Dealing With Real
June 9, 2016
My sister and I talk pretty much every day and cover a lot of territory. One of our favorite conversations is about routines and schedules which is hilarious because I’m a single working girl and she’s a married mother of four cute kids under the age of 7. So basically our routines have nothing in common but we’re sisters so we can still talk about it:) In one of those conversations we were talking about figuring out what time is optimal to get up so that I (for example) could leave for work when I needed to. The ideal depart time was 7:40am but I had no idea how long it took me to do all my things between getting up and leaving. So I started making a list and putting times on it. “Getting ready” is nebulous so I broke that down. Shower, deodorant (you’re welcome)/contacts/lotion/brush teeth (again, you’re welcome), get dressed, makeup, read some scriptures/pray, eat breakfast, email catchup. That all takes me 80 minutes. 80 MINUTES. And yet, in my head it was, oh, like 45 minutes. But it’s not and I don’t do myself any favors by pretending so. I did the same thing with my bedtime ritual and, what do you know, it’s not a 15 minute process! I’ve gained a lot of peace of mind knowing how long it takes me to do things and have less stress by dealing with realities in my scheduling. This leads to another thought…
My sister and I both like the book Great Expectations. I’ll do a really poor job of summarizing this but you’ll get the gist: Pip is poor, Pip comes into money, Pip spends his money extravagantly because that’s what he thinks he’s supposed to do, he and a buddy have cheerful “financial-reckonings” where they review the dismal gap between income and expenses, and eventually things change. [Note: I’ll check with my sister and update any glaringly wrong parts of the summary.] So anyway, I’ve always loved that idea of getting things down on paper, no matter how bad they are. In May 2015, when I decided to do something differently, I had my sister over for a budget-review night. Yes indeed, I do sure know how to have a good time and make sure my guests do too! During that eventful evening I laid out all my expenses, debts, budgeted amounts (keep in mind I’d been budgeting for 4 months already and had some idea of what I was spending in categories), and income. She recommended – at my invitation which is important for stubborn people like me – that I bump some budgeted amounts up (thanks Jess!) and others down (thanks Jess) and helped me expose all my THINGS to the light of day. This was the night my perspective shifted from I’ll-be-paying-off-debt-until-death to I-can-be-debt-free-in-three-years! And good news for me and hopefully encouraging for you, I will actually be debt-free within TWO YEARS from that date. That is the power of dealing with realities and getting some traction.
Get ALL your things down on paper. ALL OF THE THINGS. Random utilities, memberships that only hit 1x per year (hello Amazon Prime!), gifts that you forget to budget for, all the debts, electronics you’re going to need to replace (like a phone which you have only hypothetically of course dropped in a Montana river. And a toilet. And countless times on the ground. Again, only hypothetical.)