row towards the light or away from it...our choice:)