Close The Gap

How To Budget When Your Expenses Are More Than Your Income

What is the point of budgeting if your expenses are more than your income?

If you are not making it each month, then why bother putting it down on paper and actually KNOWING the numbers? It will just make you depressed and won’t change anything. After all, if the math doesn’t work then the math doesn’t change just because you wrote it down. Facts are facts. If there is no money then there is no money. Right, right?!?

WRONG!

Money management is not about the math. It’s not about the numbers. Its about the feeling that you have towards your money. And budgeting gives you CONTROL. Being in control is empowering. Being in control gives you options. Being in control makes you the master of your money and your life and not making money the master of you.

That being said, what do you do when your expenses are more than your income?

What if the outlay is actually more than your inlay?

How does writing it down help with that? How will anything change?

Continue reading “Close The Gap”

Case Study: Helping a Friend

Putting the Savings Ladder into Practice

A Dime Saved Advice In Real Life

I recently had a friend reach out to me to ask for help figuring out her financial situation. I am not one to let an opportunity slide so I took the liberty (with her permission, of course) to write up her situation and the advice I gave her.

Many times you can read about savings ideas and practices but it’s hard to imagine how to implement it in real life- with real numbers and specific circumstances. Here is one example of using the Savings Ladder for a real person’s situation.

Mary graduated a year ago and has been living at home to save costs while working her first job. This has been great but now her circumstances have changed and she need to plan for the next few years.

She has been accepted to a graduate program that starts in two months and she has to move as well. It’s a lot! She is hoping to find a new job in her new city but is worried she won’t find one right away. What should she do?

Well, luckily, Mary has been very frugal since she started working and hasn’t spent much of her paycheck. The bad news is that it is all sitting in a checking account, doing nothing for her.

Here are the numbers:

Amount in her checking account: $24,856.00

Amount in a low-interest savings account: $4,366.00

Cost of Graduate School Tuition over the next 2 years: $16,099.00 (not including books)

 

Continue reading “Case Study: Helping a Friend”

You Should Talk About Money

Taking the “taboo” out of Money

How to remove the stigma of poverty

Growing up, talking about money was taboo. No one discussed how much they made, how much big things cost, or whether or not you could afford something. Not being able to afford something was a given, but was embarrassing to admit. This was something that was passed on to my friends and I. I remember whispering amongst ourselves when an expensive extracurricular trip was offered in school. One girl turned red as she whispered, “My parent’s probably can’t pay for that”. We all stared at her awkwardly. We had nothing to say. We had no clue what to respond to that terrible admission. Never mind that my parents couldn’t afford something like that either. Never mind that, in retrospect, it would have been a struggle for many of my friend’s parents to pay for that type of trip either.

It was considered “socially-off” to actually ADMIT something like that. The words “I can’t afford it” were one of the most embarrassing things to say. Why? My guess is that my parents and their friends very much considered “struggling” to be shameful. A personal failure. Something that reflected badly on them as individuals. Not having enough money or even choosing to be frugal as looked down upon.

money

Fast forward and I am an adult and I am newly unemployed. Money is tight and my husband and I are desperately trying to stay within our means and not go into debt.

My friend and I were brainstorming something to do on the endless Sundays with our kids. Her ideas all had some dollar price attached. Even her “cheap” ideas cost some money. I was about to agree to her plan when I realized how idiotic that would be. Was I agreeging to do something that I couldn’t afford just because I was too embarrassed to say that? Why was I so scared to say that money was tight and I didn’t want to spend money? Why should I spend money that I don’t have just because I was too embarrassed to admit that money was tight? Was I so scared of her reaction that I couldn’t share with a close friend that I didn’t have extra money to spend?

I took a deep breath.

“I would like to do something free” I said.

“No problem” she responded, “Should we check out this new playground I heard about?”

That was it. It was not as embarrassing as I thought it would be. I was so used to conflating my money or lack thereof with my own self-worth- as if it was my fault that I was unemployed (newsflash: it wasn’t). I was projecting my own securities onto my friends and imagining what their reactions would be. Luckily, most of my friends had grown up and had come to the same realization that I did. Lack of money or frugality does not need to be a topic that can’t be discussed. Once it was “out in the open” the conversations started. I realized that there were so many people who were in the same situation that I was in. So many of us were struggling. So many of us were doing our best to lead budgeted lives. So many of us were nervous about money. So many of us were anxious about our financial security. Once we realized that we were in the same boat, we were able to support each other. Share tips, recipes, and encouragement.

When we are raised that money shouldn’t be discussed, that not having money is some sort of personal failure, a moral failing or stain on our character , then we are depriving ourselves of an environment where we can share and be supported in our struggles or our goals.

How should I approach the topic of money

with my friends?

There is no need to bring up the topic unless you want to or need to. Don’t force people to share things with you that they would rather not share. Not everyone wants to be open or forthcoming about their finances, and that is their right. But you can talk about money in a way to remove the stigma of poverty.

Some Tips:

  1. Do make sure to create an open and non-judgmental atmosphere when it comes to money.
  2. Don’t mock or pressure others into spending money that they don’t want to.
  3. Take the words “cheap” and “mean” out of your vocabulary.
  4. Respect others spending limits.
  5. Don’t commit someone to an amount of money before speaking to them.