Why can’t I ever get ahead?

It seems that every time I get one step ahead of the regular financial burdens that we all have I am forced two steps back. When I hit a financial rock bottom a few years ago I learned my lesson on not living outside your means. I was raised in a home where we never really talked about money.  I don’t think I ever had a discussion at home or a class in school about how to budget and why it is important to save. So looking back I realized that what I didn’t learn when I was younger made it that much more important to understand how to be a financially secure adult. Easy to say but old habits die hard. Make money… spend money. Why save when there’s something I want right now? There is a lot of easy instant gratification in ‘shopping therapy’. It’s wonderful can be addictive but really is a sinking hole.  I figured I was making enough money to take care of my bills and always had a bit left over… but never thought to really commit to saving. If I wanted to get a new jacket (even though I have 10 others) I bought myself a new jacket instead of saving. When I could have been saving the extra money I would go out for dinner or buy lunch for the 4th time that week. If I was shopping for nothing in particular and found something that suddenly tickled my fancy, while not really taking in to consideration the cost, I would buy it instead of saving the money. Then, an unexpected emergency or surprise bill, a financial burden where there is no extra money to take care of it, happens. Oh yeah, this would be a great time to have some ’emergency savings’. These past few years have led me to learn how to create and follow a budget… but there always seemed to be something that I needed to pay for or wanted to do that ultimately cleaned out what little savings I had accumulated.

Then, finally, I got myself a new job that paid a bit more than before and I felt like I might just be able to get ahead. It has only been a few months but I was finally reaching a good financial balance. I had opened a new savings account and my very first investment account, a TFSA, through my bank. I was pretty proud that I had reached this point in my life on my own. Felt like a ‘grown-up’.

For a lot of people this might be shocking. A 32-year old having never stepped in to any part of the world of investing…ever. However, I also know that I’m not the only one. It is a well known fact that the excessive consumer debt created by the general population is what brought on the recession. A LOT of people lived outside their means and if fucked up the world’s finances. I didn’t want my finances to be a mess ever again.

So by committing to saving and with a bit extra cash slowly but surely growing in my savings and TFSA I was beginning to feel good about my financial self. Still a LONG way from feeling great but it was a step in the right direction. Then my car desperately needed an oil change and basic tune up… at $397. Then I get a $527 bill from Bell because I was ‘misinformed’ when they told me my cancellation fee would be $150 to get out of the contract when in actual fact it there would be a $400 cancellation fee plus the final charges. Then I found out it will cost $478 to get Mr. Harold neutered and micro-chipped. To a lot people a spare $1400 is no big deal. To me – it is a huge deal and I don’t like it.

Here’s to taking these bills, and each day, one step at a time and finding that happy stable financial future self sooner rather than later.

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