Monday, December 4, 2023

Money Talks.

June 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Money, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( This is not and I repeat NOT a self-help article. This is more of an “I have been there too” and “You are not alone” piece about money as I am still learning how to budget. I am terrible with money. It flows through my hands like water unbidden and it annoys me to no end. No, I don’t have a shopping, gambling, or drug addiction. No major credit card snafu to get out of. Just bills. Nothing too stressful. Yet, it causes me to stay up at night.

One of the many hats that a black mother must wear is that of a personal family banker. We must account for every cent that goes in or out of our homes because as we all know money does not grow on trees. I’ve seen women on both sides of my family make a dime scream because they were squeezing it so hard. I can truly say it is harder to do when you must think of other people especially your children. When it was me all by my lonesome, I would readily do without something just to make sure I had enough to cover something else. You can probably guess how my early 20s went with that mentality. It has been a struggle to break because it is the mode that I have been operating from so long.


Survival mode.

When I say survival mode in terms of my bank account, I mean that I would literally break my finances down to their bare bones just so I could have cash to do things that I wanted to do. It was one of the worst parts of adulting for me. However, I have through trial and error found ways to keep me from being too hard on myself as far as my “pocketbook” is concerned.

The first lesson that I had to learn was how not to spend it just because I had it. How many times have you bought something on whim because you knew you had a windfall to back you up? I would take this small space of wiggle room and run out with. It would be something with a small price tag, but I had been putting off getting it for myself. The cost wouldn’t be that significant but then I would see something else that I had been putting off. Before I knew it, I would spend all the cushion cash that I had to be left with just my money for bills. When I was younger this was ok as my needs were ultimately met and I got what I wanted. Over the long haul, this mentality has kept me broke when I really didn’t need to be. Yet, there have also been time when I didn’t splurge on anything, just paid bills and still came out with two nickels to rub together. I started to combat this habit by prioritizing my small purchases or finding a cheaper but still useful alternative to what I needed. This means that now when I go into Walmart, I am not immediately thinking of everything the house needs and that I need to get it now. I have learned to take my time and rank the importance of what it is I am buying and if I need it right this second. If I don’t, I put it back and go on with my life. Seems simple but trust me the conversations I have in my head before I swipe my card say otherwise.

Another lesson I had to learn was that you don’t have pay everything all at once. Sometimes, it is better to stagger your payments to give your purse time to breathe. As I got older, I became the person that pays ALL the bills as soon as I get paid and wonder where my check went to. This is trap that I see some black women fall into because we watched our mothers do it over and over. I know it was done in my family and no one is knocking it. I completely understand the logic behind it. If I pay it went I have it, I don’t have to worry about it later. But then I’m stuck wondering where the money will come from for the expected and unexpected twists of life. Not to mention wanting to go out or do a little something for yourself. In addition to staggering payments, I took a trick from childhood and began to apply it to my life. As a child, our parents taught us to save our money for what we really wanted or needed. Somewhere I forgot that lesson and picked it up again via my husband and his thrifty ways.

Life and budgeting are never an exact science. Life throws curve balls at your wallet and sometimes the wallet simply says return to sender.  I know mine does with a vengeance. Maybe one day I’ll learn to save all my pennies and make my piggy bank happy for once.

Staff Writer; Monika Rambeaux


Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!