I’m not sure if there is a better day of the week than pay day. It offers you a fresh start, and a new promise of fiscal responsibility. And yet, no matter how often I re-jig how I’m going to save more in the next two weeks, I seem to find myself making new promises next pay day.
I’ll share my first secret… I’m terrible with money.
It’s not that I spend what I don’t have… well I do, but not too often. And it’s not that I don’t pay my bills… I’m only late when I’ve completely forgotten about them, which in my defence is not that often. It’s just that I have no idea what to do with money.
I was raised by a strong and beautiful woman I call Mom; and if I had to pick a few things she drilled into me over the years, they would be the following:
- You can do anything you want to do
- Get through all of the formal education you want before you have children, but never stop learning
- NEVER be dependent on anyone, even your spouse… since you can’t control their actions, you just never know
- NEVER sign your pay cheque over to anyone
I am deeply grateful for all of these lessons, and I try and live them daily. There’s just one problem, Mom never told me what to do with that pay cheque I’m not handing over. The only lesson I got there was – “don’t do what we’ve done.” Thanks Mom that’s really helpful…
Like many twenty-somethings who have had the wonderful experience of post secondary education I have debt. A lot of debt. The number isn’t important, but let’s just say I told the boy recently and I thought he was going to drive us off the road!
Where I work we offer financial planning workshops for women on occasion, unfortunately another isn’t scheduled until February, and that’s a lot of pay cheques from now. The good news is after sharing my money worries with my colleague and friend, I was sent Credit Canada’s website. Step #1… figure out what you are spending money on, and track your spending for an entire month.
This may sound easy, and perhaps for some it is, maybe even for the majority, for me it’s a daunting task that I am not in the least looking forward to. I already know what it’s going to tell me… you don’t make enough to meet your financial goals, and you are a victim of “the incidentals.”
I have a love/hate relationship with my debt. I appreciate what it got me, and I have faith that it will pay off eventually. But deep down I hate it and I want it gone, in full, tomorrow! To this end I have taken the “save your money” tips to heart and I have a certain amount of money that is directly withdrawn from my account the day after pay day. Then I take 1/2 of my rent and put it in a rent account, GONE. Last, I pay any bills that need to be paid. The problem is, this ends up being a substantial part of my pay cheque, and as Cliff told Theo – “You haven’t EATEN yet!”
The two weeks creep by and I end up with “incidentals” – things I forgot I need to spend money on, like bus tickets, food, small things for my apartment, and BINGO at the end of those two weeks I’m really looking forward to Pay Day!
But today marks a new dawn on my road to being debt free, while still planning for far away things like “the future” and “retirement.” And to that end I am going to take Credit Canada at it’s word and track what I spend in the next two weeks. And I’ll spend the next two weeks preparing myself for the inevitable shock… I don’t think that debt is going to disappear tomorrow!