I never realized how much importance I gave money until I realized how it affected my mood, my confidence, and my ability to make decisions. I didn’t even realize my financial independence affected my mood until very recently.
You see, I never managed my money. Not actively anyway. I never had to and was never encouraged. The moment I noticed my kids have more experience handling money than I do, I felt the need to understand more about it.
I started to think of all the things I have never done and decided: if I don’t do it now, I never will. Therein started my financial independence journey.
I am not a big spender. I get what I need and I am done. I was not into planning either. As long as the money was in the bank and I had enough to pay the bills I was ok. I had no idea to even create a budget or knew how much I needed to budget.
Ask me about traveling to international locations I can give you all the details, but ask me about my finances and I have no idea.
I decided to move out of state to a warmer climate. Silly me thought I could pack my stuff and move cross country. No idea that when renting an apartment, they will ask for pay stubs. I had been living in my own home for more than 25 years.
Here’s to re-living the life of my 20’s that I apparently missed because I was too busy having babies and raising them.
Good thing I had girlfriends who knew what I needed. They advised me on what I need -a.k.a. a job. They helped me figure out a budget and I was on my way. I found a job and negotiated my salary -very empowering since I had never done that before.
I packed my car up and moved from the Midwest to the Mid Atlantic. Welcome to balmy winters and coastal waters.
I was now the proud renter of an apartment where I had to pay rent, utilities, and internet. Feel so grown up and responsible. I also hired renter’s insurance and auto insurance.
I needed to get a parking permit to park on the street -I am very good at parallel parking, by the way. I changed my license plates and registration.
I figured out where to buy groceries and gas and the local farmers’ market for local and seasonal produce.
I had to figure out what basic furniture, kitchen utensils, lights, table, chair, desk, and bed to get. For someone who hates shopping, this is extremely overwhelming. Good thing I have offspring that enjoys this kind of thing.
Phew! Decisions, decisions, decisions. Not only are you making decisions, but you are also paying for them.
This may seem very mundane, however for someone who has never done this it was extremely liberating and empowering. My financial independence has been a huge adventure, which in my opinion is how life should be lived.
But the scariest part of it was I had to make decisions on my own. It may not seem a big deal to most people, but when you have been programmed to think a certain way, it takes a bit to learn to listen to yourself and trust your instincts.
At this point, what I have learned is that making decisions is a muscle: the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Next step: understanding my finances.
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