#4 – Work With The Real Not The Ideal
It’s A Thrifty Mystery
There you are, one week away from pay-day. You made a budget at the start of the month. You stuck to your budget. Well, you are pretty sure you stuck to your budget, or, at least, you don’t remember buying anything that wasn’t on your budget… And yet here you are now, checking your bank balance, and finding that you are already in the red. What went wrong?
What went wrong is that you spent the month paying with your ideal income not your real income. What went wrong is that your ideal self made up your budget – and she really did mean to stick to every detail of it. But your real self actually did the spending and she has an agenda all of her own. What went wrong is that you didn’t work with the real, you worked with the ideal.
Work With The Real Not The Ideal
Any idiot can see that if you want to be on top of your finances you have to be realistic. (I know because I am that idiot. I am also the idiot looking at her bank balance in dismay at the end of the month. Sadly.) The tricky part isn’t grasping the idea of working with the real. No, the tricky part is catching yourself working with the ideal instead of the real. The ideal is nice – we feel good while we work with it. It’s only later that we realise we have been side-tracked from reality. Again.
I want to give you an easy way to spot yourself sliding from your real to your ideal. I REALLY want to give you an easy way to do that. And if I ever find one, I promise you that you will be the very first person I tell.
For now, though, long experience has taught me that you have to keep asking yourself, “real or ideal?” every time you make a spending decision. So this particular Thrifty Principle is more about a slow, persistent attitude change than specific habits you can get into. That said, the following habits will make it a lot easier for you to keep it real. Try them and see how you get on. You can make it easier on yourself by downloading this week’s Thrifty Habits Planner to keep you on track.
- Store Your Receipts
- Review The Month’s Spending
- Set Spending Targets
You can read about the Five Principles Of Thrifty Living here.