The year of 2015 brought an evolution to how I saw my personal finances. I had a strong budget that was flexible enough to adjust for a month out of town. I also started working on my credit card relationship by limiting my spending with PP. That Christmas season I over-swiped and I could visually see that I had no control over my Christmas spending.
A year later, I knew I needed to start preparing for Christmas earlier than I had the year before. In October, I started odor sleuthing what I wanted to buy my family and started to build up a plan. I used an Excel template to track my present ideas and the credit I used to purchase them. I kept a keen eye out for deals and ended Holiday Season 2016 without using any extra PP. This year I want to track a few more things with my Christmas budget level it up into an even more useful tool.
I did not like vegetables when I was a youngster. I saw vegetables as a sign of maturity and adulthood. I thought that if I liked vegetables it meant I was a grown-up. Even when I got to college I resisted eating vegetables. On Facebook, I made it clear body clear in my about me section that my diet was meat, grains, fat, and cheese. However, if the vegetables were hidden in my food, like in pasta sauce, I would endure eating them.
As I started to actually behave more like an adult by started cooking for myself, I continued tricking myself into eating vegetables. Whether I made spaghetti, enchilada hot dish or pizza, I found a way to shadow sneak them into the dish. Yes, I knew they were in there and that I was going to eat them, but playing along with the facade helped me not feel like a grown-up. Tricking myself into eating vegetables helped me eat vegetables at a time when I found it hard. Today, I understand that I am a grown-up and I eat salads for lunch almost every workday. I enjoy vegetables as a regular part of my diet.
My personal finances are similar. My financial pokémon team tricks me into doing the things I know I should do but can’t quite do on my own. Its tricks make sure I pay my credit card minimum payments, splits up my money, hides money in secret bases, absorbs extra interest, and steals money for saving.
Stress and anxiety are a natural part of being a human. Although what causes our stress varies from person to person, money is one cause that I hear about a lot.
I am a natural worrier and money creates a lot of stress for many different reasons. The way my debt uses growth to rapidly increase has been something I have battled with for years. When I don’t work enough hours in a work week to meet my budgeted goal, I worry about paying all of my bills. Waiting to see my new income-based student loan payment or rent increase gives me insomnia. My stress peaks when I feel like my life is paralyzed simply because I do not have enough money right now.
The two main strategies I use for managing my money induced stress are distraction and reflection. I use a variety of methods of each strategy when I start feeling the stress building. These methods help me knock out the stress so I can recover and get back into the battle.
Over the years I have defeated almost every region’s Elite Four with my starter pokémon as team captain*. We ended each game together, just as we started it, until the more recent games. In Omega Ruby, I deposited my swampert into the pc early during the game. In Sun, a traded incineroar has become my team captain*. What changed?
Well, recently I noticed a phenomenon I refer to as starter pokémon syndrome. It’s when I blindly make my starter pokémon team captain without researching other possible options. I would make the decision based only on loyalty to my starter pokémon, and not use other research to validate my decision was best for my team.
Starter pokémon syndrome also happens in real life too. Take my starter bank, for example. Over 16 years I blindly opened two checking accounts, two savings accounts, and a credit card. Once I realized what was happening, I was able to research a better option to make my financial pokémon team stronger.
It’s back-to-school season again, which means tons of sales and discounts. It also means another class of high school students is making their transition into life as an adult. Some are brave birding right into the work force, which is awesome! Others need a little more training and education and are flying to college first.
I headed to college because I enjoyed learning and felt I needed more education to find my career path. College is a great time to learn about ourselves as students, trainers, and young adults.
Today, I want to share a few tips based on what I have learned since graduating college. I think they can help any college student refresh their personal finances.
Since today is my wedding day, I have a guest post from a fire blast from the past, Breeder Tojo.
I wrote this essay back in 2008 as an assignment for my Sociology class. We were to write about our hypothetical lives where we worked at Walmart, the apparent standard of low-income jobs, (eye rollout) and had a take home pay of $800 a month.
First, I must inform you that besides a little reformatting, the essay remains mostly unedited. Reading it now, I can see it is horribly written, terribly edited and just reads like someone trying to meet a page requirement. It also seems poorly researched and really whiny. I hope that my writing has changed a lot since then. (Please let me know if it hasn’t.)
It is an interesting look into my 21-year-old mindset to see what I understood about personal finances. I just really had no clue. It reminds me of a trainer battling without understanding pokémon types. They know how to cause damage, but they don’t understand why the same attack’s strength differs when attacking different pokémon.
The final piece of advice my cross-country coach gave me before he passed was, “Start your 401k as soon as can and put in as much as you can.” It was my first year in college and it made no sense to me. He tried to explain it to me. I caught that involved working and retirement. I did my best to follow his advice and keep an eye out for it. The first and only time I have encountered the possibility of starting a 401k at work was five years ago. Their business manual mentioned they would pay into one after working there for 6 months, but I never met that requirement.
At the time, I missed the moral of his advice. Time is an important aspect of life and younger people need to catch as much of it while it’s abundant. Time becomes rarer as we age and that’s why older people value it so much. Time is a useful tool that us younger folk need to realize we have available to us. Like how time helps timer balls catch pokémon, it also helps our finances by using rollout, leech seed, pin missile, return and stockpile.
Tuesday, I had an eye doctor’s appointment to get a new prescription for contacts. I left after explaining to the receptionist, the doctor, the contacts person and the glasses person that I could not afford their recommendations. I felt awful because I felt like I had say “no” to my health because I couldn’t afford to say “yes.” I felt like I was trapped in a sand tomb, paralyzed and I could only splash about.
So, I came home and started writing about my experience and feelings. I wouldn’t say I was crying as I typed, but having a Finneon near might have been helpful. After granbulling for about a page and a half, I had to return to work and try not to be so gloomy.
It was at work that I noticed this feeling didn’t have to do with only my doctor’s appointment. At first, I ran out of good moves when I had to stop using my credit card PP, causing me to splash around. Then, I became paralyzed as I started looking deeper into what we have spent and still need to spend on our wedding. Finally, I was trapped in the sand tomb when I wanted a new contacts prescription, but everything I was being recommended would cost me three to four times what I was expecting to afford.
I found myself on a Marengo Plateau.
Four weeks from now, I’ll be a married Grown-Up Pokemon Trainer. We will be packing our bags, saying our farewells to our friends and family, and wrapping up our whirlwind of a wedding weekend.
That’s then, but this is now. And right now, I’m in what I refer to the week before tech week for our wedding. We are starting to feel the pressure as we complete our finishing touches and finalizing details. We are behind on some parts and ahead on others, but we have been through event planning before and know it will all work out. As for the financial part, our main strategy to keep our budget in check is priority spending.
This week I ended my third decade of moving around the sun. I am now 30 years old, and my biggest concern about turning 30 is whether I need to change my age in the Rockstar Finance Blogdex. There’s a huge debate in my head if it will smokescreen my potential future audience from finding me, but that’s a discussion for later. (Although, if you have an opinion, please voice it in the comments below or on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. ;))
I wanted to start a new tradition to celebrate the beginning of my new year and I came up with the Amulet Coin Money Challenge!
This challenge originates from me thinking about how most of my personal finance related stress manifests from my inability to use my money the way I want to. Whenever I get a large sum of “extra” money, my debt, savings or investing usually extreme speed the paycheck before I can use it the way I want to. The Amulet Coin Money Challenge is a super training exercise that ignores speed and lets me think about what I want my priorities to be for my money.