October 20, 2016
Today’s Money Wellness Thought comes from a very special guest writer. Stacey is a long-time client of VitalFinancials and has offered to share her personal experience.
Three gold boxes, all different sizes, sit neatly stacked on the bookshelf by my bed. Every day after work, toting a small stack of cash tips from my job at a local brunch spot, I take out the boxes and spread their contents on the floor around me.
Inside are my “Funds,” separated by small sheets of white paper, each paper-clipped to a stack of cash. There’s a fund for Tithe, one for Travel, one for my pup, Shiva, and one for Plugger (my aptly named pickup truck). There are also funds for Groceries, Gas, and Vitals (for everyday essentials like body care products). And of course a Flex Fund, for those purchases that don’t fall neatly into any of the other categories.
Once I’ve tallied up my tips, I pull out the pencil and pad of paper that lives in the largest box and enter the numbers into my cash register. Then I divvy up the cash to the various places it needs to reach. It’s a fully self-created process, individual to me, and rooted in my own personal money realities.
My paychecks cover my monthly fixed expenses (rent, utilities, etc.), loan repayment and savings, and my cash management system gives me the satisfaction of knowing that my day-to-day wants and needs are covered. All of it feels powerful because it allows me to experience my money in my hands. I feel responsible for its creation, and for its use. And, when it comes to money, feeling structured, prepared and empowered is a pretty new experience.
In 2014, I showed up to my first meeting with Natalie lugging a monstrous blue binder containing the years of financial baggage I’d been too overwhelmed and clueless to deal with. Letters from creditors about accounts in default. Notifications of missed student loan payments. Bills, balances and court judgments. I had no idea where to start cleaning up the mess, I just knew I couldn’t keep moving through life with my head in the sand. It was time to do something different.
That was just over two years ago. Since then, my journey toward financial wellness has led me from that place of scattered but determined uncertainty, to a place of calm confidence around my money’s present, and future. It’s a whole new way of Being with my money: confident, secure, and authentic.
When I first lopped that binder onto the table Natalie and I shared during our initial consultation, I was looking for answers. I believed I had no idea what I was doing. I believed that transforming my financial life came from deferring to the wisdom and expertise of certified Money Masters. “Here’s the mess I made. Show me, oh Wise One, how to clean it up.”
But. What I’ve discovered during my time with Natalie is the answers aren’t “out there” at all. It’s me who has had the tools and wisdom all along. With that wisdom, I’m now able to channel what I do know—like what I want, what I love, and what I’m good at—into creating a life that honors who I am and what I’m here for. And that is a spectacular place to stand.
Read more from Stacey at her blog, The Sound of Heartstrings.