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Time flies when you’re having fun…or avoiding your responsibilities…or letting the small stuff become much, much bigger than it has any right to be.

It’s been over a month since my last post.  On one hand, I feel like a fool for not posting more, on the other hand I felt burdened by the things that were going on in my life.  Well, a “burdened” life isn’t really much of an excuse…what better therapy than blogging?  Get it out, get it off my chest…I did that a couple of posts ago and I felt awesome.  But, even more than that, I let the small stuff take over.

Getting overwhelmed with life is just like getting overwhelmed by money.  The best thing you can do is face the situation every day, stop avoiding it, and make progress.  I made some progress, but when I reflect back on the past 30 days I look back with less joy than I should.

I worked out a lot, I was neurotic about food a lot, I studied some, I taught some, I had Spring Break with my kids–but there were so many opportunities to blog about good financial choices, bad financial choices–etc.  I avoided facing not only what we did right, but what we did wrong.  We overspent on food and gas the latter half of March…more than we’ve done in a long time!  That combined with trying to make some healthier life choices I got overwhelmed and let the money, the food, the effort control me, rather than me controlling it.

I hate fighting about money.  We had some disagreements in the past 30 days regarding money–I’d rather put money in savings and not have any spending cash, where my husband understands the necessity of savings, but prefers to have the cash in his pocket.  Frankly, I understand that because we run all the money through me.  I know what the balances are, I know what expenses are coming in the next couple of weeks, and so on.  He gets really tired of having to ask for money/the opportunity to do something either as a couple or as a family and hearing “Well, we can’t because of …”  It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t particularly pretty either.

This month, we’ve made some minor changes to what we’re doing–limiting the amount of money put towards gas on a weekly basis (making us more conscious of what trips we’re taking and how we can be more economical about them), having more discussion about what is and is not working for us financially, and looking at this summer, this fall (as I go back to school for my PhD) and the next couple of years as we plan for school-related travels, his MBA graduation, our drive home at retirement (cross-country), and just being more aware.  We have (again) stopped complaining about money and instead have focused on what we can do and how we’re doing it better. 

We’re making progress and I’m going to focus on growing myself through this personally as well as professionally, growing my family through this, and growing my marriage.  Avoidance never gets us anywhere…and I’m looking forward to being more proactive with my money, my time, my studies, my blogging, and my ability to influence others!

Never give up.  If there’s a list of twenty things you want to change financially, change one at a time and celebrate the change that you make.  Reflect on the change (in writing, with a trusted friend) and use that to inspire you to make bigger and better financial choices.  Be growth conscious (see John C. Maxwell’s Growth Book–The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth) for more information about how to become growth conscious.

If you save even just one more dollar per month than you did the month before…it’s a small step, but it’s at least a step forward.  Grow into saving more the next month.  If you pay off debt, either roll that payment towards another debt or put it into savings–make sure you have a base Emergency savings account before paying any extra towards debt, but even just a couple of extra dollars towards principal can make a difference in total amount paid in interest, as well as paying the account off early!

Stop Avoiding.  Utilize your money–it’s a tool that YOU should control.  Start Growing!