So the other day, I posted on my social networks that I paid my FINAL payment on a credit card that I had for over 5 years. The responses that I have gotten to this post have been super inspiring, but i also noticed that there were lots of folks who contacted me about how had I even done it.
…..and that question, nowadays, is a relevant and thought-worthy question.
Because let’s admit it. We are Black, we are young, and we are poor. We can’t move out of our parents crib, because the mere THOUGHT of rent or even a mortgage will completely break the bank! Let alone our college debt, (please don’t get me started) and the “idea” of a possible retirement plan, the possibility of being as financially responsible as the generations before us is, at this rate, almost impossible.
Realizing how much is against me, I made a vow to myself that I would stop complaining about my financial issues, focus,and try to chip away at some of the things that were effecting my financial situations.
So here’s what I know:
–I eat out. Like, a lot. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even some snacks in between. The thrill of sitting around a restaurant table or even pulling up to my favorite take out spot literally gets the best of me. I love it. I love trying new food and hanging out with friends, but of course, at an expense. An expense that eats away at my pocket. smh.
–I am an impluse spender. I spend money based on my emotions. Had a long day at work? Ill take the $15 chicken platter! My friend just got a job promotion? Let’s get her a huge congratulatory gift! I feel lonely. Let me buy that $300 coat that I’ve always wanted. And now, look at me.
-I run the car of my bank account til the wheels fall off. I have NO problem swiping my card. I don’t get to physically see how much is left. The idea of the plastic makes me want to spend soon much more. And because of this, I would carelessly spend money, not worrying about the repercussions.
This is legit the first thing that you want to do when you are changing your financial mindset: Admitting that you were wrong. And now that you know there is an actual problem, it is literally time to get back to the drawing board. Which is why you are reading this.
So here’s what I’m doing to fix it:
-Being honest with myself. This means that I am checking my credit card balances weekly, looking at my bank account statement daily, and calling those debt collectors and actually asking them to put me on a payment plan. Because the truth is, I have debt and I can no longer pretend that it isn’t there.
-Creating a budget. Yes, that stupid thing that adults use to not only pay out bills, but delegate their spending. Budgeting helped me in more ways that I can imagine simply because it allowed me to literally track my money before I had the chance of spending it carelessly. I treat my budget like gold and I always have to refer back to it to make sure that I am on track with my finances. I can just easily tell you to make a budget, but I will be doing a disservice to you if I didn’t tell you how. Here are some of my favorite folks who have awesome resources on budgeting, saving, and personal finance that you can always alter or take from to create your personalized budget and build your resources:
-It takes time. Not just time for you to actually see growth in your accounts, but time is needed to make sure that you are not spending money. Time means waking up earlier in the morning to prepare your breakfast instead of buying your normal coffee and breakfast sandwich at the local spot near your job. It means mapping out your expenses and revamping your budget monthly to make sure that you are crunch numbers and owning your spending. It even means using your free time to get a part time job or pick up an extra shift JUST so you can make more money to work through your financial stuff. So time, yes. It will cost you.
-It no longer hurts to stay at home. One of the most important things that I did is changed the meaning of what my house meant to me. (I am getting somewhere with this point, trust me.) When I started to realize that my home could be my place to love and live out of (as it intends to be), I don’t have to drop pointless dollars on places and things because I don’t want to stay in the house! You know that feeling: “OMG Im so bored, let me hit up my friends so we can go out”. Yea, that one. Then you check you bank account and noticed that $100 was carelessly spent on something, when you could of just easily stayed home. While we know that we need to begin changing our mindset about money, we must also change our mindset about the things that we already have that can help us combat our old financial habits.
-Build a support system! You can’t do life alone. So what makes you think that you can do this alone? Get those friends that like to spend and have poor financial habits with you, and make a commitment to each other to get the job done. Hold each other accountable, most importantly, and let them know that y’all got each other’s back! Just makes this easier.
-Setting deadlines for my guap goals. Because we all have goals, but we never execute them. So setting a deadline for goals throughout the year sets a responsibility and level of execution a bit higher. You wanna pay off that credit card in October? Work towards the deadline to complete the goal. Goal Completion at its finest.
Now, from all of this, I NEVER said that this would be easy. NEVER. Because it wasn’t, and it still isn’t. I have to learn how to say “I can’t afford to go out with y’all tonight.” or “Lunch? I brought something from home.” or my favorite, “Ill pass on happy hour. I have some wine that I purchased chilling in my fridge for me.” It is serious sacrifice and lonely days will come, but it is ALL for the better. Besides, if it was so easy, do you think you would have this problem now? of course not. So its time to level up. Make the decision now or even as you begin to think about your 2017 financial goals to prepare yourself to thrive with your coins.
Feeling excited? Yea, me too. Let’s get out of this financial bondage. ❤