First, some mushy personal musings
Two days ago I returned to Alberta after vising home in Nova Scotia. Seeing friends and family makes me miss living there so much but it also reminds me that I need to do a better job at expanding my social circle where I live (stop living like this is " just for now", and make "just for now" worth living!) My close girlfriends recently all moved back to our hometown of Dartmouth (affectionately known as the "Darkside") from the surrounding communities they had been living. I'm the only one not living in Dartmouth, all the way across the country in Alberta. Seeing them all living so close to one another makes me jealous for a moment, and resentful of the debt that made us move away. However, I just need to look at the amazing benefits that have come out of this move and then I know it was worth it.
1) I was able to build a close relationship with my brother, his wife and children who live here and our kids have built amazing friendships with one another that will last a lifetime.
2) I have been able to work on my MPA. Further education was always something I wanted to pursue but couldn't figure out how to afford it before moving.
3) Being away from most of our supports, like our parents and close friends, has made my husband and I lean on each other more and I really believe we have become closer because of it.
4) After almost 4 years living here, I'm finally getting outside my comfort zone and meeting other women to spend time with.
5) The butterfly effect of all of this which led to our beautiful second daughter coming into our lives.
Moving onto the money stuff...
Being true to my debt-free by 33 mission is not always easy. In fact, in order to be successful and weather any unexpected setbacks it has to be top of mind at all times. Shopping has never really been the culprit of my debt, which you could tell by taking a peek in my minimalist closet, but because of the stagnant debt in my life, all spending, even necessary spending, was laced with guilt.
Now as I work within a strict budget I get to enjoy the guilt free spending provided by my meager monthly personal budget amount. Now I am so particular about how I spend my money because I’m rationing it out for things I truly want and will use and appreciate. Known as a somewhat mindless person when it comes to my belongings, I now take better care of the things I already own because I want them to last longer and not use up future personal budgets.
Temptation does arise and when that happens I remind myself of my mission and that I deserve to be debt-free. I think about what life will be like when I am debt free and all this money I'm throwing enthusiastically and aggressively onto my debt is money I will just HAVE! I think about what my travel budget will look like then, what my personal spending budget will look like then, and how I can invest like crazy to build passive income and find true financial freedom. I think about what it will be like to be free of the toxic weight of debt and it energizes me!
Last week I went on a wedding dress shopping outing for my good friend, afterward, the girls wanted to pop into Marshall’s for a bit of shopping. There’s a store that everyone can find something they absolutely HAVE to have. I have been really open with my girlfriends about my debt-free journey and becoming a financial coach so now I think I’m seen as the shop Nazi, and I’m okay with that.
I do need clothes for when I go back to work after maternity leave, but being on a trip back home and getting together with friends and family was wearing out my personal spending budget and shopping was just not something I felt I could squeeze in this month. Well I picked out one dress that was an option for work but when I tried it on, my friend said the pockets looked weird so that was perfect, I threw it to the side, she saved me from buying that one.
Then the girls helped me find a pair of perfect sunglasses, only $15. I really do need sunglasses so I held onto them for the entire shopping trip before deciding that since I was already borrowing my mom’s glasses while I was visiting, I could continue to do so and hold off on the sunglasses purchase (I’m hoping to find the same pair next month)
I picked up a beautiful tote bag, just what I have been looking for to take to work. It was a gorgeous grey; it would fit my laptop and had a pretty floral insert bag in it. It was $50, but I was trying to justify how I could fit it in the budget, even if I had to wait until next month to get it. One of my friends (a great connoisseur of fine clothing and accessories) told me she had never heard of the brand and that she saw something similar in the bargain bin at Indigo for $11. Saved again! I do still need some professional items for when I return to work from maternity leave, but the month I go home to visit is not the month for those purchases.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see I did in fact do some shopping later in the month when I found some shocking deals on work clothes, but I cheated slightly. We were actually at the store for my mom to pick up some tops and in the meantime I found great work attire. All the purchases went on her card so she could return anything I didn’t want after I left the province. I will repay her for the items I took, on June 1, costing her $0 in interest, and letting me shift it into my June spending budget. (She even paid for one as a treat bringing my $45 purchase to $30, thanks Ma!) I really wouldn’t recommend doing this kind of thing often because it’s too easy to spend everything you have for the next month, however, in this case, I knew I was going to be doing this shopping in June anyway so you can decide if it was playing by the rules or if I'm just justifying bad behaviour.
Back to the point
I left Marshall's without purchasing a single item even though there were excellently priced landmines all over. This shows me that if you’re open and honest about what you want in life, those around you will hear you and help you achieve it. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could all be open and honest about our financial situation, the struggles and achievements? Instead of commenting on the weather, we could ask how the financial goal is going. Along with asking what you’re reading these days, you could ask what you’re saving for right now. I think we would all own our financial decisions more and we would learn a ton from one another.
Want another anecdote about my time with my girlfriends?
We were planning a girl’s night out and sleepover (No problem, that's what the personal spending budget is for!!!) and I had approximate costs planned from the lunch, coffee, and snacks to the dinner and wine. I had perused the menu ahead of time and decided what I would order. Then I thought about appetizer pressure. I generally don’t get appetizers but when in the moment and it comes up, and starving for the meal, I will pretty much always say yes. Well, I group texted my friends the day before and asked if we could avoid appetizers for the night out. No one understood what I was talking about and they were confused why I was messaging them about our meal the day before rather than just discussing it when we got there. I really didn’t mean THEY couldn’t get appetizers; I just wanted to avoid feeling like I should get one, or being included on a table appetizer. Well the joke became that I ended up being the only one who ordered appetizers since that’s what I ordered for my meal. I don’t believe I will ever live it down, and I’m okay with that too.
If you want to make a change in your life you have to be willing to draw a line in the sand. People will expect you to be the way you have always been, because our relationships are based on experiences of the past. To make a big change you need to push past what's expected of you and do what will let you achieve what you want in life. If what you've been doing up to this point isn't working for you, make the change.
I’m thankful to my friends for being so supportive and teasing me with love. I can take it because I believe in what I'm doing and I know in the end it's going to get me what I want. If you're ready to make big changes, choose your choice, believe in your plan, and get ready to own it every. single. time.