I have often compared my budgeting to a diet. I am by nature a small person, with an over sized spending problem. Many people that I am close to diet on a regular basis. I have watched them for years struggle with their weight, which has lead to serious health issues in return. It seems people can diet for a bit, lose some weight and then they fall off the wagon and gain it all back. They complain about wanting to be thinner, fitter or just plain healthier. Even though you can feel how bad they really want it just by speaking to them, they still are unable to resist the food temptations for long. One friend in-particular, decided she was going to lose weight and get in shape. She has stayed that way for years. She is obsessed with her eating and exercise regimen. Nothing gets in her way. She exercises before she does anything, even if that means getting up at 5:30 am. She passes on unhealthy foods. She is dedicated. That is one person out of roughly 9 people. It is difficult to be that dedicated to something. But that’s what it takes if you are going to change your life.
Budgeting is no different than dieting, speaking from my own experience of course. I have tried many different ways of budgeting. I have done well for a while. I will get things paid off and then of course fall to the temptation of spending. “Items” serve as my “food”. While others are tempted by luscious desserts and fattening pastas, I am tempted by gorgeous gladiator sandals and decorative headbands. It really is one in the same. You may disagree that an overweight, out of shape persons’ health is at stake and a budgeters’ is not. The fact is if you are in over your head in debt, your body is under stress as well. No we aren’t clogging our arteries with fats but we are raising our blood pressures all the same. I have mentioned before that my hubby and I would argue every time we did the bills. Our arguments did not always end in a day. Arguing like that is not only stressful for the adults but for the children too. Money and debt problems often lead to divorce. Divorce in turn leads to a dangerous amount of stress. Any way you spin it, it’s unhealthy.
So what are us budgeters and dieters to do? Take control! We have to find a diet and a budget that is best suited for us individually. My hubby had an interesting conversation with his boss once that really stuck with me. The boss asked hubby if he had any debt. Hubby answered yes and boss proceeded to explain how each debt was a stress point in our lives. He was right. We have to eliminate the stress points in order to have a healthier life. I have had to find some way to curb my appetite for spending. I’ll be honest, it stinks! I went shopping yesterday and left the store pouting once again. In four months, leaving a store empty handed has gotten no easier. However I come home and look at my debt chart and am proud once again. My debt chart is much like a scale, showing improvements and set backs. I work part time at a gym and am told often by friends how much weight they have lost. It kills me when they say “I’ve only lost 10lbs.” Lemme tell you, 10lbs is better than 0lbs!!! Eliminating one debt is better then eliminating no debt! The key is to keep trucking along. Like weight, debt doesn’t come off overnight. Yesterday a good friend said she had been dieting since January and had lost weight but wanted to be “skinny” right now! I totally understood. I have been budgeting since January and by golly I want to be debt free right now. But alas, patience is a virtue.
I have one last point to make. While I am not an overweight person, I am an unhealthy eater. Maybe you are overweight but don’t have much debt. The fact of the matter is, I need to eat better and you need to budget better. I think there is room for all of us to improve. Think of it this way. Do you love yourself? I love who I am. I deserve to have a healthy, happy life. But that doesn’t just come to me because I deserve it. I have to make it happen. I have to remember who controls me, ME! I control what I eat and how I spend my money. I am going to try harder to make better choices to make my life better! I want to be that dedicated friend I spoke of earlier. I want to take matters into my own hands, and I will!