My emotional roller coaster: tracking my September expenses

Over the last few months, I have been diligently tracking my expenses. Over the summer I noticed a correlation between my emotional state and spending habits, and as you can read it here, it wasn’t good. So, I took some of this advice and applied it to September. However, this came with some harsh and embarrassing truths. My trips and spending habits over the past few months have been intense. I didn’t look at the bigger picture until I realized, after my August post, that I was heading down a familiar path. People may think that because I blog about personal finance, I have this shit figured out. Quite the contrary. I have always had to learn the hard way, and personal finances will always be on top of that list. I was ashamed and embarrassed, because I used my old excuses and behaviors as a way to justify my actions. How many of us have done this? I felt so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t figure this lesson out. So, I had to do something drastic. For the past month, Tolga has had my credit card and to be honest, I haven’t missed it. By doing this, it has forced me to evaluate a potential purchase. Cash is my only option, so if I don’t have enough, I can’t buy it.

As we go into October, with a new mindset and cash flow statement, I have made some new commitments. I will continue to have Tolga keep my credit card. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different response. Thankfully, it’s been a busy month so I haven’t had time to go shopping or feel like going shopping. I need to find hobbies and interest which help fill the void. I’ve recently signed up for real estate classes and working towards the goal of becoming a real estate agent. Between this, working on the blog, running, spending time with friends and family and work, I am hoping this will fill the empty void that shopping usually filled.

I also need to stop keeping my spending habits a secret from Tolga. I’m sure we’ve all hidden our shopping from our loved ones. Why? It’s because we feel guilty or ashamed or disappointed? That we don’t want a lecture? We think, “well, it’s MY money, so why can’t I buy x, y or z?” But we also know that look. That look of disappointment from our spouse/partner when they find out we hid this from them. Often, they wish we were honest so we could talk about it. Tolga and I have had many discussions about personal finances and how we view money. I need to be more honest and when I am misleading about my spending, it only has negative results.

I need to re-build financial trust, which has resulted in us meeting weekly to review my cash flow statement. Talk about romantic! However, by doing this, I have realized a few things. Since switching to an all cash budget, I have spent a LOT less. In September I spent only $100 on restaurants and entertainment, plus, I haven’t bought any new clothes since the beginning of August. Now, when I am showing Tolga my cash flow statement, I am not filled with fear or embarrassment. I track what I am spending and know where my money is going.

Similar to everything else in life, I am on a journey. Some days, the road is clear, the sun is out and the birds are chirping. Other days, it’s stormy and the path becomes filled with obstacles. It is during these hard times that I need to reach out and ask for help. We have to know we’re not alone, that we do have support, we just need to push our egos aside and not be embarrassed to ask for it.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt at https://unsplash.com

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