How To Make Your Own Money Rules
**Disclaimer: This blog post was written back in February, and my husband is now happily re-employed. I will be sharing more in the future about how we navigated this transition period of cutting back and interruptions in income. It tested my own systems, and I’m happy to say, the systems worked perfectly.
My clients often say to me “I didn’t do (insert frivolous spending activity here) because I knew I was going to have to report back to you.
It always makes me laugh.
Accountability is a big part of coaching. It’s a good thing that I’m hanging out in their brain helping them make good financial decisions. Sometimes you need that extra push to realize you can cut back and still live a life you love.
But what you might not realize is that by being part of my community YOU provide the same level of accountability to ME.
And when my family decided to go out to dinner on a whim last night, you all popped into my head. “Hmmm I wonder what my clients and community would say if they knew we were going out to dinner given our looming drop in income.”
The whole story is that my husband is a Program Manager and the current project he is working on is winding down sooner than expected. We have about a month to go before he is unemployed.
And despite that, last night we decided to go out to dinner (and ice cream) and drop $50. And it felt like money WELL spent.
And I want to share with you all the reasons why.
1) We have already sat down and mapped out unemployment, severance, vacation payout, etc.
2) We have a six-month emergency fund
3) I have already cut the ‘excessive’ spending in our monthly budget (i.e. reigned in my essential oil habit, put off scheduling any vacations or big entertainment purchases, like concerts, etc.)
That is the practical. The numbers. The system.
But that is only half the equation when it comes to managing your money with intention. The other piece is knowing what your needs are, and how you can use money to fulfill those needs.
And last night? We needed a night out. We needed to have a little fun.
Looking for a new job is stressful for my husband, of course. But it’s also stressful for me. Throw in some potty training, big toddler feelings and running a business and some days we felt pretty maxed out.
But my family (including my toddler) loves to eat out. It’s more than just dinner. We always choose a restaurant in the downtown area of our little town so we can walk around, catch the vibe and support local businesses.
And last night, sure enough, we came home refreshed and commenting on what a good time we had during our night out.
A lot of financial “rules” would tell you to save every penny in our situation. No eating out, period.
But I say hogwash.
It requires more finesse and discipline to be able to discern what spending is appropriate, or not, given your individual situation.
Some nights it makes sense to throw a frozen lasagna in the oven and call it good. Other nights it makes sense to tell everyone to grab their coat and head downtown.
You have to make your own rules with money.
That is intentional spending; Figuring out what adds the most value to your life, prioritizing it in your spending plan, and cutting the rest.
To me, THAT is the sustainable way to manage your money.
So, consider this permission granted.
Permission granted to work in some eating out to your monthly plan if that feels good.
Permission granted to sign up for the art class if that is your greatest desire.
Do your thing.
Just make sure you are working it into a plan, making progress towards your goals and recalibrating yourself regularly.
Oh, and maybe get cracking on that six-month emergency fund because let me tell you, the peace of mind it brings is worth its weight in gold.