In my early twenties, I had an epiphany and decided that I no longer wanted to spend frivolously and that I was going to start saving aggressively. I got so fired up after I read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover that I even wrote a letter to my parents detailing my new found knowledge and my plan to correct my financial situation.
After creating a big binder for me to house all of my financial documents and budget sheets, I was ready to go. I created my first budget and gave myself a pat on the back for following through with the plan. Over the course of the first week or two, my excitement and motivation died down and shortly after, so did my efforts to budget.
What happened? I put my whole self into making sure that I would be able to stick to my goals -- but I was still unsuccessful. When I look back and think about what went wrong, one thing keeps coming to mind: I wasn't realistic.
I created a super strict budget that didn't allow any room for error or entertainment. It was boring and dry so I said to heck with budgeting. I lied to myself.
What are some lies that you've told yourself about money? I can think of a few common lies that we often tell ourselves.
1. Money is the root of all evil
Why do we have a problem with those who work hard and earn money? The Bible says that it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. There's no issue with money itself. Once you start lusting over money and material items, that's when it becomes a problem. Let's face it, we need money to survive. Just make sure you are making wise decisions with the money you have and expressing gratitude on a regular basis.
2. I deserve a treat
There's nothing wrong with "treating yo' self" every now and then, but if you're doing it every day then it's no longer considered a treat. You keep telling yourself this lie to justify your overspending. You've got to stop making excuses if you want to be successful in managing your finances. Those "treats" add up and you'll be crying broke when you realize you've had one treat too many!
3. I'm going to save more...starting with my next paycheck
You keep trying to convince yourself that you'll start saving at a later date and that you have plenty of time to save for the future. Before you know it, you'll wake up at retirement age without a penny saved up, all because you kept telling yourself that you could wait to save later. Once you make it up in your mind that you want better and that you want to start saving, START RIGHT AWAY. It makes no sense to put off something that you truly desire.
4. I’m going to budget for real this time
You've said this time and time again, only to fail miserably within a few days or weeks. Most times, people try to put themselves on restrictive budgets with no wiggle room for anything. Try this instead: create a plan that allows you to continue doing the things that you enjoy doing while you cut out some of the things that you can. This will help you stay on track with a money plan that you'll fall in love with.
Today I want you to promise me (and yourself) that you'll do one thing: You have to stop lying to yourself about money. Until you get real with yourself, you are not going to see any lasting change with your finances. Let's be honest, you've probably thought or said one of these things in the past. Change it up and think a little differently going forward.