Old Habits Sure Do Die Hard
I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but over the past 2 months I slowly stopped tracking my budget. I made minimum payments on my debt and even forgot to make a couple of payments and incurred late penalties. To top things off, I screwed up and accidentally moved a little to much money into savings and incurred a couple of overdraft fees in my checking account. I am a little embarrassed to admit that my wife and I haven’t had a budget meeting in more than a month!
While the events of this past weekend weren’t a result of any of this, they did force me to spend a considerable amount of time looking through my accounts and subsequently my finances. In doing so, I realized I was slowly returning to my old habits of not managing my money like I should. I also realized we were taking a hit as a result. I spent a great deal of time over the past 48 hours thinking through this.
The good news is, I realized the problem and fixed it. We created our budget for November, pulled money out for our envelopes, and I even set-up our Mint.com (not an affiliate link) account to start tracking our finances and budget. By the way, if you haven’t tried Mint, head over and give it a try. Did I mention it’s free? Their new release is really nice.
Thinking on this some this morning (and honestly continuing to beat myself up over it as I tend to do…I don’t like to make mistakes) I realized that old habits really do die hard. One would think given the turn around I had in my life almost a year ago that this wouldn’t happen. Seems change, at least for me, is a little harder than I thought.
I’m really ashamed I let this happen, and as I said, pretty embarrassed as well. I mean after all, I’m a personal finance blogger, I shouldn’t make these mistakes right? Wrong. Just goes to show you we’re human just like the rest of you. I know what to do, but struggle daily with doing it.
This struggle reminds me of a personal favorite scripture from Paul:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I know for some, managing their finances comes naturally. Maybe over time it will for me as well, but for now I’ve realized I must stay disciplined and remind myself constantly to stay on track. I do not want to live in the chaos we had before.
Do you struggle with old habits related to your finances? Have you slipped and fallen back into some old habits? I’d be interested in hearing your stories, and some of the things you do to keep yourself on track.