Day 13–What if you can’t pay all your monthly expenses?
(Posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.)
Hello Balance UP! watchers. I am once again behind in my classes. I lost a dear friend, I took a mini-vacation, and I have been blessed with some over-time at the office. Fortunately, the Balance UP! program is so easy to follow that if life happens (and it does), you can jump back into the program at your first opportunity.
Last week was my bill paying week. By following Bryan’s directions, I was able to find the funds to pay cash for my that little vacation, and I was put an extra $100 down on that stupid IRS bill. I am actually looking forward to this month’s bill paying to see how much extra money I can find. Yes…you heard that right…
“I am actually looking forward to this month’s bill paying.”
I can’t believe I said that. If you recall…this is the time of the month that I generally wake up around 3am in a panic even if I have the money to pay the bills!
Not quite there yet? Then Day 13 is the day for you!
When we can’t pay those monthly expenses we feel ashamed. When we feel ashamed we pull back. We isolate ourselves. We are sure everyone knows. The reality is, no one knows, and there’s the rub.
“No man is an island.
Bryan reminds us to reach out. If you need something, ask. Maybe your washing machine died, or the tires are about ready to fall off the car. Someone, somewhere, has a washing machine in their garage, or some gently used tires looking for a home. If you don’t ask, these items can’t find you.
Bryan also offers some great tips to prioritize your bill paying when you don’t have enough money to go around, along with some very sound advice for interacting with creditors. You can use his sample letters to explain your situation, and you can send along his budget sheet to illustrate that you are honestly in a bit of a pickle. There is nothing worse than endless creditor phone calls when you are already over-stressed about your finances.
Balance Up! What are you waiting for?
Day 14…Managing your minutes
Does a lack of time management cost you money?
Do you pay late fees because you missed payment due dates? Do you sometimes eat out because you didn’t make it to the grocery store? Do you wait until your car breaks down to fix it because you didn’t have time to do regular maintenance?
Growing up, my dad paid the bills while my mom made dinner, cleaned, etc. Now, my mom pays the bills while my dad makes dinner, does the dishes, etc. When you are a single mom (or dad), you are paying the bills, making dinner, cleaning, helping with homework, driving kids around, etc. Time management under these conditions gets trickier, and when you factor in plain old exhaustion… well let’s just say I have paid my share of late payments because I ran out of minutes in my month.
With demands such as these on our time we find we are often…
“Doing what we’ve always done, and adding more to it.”
Who hasn’t been there? I know I can relate! I certainly don’t make a conscious decision to function this way, but when I look back, this certainly seems to be what has happened. I recognize my ADD does nothing to help the situation, but I would really like to get to stop running this hamster wheel, so I’m ready to do better!
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Day 15…More time management
Who doesn’t long for more time? I know I find that I am often working from the time I get out of bed until I collapse back into bed at the end of the day. There is just so much to do!
For a Type A single mom with ADD, time management is a constant challenge. The reality is, there are more to-dos on my list than there are minutes in my day. It is a fact. I used to feel bad about it. I used think that I was failing at this time management thing and that I needed to work harder to get it down. Then a funny thing happened. I noticed that married people who help each other struggled to get everything done too. If the two of them can’t do…and often with fewer children than I have…was I expecting too much of myself?
The answer is simply “yes”. My first adjustment was to say to myself,
“Self, you are not going to accomplish everything, everyday that you want to accomplish.”
Once I made piece with that life got a little easier.
Bryan offers some great time management tips. I suggest you pick 2 to get yourself started. Once you have the incorporated these 2, you can add 2 more. Here are some of Bryan’s suggestions:
1. Get started. (Good idea!)
2. Handle a task once. Don’t move it from to-do list, to to-do list.
3. Schedule 6.5 hours of work for an 8 hour day. This gives you wiggle room but still lets you complete your list.
4. Get off all the email lists for the emails you just delete anyway.
5. Eat well and be well-rested. (Do your best)
6. Say “No”
Number 6 is my favorite. My next newsletter will have a link to order The Book of No. Saying no to everyone else’s demands is a powerful tool in maintaining your own sanity and living the life you’d like to live versus the life everyone else would like you to live. Namely, doing what makes them happy, without any regard to the toll it takes on your life, your health, your relationships, or your responsibilities.
Pick a few priorities for your day…things that have to be done, and work from there. Anything else you get done is a bonus. Above all, make sure you have time to talk to your kids, hug and squeeze them, and learn about their day. You don’t want to be on your deathbed thinking “I made it to every PTA meeting like all the adults at the school wanted, but I didn’t read books or play games like my kids wanted.” Or, “I wish I had gotten around to planning my financial future. I have nothing to leave my kids.”
You are sometimes going to go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes. There are more important things. Spend your time on those.
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