I've reached a turning point in my life. I no longer wish to be reminded of my birthday! But since I've done so at twenty-five, twenty-four and twenty-three, I've decided deal with the reminder that I am, indeed, getting older, and share a little evaluation as I turn 26.
I had an important financial revelation this year – in the infamous words of Roseanne Roseannadanna : "It's always something." If you're not tearing apart your bathroom, you're buying bridesmaid dresses. If you're not hunting for better insurance, you're quitting the gym to save money.
With that in mind, I decided to use a financial mantra in my 26th year: Be flexible, but firm. Kind of a contradiction, yes, so let me elaborate.
Over the past year, when I've had to dip into savings to cover unexpected expenses or modify my spending habits to replenish that savings, I've tended to freak out. You see, I'm a planner. I like to routines and making to-do lists. This year was supposed to be the year to grow my savings significantly while chipping away at my debt.
Deviating from my plan has been tough. I think having some flexibility with my financial plan is going to be the key to not getting frustrated with money.
Now about being firm...when you take a slight financial detour, you're generally not far from the original path. And with the right mentality, you can hop back on track quickly. However, it's tempting once you've gone a bit astray to justify going just slightly farther from the road.
Here's my latest example: This winter a frozen sump pump pipe at my house meant tearing out and trashing my basement bathroom's vanity and demolishing most of the wall. As I thought about what I'd need to do to repair the damage, the wheels started turning. By the time the plumbers left, I had strayed so much from the path that a full bathroom renovation was planned in my head.
Whoa, Nellie! Just because it would be a couple hundred dollars to repair didn't mean I had to gut everything.
I have to stay firm and resist the temptations when I've already deviated from the plan. Otherwise I'll just freak out even more in the long run!
Be flexible, but firm. I think I can handle that.
Do any of you have your own financial mantra? I'm also curious: What helps you stick to your financial plan even when you have to modify it a bit?