April Showers Brings May Debt?

Sarah Ritchie |

Who doesn’t like spring?  Ok, maybe not the allergy sufferers but who doesn’t love the warmer weather, the flowers blooming, the birds chirping again.  Personally, I love Spring. The warmth of the sun on my body makes me feel alive again after a long cold winter. 

If you’re like me, you hate the idea of the new year beginning in the dead of winter when it’s cold and dreary.  To me, the new year begins in March with the onset of the Spring Equinox.  It usually takes me until March to really start thinking about the new year ahead anyway.  So, my goals for the new year seem to always kick in with the onset of Spring.

Most of us resolve at the end of the calendar year that the next year will be different.  We will lose those pounds we have seemed to gain.  We’ll work out more, eat better, stick to a budget for once, finally get out of debt, or whatever it may be.  All of those things we know we need to do, but somehow can’t seem to do. Well, we’re now a few months in and I’m wondering how everyone’s doing with their New Year’s Resolutions.  Honestly, probably not very well, because they don’t work. (more on that later) Change takes effort. It takes time.  Quite frankly, a lot of us aren’t disciplined enough to stick with anything.  I’m not speaking for everyone.  Those laser-focused super-people that seem to “have it all together” baffle me.  Not in a bad way, I’m actually envious.  I’m not one of those people naturally. 

So, what does spring and the month of May have to do with debt?  Well, like I said, it takes me until Spring to really get in gear with the new year. So, after the frenzy of Christmas spending, I’ve usually had a pretty good go in January and February of sticking to the budget. But then that warm weather hits!  You shed your winter clothes, you want to go out more and do more things.  Those flowers in the garden center would be so pretty on your patio.  Your mind goes a little crazy for a minute.  All of a sudden, you want new clothes, a new hairdo, new things for your yard, tickets to an outdoor concert.  You start thinking about summer.  You start planning that beach vacation that you’ll need a whole new wardrobe for…and the list goes on. But wait, didn’t you resolve to stick to your budget this year, rein in your spending, and finally get out of debt?  Uh oh. 

Time to take a deep breath.  We can have some of those things if we’ve budgeted for them.  I usually up my allowance for spring purchases just like we budget for Christmas each year, I budget for Spring.  I know that I’m going to want to buy new flowers, probably some new clothes, and maybe a getaway for my May birthday.  All of those “splurges” are ok if you plan for them and pay CASH.  Remember, we don’t use credit cards especially for unplanned and usually unnecessary purchases.  If you can’t pay cash, you don’t buy it.  Period.  You don’t want your April purchases to turn into May’s debt.  

Getting back to New Year’s Resolutions that don’t work.  Honestly, you have to get fed up and sick and tired of being sick and tired to make real long-lasting changes.  Whether you begin in January or July, the important thing is that you begin changing whatever it is you want to change.  A time of year shouldn’t be the only time you decide to change.  It does help to have a starting point, but if your starting point is the fall, then so be it.  You started.  Right? 

It's not going to be easy, and you might fall back into your old ways from time to time but remember yourself.  Remember your goals.  Are they worth fighting for?  Of course they are!   Push through and stick to it.