When it comes to my finances, I have always had a stressful time when it comes to money. By no means is my situation bleak, nor am I ever really deprived of anything that I need or want BUT I am terrible with numbers and I am not the type of person to plan for a rainy day. I live to the maximum of my means and enjoy spending money on experiences, great food and travel!
I am very fortunate to not be in any exceptional amount of debt (UK student loans and car repayments aside), I also do not have a mortgage (more on whether that is a positive or negative in a later blog) or any dependants (again, I should probably delve into this more at a later date?!). I do, however, have a handful of big financial obligations that happened to all be due at the same time (and total $19k!!) and of course the world’s best wedding to plan and pay for 😊
Once Sara and I had decided on a budget for the wedding so as to stop plans (me!) getting out of control and I sat down and realised the $19k worth of obligations that I had on the horizon, the black clouds started to roll in thick and fast which were inevitably followed by an intense downpour (of tears).
It is not typically in my nature to ask for help, however, when there is an area that I feel I have no prior knowledge, expertise or control over I will force myself to reach out and find some light and wisdom. Fortunately for me there is a person in my life with an iron will, organisational skills to inspire Stephen Covey (read ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’!) and is as compassionate as they come… my mother!
My mum LOVES a plan (I honestly can’t emphasise this enough!!) and she also loves to help which meant that when I called my mum a few weeks ago having a nervous breakdown at the state of my finances and impending obligations, she was ready to swoop in and enrol me into her budgeting boot camp. I’m honestly not so sure if she even noticed my persistent tears, sniffles and gulps. Her plan detection sensor must have gone haywire and the problem solving began immediately.
I am seriously diabolical with numbers and the problem stemmed from when I was at school. I was a relatively bright child and so If you were very good at English, like I was, it meant that you were put into the top set, this also meant that due to the timetable you needed to be put into the top one or two sets of a few other core subjects; Geography, History and Maths. My mathematic skills are appalling and for me, so was my High School teacher, Dr Forsyth. As his name would suggest, Dr Forsyth had a PhD in Mathematics resulting in a significantly more detailed insight into mathematics than your average High School teacher and in my opinion had no business trying to teach me math. We just could not seem to come to a mutual understanding that might result in me getting even a basic understanding off what I needed to know to pass an exam. In my opinion he just was not able to get his head out of his mathematically filled bottom. Whilst I assume, he could not understand how such a simpleton had made it into his class and could not grasp linear equations, solve inequalities or think of sequences outside of a dance context.
Our poor relationship, my stubborn nature and his inability to adjust his teaching methods to suit a numbers pleb meant that I disengaged as much as I could due to the frustration, I faced from him in class when I just could not comprehend what the hell he was talking about. My belief was that I would never be able to pick it up and resulted in very poor exam results and a lifelong allergy and hatred to maths.
Now, my habit is to just not even try to understand anything at all when it comes to numbers and I get very easily overwhelmed as I’ve told myself for years, I am not capable. I wouldn’t say that any member of my family is particularly gifted with numbers, however, my mum was able over a serious of calls lasting hours to take me through my finances and work with me to create a very detailed plan (which obviously I love to) and system to track and save every penny that I need to kick all of my financial goals.
There are so many things that would have been much more useful for me to learn at school that would have better equipt me for adult life. But seriously, thank goodness that even at 31, I will never be too old just to call my mum to crying about something that at the time just seems too overwhelming!