Reality Cheque: The Birth of My NEW Financial Life

This whole personal finance thing started for me in 2010. Having finished university in 2007 and securing myself a steady job, I was like most young Canadians: completely and blissfully in the dark about my financial situation. Up until about October 2010, my strategy towards money was “wing it and hope for the best.” Getting my finances in order had always been on my to-do list but it definitely wasn’t a high priority. And when I finally got around to it, I DEFINITELY didn’t start in the right place.

For the record, I didn’t FEEL like I was in the dark. For about three years, I had been aggressively tackling my student loans and credit cards, building up some meager savings, contributing to my employer’s pension plan and considering other investments. While my intentions may have been good, I almost always found myself coming up short at the end of the month. As a result, the savings I had built slowly dried up – a little deflating since I thought I was doing so many things right. And while that may have been true, something was fundamentally wrong with my approach.

I was tackling my finances from the top-down, rather than the bottom-up.

Translation: I was so focused on the debt-repayment and savings aspect of my money that I was ignoring my day-to-day spending. Now, I wasn’t living any kind of lavish lifestyle, but I had absolutely no idea where my money was disappearing to. You may find yourself in a similar situation – your balance is off, you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you never really have a solid sense of where your money is going, and worse – you never seem to have enough.

In light of our recent economic recession, I felt it was time to turn my finance strategy upside down and start from the bottom – the foundation – the budget. Having never lived on one before, I was kind of blah about the whole concept. It seemed like a lot of hassle because really, budgets by definition, ARE a restriction. In our fast-paced lives filled with immediate gratification, no one honestly likes the idea of someone or someTHING telling us that we can’t do/have something RIGHT NOW. That was our parents’ job, right? I know that’s why I put it off for so long.

Living on a budget has become my mission for 2011 and so far the experience has been fantastically liberating! Instead of looking at it as telling me what I CAN’T do with my money, I’ve learned that it’s a vital tool that helps me prioritize what I CAN do. I’ll get into the why’s and how’s in future posts. I’ll also get into nuts and bolts of the process in “Budget 101.”

The intent of Social NetWorth is purely motivational. I simply can’t keep all this good stuff to myself. I want to share the steps I’ve been taking in my personal finances, motivating other Canadian Millennials to take charge of their money and stand on their own two feet. I also want to hear your thoughts and strategies so we can all learn something together. I want us to motivate each other!

I’m looking forward to taking this journey with you!


P.S. Here some upcoming stuff you can look forward to from Social NetWorth:

Budget 101: the fundamentals I used to get my budget started

Money in the Media: news stories that are relevant to you, interpreted by me

Book Reviews: my impressions of personal finance literature (hopefully) on a monthly basis

Money Resources: Helpful links to services that are available specifically to Canadians

And more as the blog evolves!

One Response to “Reality Cheque: The Birth of My NEW Financial Life”
  1. callmewhatyouwantevencheap says:

    Congratulations on living on a budget!

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