When are you careful with money?

by Joel Sandwith on August 31, 2011

For a lot of people, money is a bit mysterious – sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t.  Some people always have money, some never do.  Many of the people I meet with in our Sarnia bankruptcy office mention that they’ve tried to manage money but they simply can’t.  Most note that until some disaster struck, they seemed to be managing fine.  I always try to point out that most people seem to go along ok, until a job loss, marital breakup, disability or other problem surfaces – that the difference between the person in my office and the ‘man on the street’ may simply be that the man on the street hasn’t found his disaster yet.

All of this leads to a theory I’ve developed, which is pretty simple – almost everyone out there could be better with money.  When money is flowing, generally people simply spend.  Why have a budget?  There’s enough to go around, right?  Then, when the taps run dry, or are starting to, we tighten the belts, think about our bills, draw up a budget.  Which is usually too late.  Then you come and meet with me and we try and figure out how to reduce the debts to a manageable level.  I should point out that I’ve had some financial difficulty in the past and this is EXACTLY what happened to me, so I’m not trying to be critical, just pointing out a pattern I’ve noticed in people.

I was chatting with a good friend of mine earlier today.  This friend works in a specialized profession, and being quite good at what she does, makes a good living.  She mentioned to me that she was using some of her time off today to look on Kijiji for a Thomas the train set for her son.  Here’s the thing – my friend could easily pay full retail for a lavish, extensive train set, but is choosing not to.  Why?  Because it isn’t necessary.  A good used set will be in just as good a shape, will last just as long, and will be substantially less expensive than a new set.  Her son is at an age where he might be obsessed with trains for years, but could just as easily lose interest in two months – so why waste a penny more than she needs to?

This is a perfect example of what our society needs to be doing – taking care with money even when we don’t NEED to.  So that we can be in a better position to weather the occasional financial storm, or even just to get more out of it.  So, kudos to you friend, a good example to all of us how to manage money.  I hope you find the perfect train set.

Spent too much on train sets?  Credit card debt piling up to the ceiling?  Call us at 310-PLAN (7526) for a free evaluation of your debt options.


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