There is a theory that says the human being is the species with the greatest capacity to adapt. It is probably this incredible talent that enabled humans to go through history and survive while other species have perished. We are gifted with an amazing brain leading to infinite possibilities. When I look at human history, there are no doubts that we are gifted and can adapt to any situation. But tell me, do you think we are still as gifted as our ancestors now that we are sitting on our comfy couch watching Glee?
I believe it’s still the case… only when human beings can’t stand the status quo anymore!
You Only Change When it Stings
While we are born with this incredible gift that is our brain, we are also a bit lazy and procrastinate sometimes…. okay we probably procrastinate most of the time! The problem is that we live good lives in North America and don’t have much to worry about. As soon as you get a stable job, start living on your income (and sometimes spend more than you earn) and keep going like this until your retire. Or so is the original plan.
Most of us have not been raised to save a lot of money. My parents were the perfect example of that. They used to have a small company generating a high income and they start to have high expenses… until everything blew up in one contract and they lost everything they had within three months. If they had saved money as their income grew, they could have continued doing business using their emergency fund. Instead, they had chosen to “live the life” right away and spent every single penny that was coming in.
Going bankrupt was a dramatic experience that shook them up badly. From having 2 houses, 3 cars and everything they wanted, they were down to an $800 crappy pick-up in a shady house rented that was constantly flooded on heavy rains. A few years later, they started another company and started to pay off their debts before enjoying their money. They changed their attitude towards money after a major event crashed into their lives.
At That Time, I Swore I Would Not Take the Spending Route
I was 14 when my parents went bankrupt. I told myself I would never go through this as an adult. Over the years, I’ve climbed the corporate ladder and made sure I had a very stable job with a solid income to take care of my family. But since I’ve been comfortable for so many years, I’ve started to spend a lot too.
You have a feeling that you work hard.
You have a feeling that you deserve it.
And this is when your money starts going everywhere but in your savings account.
I didn’t get too much in debt until I realized that I was heading in the wrong direction. But still, it had to sting before I made any changes. I was looking at my budget and knew that I was creating a few extra expenses. But I thought I would always cover up with my year-end bonus. This strategy worked out pretty well for several years so I thought it would continue.
It did and still does, but at the beginning of this year, I was hit by major car repair doubled with a smaller tax return than expected. This is when I had to take money from my line of credit to finance these extra expenses. I didn’t like it at all! When I use my line of credit, it also means that I’m paying interest while I should have paid my stuff cash… bad move!
Since then, I’ve gone back to my budgeting tool and cut on expenses. I’m following my net worth closely to make sure I pay down my debts each month and get richer. Still, I had waited until I get burned by interest rates before I make any changes in my spending habits. The worst part is that I feel that once the storm will pass, I’ll probably go back to my old habit in a few years.
Readers, how are you dealing with your money? Do you wait until it stings before you make any changes?