Confession time: My financial failure (and how I plan to ultimately succeed)

Confession_Shopping Ban

I started this blog last month and decided that the theme would be personal finance:  mainly budgeting, saving money, and paying off debt. That’s my main focus in life at the moment as I close in on the end of an 8-year journey to pay off my debt.

Despite still being in debt, I think (hope) I can help people with what I’ve learned over the past 8 years - I’ve read hundreds of articles about budgeting and how to strategize and pay off credit card debt. Some of the advice worked and some didn’t. I want to use my experiences to help people figure out what will work for them.

Confession:

I could have paid off my debt a long time ago. In the past 8 years, I’ve exceeded my budget more times than I can count. I have failed time and time again. Even now, as I’m facing the light at the end of the tunnel, I am once again falling victim to my shopping addiction. I feel like a fraud. How can I give you advice on how to budget and pay off debt, when I continue to fail like this?

Ironically, my biggest problem at the moment is actually this blog. I have a hard time doing things half-assed. When I decided to start a blog, I decided that I needed to create the best, coolest, most amazing blog anyone’s ever seen! The problem with that is:

  • There are thousands, maybe millions of amazing blogs.
  • I’m not a (good) writer.
  • I’m not a web designer.
  • I don't know how to get people to find my blog– I’m so glad you found it!

So, I decided that my solution to the above problems was that I needed to take every online course I could find that could help me solve those problems, such as how to build a blog/website, copywriting, social media marketing, photography, etc.

I love learning new things in general, so when I gave myself permission to pay for some courses to learn the skills necessary to create a great blog, I went a little crazy. I found a few free courses, but I also bought a lot of them. I justified this spending spree by saying it was an investment for the future. 

I may have become a smarter shopper over the years, in the sense that my purchases are higher quality and add real value to my life, but I still overspend sometimes. I need to figure out how to prioritize them so I can stay within my budget. This realization led me to decide that I need to put myself on a shopping ban, to shift my mindset from being allowed to spend to instead questioning every purchase.

I’ve done this twice before in the last 8 years, and it’s been very effective in kickstarting my budgeting because it makes me hyper-aware of every penny I spend. It’s pretty extreme and can only be done for a certain amount of time, but it’s an extremely valuable practice. It teaches me that life manages to go on without buying these things I desperately want. It also teaches me that I can be creative in solving some of my problems for free (or cheaper) instead of going out and buying the first product I find that could solve the problem.

So, in an effort to get myself to debt-freedom sooner,

I am putting myself on a shopping ban until my debt is paid off. 

If I’m going to blog about personal finance, I need to walk the walk. I’ve been learning to budget for years, and now the journey continues. This is the key to personal finance. It’s personal to you, and it needs to keep evolving with you. A budget is not something you create and then it’s just done and you use it the rest of your life. A badass budget should be constantly evolving and changing as you and your circumstances change over time. I am now ready to grow into the next phase of my life and my budget and a shopping ban is just the thing to kick it off!