You’ll have to excuse me, but I’ve been getting increasingly fired up, hearing how women are much more likely to suffer financial hardship than the menfolk. It started with the research into this post about cutting costs to build a beautiful life.
The reason it makes me so mad is that it’s usually because women are the ones taking on the caring roles in our society.
We all have a right to a beautiful life.
I’m not talking some trotted out, fake life that is manufactured by someone else and bought by your dying soul in order to impress people who give you the shits. Those people who sell you the bed of roses and forget to tell you about the thorns give me the irrits. Only you know what your beautiful life looks like to you.
All I will say is that a beautiful life ain’t always pretty, because life is really, really, really crap sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t be beautiful. It takes courage to see the joy and the sadness for what it is – a big beautiful mess and a part of the adventure.
Money, money, money, must be funny
The problem is that a part of this mess is also money. And for a long time, I was treating it like some dirty icky part of me, being needy and greedy. Yet, money is cited as the number one cause of stress. The time had come for me to stare that mofo down.
There seems to be some cultural weird stuff that we women need to push through so we feel more comfortable asking for money and if you have a desire to be creative on top of that – phew – you might need queue up with me for laser surgery to remove the starving female artist type tattooed on your soul.
I used to be embarrassed about asking for a pay rise or asking for people to pay when money was due and I still do sometimes. For those times, I have a little mantra…
Yup, I can’t remember long mantras, but it works and if I don’t ask I’ll never know.
I’d love to hear what helps you overcome feeling uncomfortable with money, because I want to think about ways we can all build this beautiful life in a way that makes us feel better not worse.
Where does the money go?
I don’t know why this money calculation area has been a vacant lot in my head. I come from a frugal family. My grandfather once greeted us into his home wearing a pair of underpants he’d salvaged from the tip. Yes, they had once belonged to a lady and yes, the elastic was non-existent. All I will say is that gravity is not always kind. No, I’m not even going to try and rectify that image with a picture of a cute puppy.
The thing is my grandfather travelled more than anyone I know and still managed to leave funds to set up a school for indigenous kids. That’s all very inspiring, but, no, I don’t want to wear elastic-lost, salvaged underpants to pursue my goals.
So, I started to look around and low-and-behold I noticed something – the people who had it together in the money stakes manage expenses and know exactly where everything goes. They run their finances like a good business. They may be discrete about it or pretend they’re not really paying attention, but they know exactly where all the money is going and coming from.
Take a closer look and get ready to fly
After this realisation, I went home and put the year’s expenses in a spreadsheet – Excel and me are BFFs now. Not really, but we kind of agree to disagree. I divided the year’s expenses by 12 for my monthly expenses and by 52 for my weekly expenses. I discovered some very large holes, but I can’t tell you how useful it’s been to me to know where the money is going.
Apparently, I was being a super keen bean, because these guys say if you do at least a week it’ll give you a good idea. Or you can save the time and do it on the run and start tracking your spending, just like those personal trainers tell you to track your diet. Every cent that goes out is recorded in an app (like this tracking your spending app) or you can go old school and use a notebook.
Now, I need to set about darning the gaping holes in my finances. I’m not even sure how that happened. I didn’t seem to be spending much, but we’ve chosen to live in Sydney – one of the most expensive cities in the world, had some fairly hefty medical bills in the last few years for my son and due to his health issues I wasn’t able to work for longer than I’d expected, which did give me the time to start a blog…
So, I need a two fold approach to remedy the situation, one is to skim the fat out of the expenses and the other is to increase my income in a way that feels right.
The weird thing is, I’m actually starting to enjoy this watching where the money goes adventure. Who knew it was possible?
The next step will be to use the expenses I’ve collated to outline a budget that can actually work. Stick around, the wonders never cease around here…
I need some advice, how do you cut grocery costs and/or do you have any special tricks for budgeting?
If you’re keen to do this build a beautiful life adventure, you might like…