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Personal finance is no picnic (the hardest parts for me)

Sometimes pf bloggers give the impression that we all think it’s easy and everyone can do it (at least a number of commenters have said so on various blogs I read). Well, I do think everyone can practice responsible personal finance, but for some people that will mean they can amass millions and for some people that will mean that they can eventually pay down their debt. For some people (in extreme cases) it might mean that they can just avoid incurring more or just incur less debt debt.

I hope I haven’t given the impression that I think this is easy. For me, the hardest thing is probably the psychological aspect. With my already mixed-up mental state, sometimes money becomes incredibly huge and scary. The debt we’re in feels hopeless, I feel just like crawling back in bed and giving up.

And while I love budgets and seeing our progress, they also scare me. I worry that I’ll go over. It’s not just the budget, either, when I haven’t had one I’ve still worried about going through all the money I have. It hasn’t happened, but I feel like it will. So I frequently tell myself, “You’re doing fine, just keep going.” and “This is an irrational fear, it’s ok to have it but don’t listen to it.”

I had the good fortune to be raised by a pretty frugal woman, so I think my expectations are lower and I got good training in financial responsibility. I didn’t have a brand-new dress until I was 12 (except, perhaps, for some gifts when I was a newborn). Even then, it was a special present. I think that set me up well for having lower expectations and being used to saying “no” to what I want.

But that didn’t stop me from being in debt, I fell in love and the man’s worth the money. And his debt isn’t from recklessness, maybe imperfect planning. That helps me understand how a person can do everything “right” (I’m not saying that I have) and still end up in a difficult financial situation.

While I’m used to not indulging my every desire it sometimes gets to me that I can’t spend more money on crafting or books. It’d be nice to have a better wardrobe too, and I’m working on that, but crafting and books are things I have to deny myself. Also eating out as much as might be fun.

Developing alternative income can also be difficult or frustrating. I love crafting and writing, but sometimes I feel like I need to get more out and it’s going so slowly. Normally the good times outweigh these, but if you couple this feeling with worrying that I’ll outspend my budget and wishing that I could have more from life, it can get pretty depressing some nights.

Tonight’s a little depressing because I’m tired, I have a lot of projects, I’m coming down from the thrill of getting hired (!!!) and I was having trouble with a memory card, which kept me from getting some stuff onto my Etsy site. I sort-of prevailed, but now I’m exhausted, up past my bedtime and heading off to bed now.

(Coming tomorrow: The easiest and most rewarding parts.)

Postscripts: First, I finally uploaded pics of an iPod case onto my Etsy site. 2 more should be going up tomorrow! Second don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!!

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The fun and easy (or at least rewarding) side of personal finance » Mrs. Micah: Finance and Life
November 9, 2007 at 10:29 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn November 8, 2007 at 11:37 pm

I struggle when I sometimes leave comments on many of the P.F. Blogs I read. The 46 year old “MOM” in me comes out and I want to help. So many of you all are so young, not much older than my own sons.

Money Blue Book November 9, 2007 at 1:27 am

Mrs. Micah…even though you have the “Mrs.” part in front of your name and you sound much older, in reality, I am only a few years above you.

But I have learned a thing or two – money management isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and life experience. I know more than I did in the past because I experienced failure before. I lost a lot in the stock market, but I recovered and learned from it. I’ve lost my job before and felt my manhood stripped away. I fell into credit card debt, but I dug myself out. Finally I’m starting to thrive financially again.

Be patient and you will grow. Money is a very mature and experience oriented subject. I didn’t know all about this until I became financially independent from my parents several years ago. They really don’t teach you financial reality in college – and I was finance major in college!

-Raymond

fluorophore November 9, 2007 at 7:01 am

huge congrats on your job progress! That is WONDERFUL, truly – the new job and having been brave enough to resign. Whew! Lot’s of work there.

And I think it’s cool that you “came out” here with your feelings about what you’re doing re:the money stuff. It does seem (media-wise) like if we all just had better self control we’d be thin, fit and rolling in cash. Oh and all our food will be organic, our children perfectly healthy and getting great grades and our homes will be pin-neat….

Frank November 9, 2007 at 9:54 am

Oh yeah, I hear ya! I go through these ups and downs with my financial progress all the time. One week I think I’m brilliant and the next I think I’ll never get out of debt. It’s strange because I’m not like that in other parts of my life. I think it’s just part of the process of learning to take control of something that has been out of control for so long. Writing and reading blogs daily really helps me to keep at it.

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