Last night I posted about how personal finance is no picnic.
But I don’t want to be a complete downer about it. Here are some ways that I’ve found what I’ve learned in these three months encouraging and rewarding:
1. Alternative income fulfills my creative side.
I always knew I had creative capacities, but I felt like a certain amount of “real life” had to be spent making money to support the creative person. Now I realize how much my creative side can also be financially rewarding. I know that work is never entirely pleasant and involves hard work. But I also know that I can work hard doing some of the things I love and still (I hope) make it.
2. Money is less frightening.
Seems like a contradiction–in the last post I said that when I think about all the money we owe or need, it scares me. Some of the time that’s true. But I’m also less scared about money because I know what we owe and how we plan to pay it back. I feel more competent about controlling spending since I have a spending plan (budget). I don’t worry that this one purchase will push me over the edge (unless it actually will), because I know just where the edge is.
3. Seeing the numbers is rewarding!
We could have spent just the same last month without a budget. We would have simply been responsible about our purchases but not tracked it. However, at the end of the month I got a huge morale booster by finding out that we’d saved about 1/3 of our income. I mean, that’s stupendous!!! All I would have known without tracking it is that we didn’t overspend. I didn’t overspend for years and it made me feel ok, but not safe and definitely not exhilarated.
4. The community is supportive and educational.
I could probably do a lot of this on my own. I originally started the blog because I hoped that it would provide me some kind of accountability (and because I love to write). But I could have kept it private and not read other blogs.
However, I find the rest of you so encouraging–whether I’m reading about your progress and realize that I can do it too or if you’re leaving supportive comments on my entries. Just like AA, Weight Watchers and Curves, personal finance should be done in a community of like-minded people with similar (though not identical) goals.
Plus I learn a lot by reading your blogs, maybe about debt snowballs or Roth IRAs or yummy frugal recipes.
Thanks to all who read my blog and/or who write the blogs I read, it’s great being with you on this journey.
For those of you who haven’t started blogging yet, it’s a wonderful opportunity. It helps you get your own stuff straight, opens you to more ideas, and places you in a pretty supportive community. Despite the difficulties, the fears, and the dread, I think being proactive about one’s financial situation is much more fun and rewarding than the laissez-faire approach.