Why Am I Just Not Good With Money?

Sarah Ritchie |

Have you ever wondered why you can’t get a grip on your spending or get ahead financially?  You look around at others and wonder what you’re doing wrong.  Everyone else seems to have it together with their finances but you.  You’re working hard, you’re budgeting, you’re doing everything you think is the “right thing” to do but you continually have financial setback after setback.  You’ve probably on many occasions decided you’re just not good at this money thing. 

I get it.  I’ve been there.  I was a struggling single mom for years even though I was making a decent living as a teacher.   Although there were many external factors that I had little control over contributing to my money woes, I must admit, the biggest obstacle was me.  Yes, I’m blaming myself. 

So, there is the fact that I lived in the most expensive state in the US to live in.  I guess that accounted for part of it.  There’s also the fact that I was left in a horrible financial situation after leaving an abusive marriage.  However, I wouldn’t change that for anything because the strength it took to leave made me become the person I always knew I was.  But, despite those challenges, I would say my biggest challenge was my own mind set.  To be honest, I played the victim for a while.    I guess we all have our moments of victimhood.  I’m just thankful I found my way out. 

The person holding you back from achieving financial freedom is the person staring back at you in the mirror.  Yes, life happens, and it sucks.  But you have to pick yourself up and forge ahead.  No one is coming to save you.  Not some knight in shining armor with bags of cash or God forbid, the government.  When you realize this, your mindset begins to shift.

Honestly, I got mad.  I got mad at myself for believing that it wasn’t me that was the problem but someone else.  Then I took a good hard look at my own choices that got me into the situation.  It wasn’t easy.  I had to be brutally honest with myself.  Not fun but liberating.

No, it wasn’t an instantaneous process.  I didn’t snap my fingers and all of a sudden I was living the dream.  Hardly.  It was a tough road and still is quite frankly.  I had to really reel in my budget.  I had to stay out of Target and give up Starbucks.  I had to stop telling myself that I “deserved” something.  I had to realize my own choices were holding me back.  I looked at the bigger picture and began setting goals. 

If I was going to send my son to college or ever retire, I had to make changes.  I decided that I wasn’t bad with money, I had just made bad choices.  Those choices could be reversed to a certain extent by my reaction to them.  I could not make the same mistakes again.  But I did on occasion and then kicked myself, got back up, and kept moving ahead. 

Bottom line, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.  You have to tell your money where to go by creating a budget and sticking to it.  You have to change your mindset and realize you are in control and money doesn’t control you.  You have to make goals and work toward them.  You also have to stop comparing yourself to others or be worried about what others think.  But most of all, don’t stop moving ahead.  Don’t stop believing you can do it.  Because you can.