One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients about money is that there is never enough. No matter how much they make they can’t seem to figure out where it is going, which can be super frustrating! You’re working hard for that money. You put your heart and soul into your work, but you have nothing to show for it. Cue the trombone…Womp wooooomp. 

So I thought I’d write about a few reasons that may be happening for you.

 

You have no idea how much you are actually bringing home each month.

You may think you are bringing in the big bucks on your semi-monthly paycheck but a large portion of that is going towards taxes, insurance, retirement, etc. You don’t “bring home” your actual salary.

On the other hand, you have an irregular income, meaning that you don’t make the same amount all the time. This could be anyone from bartenders to entrepreneurs to commission-based salespeople. The truth is unless you are tracking it, you are just guessing at what you made. 

Here’s how you can change that: Start recording your take-home pay every time you take home money. I know as a bartender or server that could be as frequently as every night. Write it down. You could simply write it in a journal or on a calendar and add it up weekly or monthly. I suggest weekly to keep your goals in line. You could be a bit techier and record your take-home on an excel sheet or a Google Doc. Either way you choose, just get it out there so you have a clear view of what’s really going in your pocket.

You have no idea how much you are spending each month.

You probably pay your bills on time. When you pay them you see how much they are, but do you ever see how much they are all added up right next to each other so you have a snapshot of what’s due each month? If not, it’s probably time to do that. Decide what works best for you and get it down on paper. At the BEGINNING of the month. I get it. The electric bill varies but you could estimate it. Always estimate more rather than less you think it’ll be. That way you get a little surprise at the end of the month if there’s leftover money!

You have no idea what you are spending your money on. 

This kinda goes along with the previous point but more so on the mindlessly pulling out your card whenever you have to pay for something and forgetting that you made that purchase later. Maybe you’re impulse buying sh*t you don’t need. You’ve stopped at Target for some laundry detergent but end up leaving $150 later. What did you buy? Did you need all that? The next time, stop yourself before you get to the checkout line. Look in your cart. Are you going to use everything in the cart? Do you already have something similar at home? Would you be okay if you left without buying it?

*Disclaimer: I’m all for treating yourself and buying some fun stuff, but if it’s become a habit, it’s time to look at what you’re doing and see if it’s worth a change. Are you working on other financial goals? Which is more important? That fancy candle or saving for your trip out west?

You’re stopping for a fancy latte 5 times a week.

Ok, ok, it doesn’t have to be lattes, but sometimes it is. Those suckers can add up. Make your coffee at home. As a matter of fact, make most of your meals at home too. If you are eating out for lunch every day that’s gonna add up as well. You can probably make a sandwich just as delicious as the one you’re shelling out $6 for. 

You’re paying for a gym membership that you never use.

Yep, I went there. If you’re using your gym at least 4 times a week, please disregard. If you aren’t using the gym and you’re stuck in a contract, call them and try to negotiate a lower price or getting out of it all together. They may just work with you. If not, go check out the gym. You’re paying for it anyway! 

 

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. You could have other leaks but we’d have to meet and go over your finances to figure that out for sure. If you want a clear way to look at your money and keep it in check, I have an easy budget guide and template with all the formulas done for you so you don’t have to do the math. You can get it for free here -> https://nikiferguson.lpages.co/budget-ebook-opt-in/

 

The other day I was watching my new favorite Disney movie, Moana, for the fourth or fifth time, when I realized this movie is full of positive development that kids and adults alike could benefit from watching and emulating. This inspirational movie brings me to happy and sad tears as I watch her struggles and triumphs. The next time you watch it, try to see it through new eyes. Here are a few of the life lessons I found hiding in there…those clever Disney writers!

    1. It’s ok to be different from everyone else – At the beginning of the movie, it’s obvious how Moana and her grandmother are outsiders. They are daydreaming while others are falling in line. They know that there’s more out there outside of the safety of the reef. Their creative minds seek adventure.
    2. We try to please our parents by playing it safe – Our parents just want the best for us. They want to keep us safe from harm. They convince us to stay within the safety of their comfort zone for fear that we’ll get lost or hurt. Moana knows this so she does her best to be a good daughter and not follow the tug from the ocean. She loves her father and doesn’t want to disobey him.
    3. Change or die – It soon becomes obvious that the island is not providing for its inhabitants as it always has with the coconuts and fishing inside the reef. They can no longer do the things they have always done to stay alive. They must literally find a new food source or they will have nothing to eat.
    4. Be happy right where you are – There is a whole song dedicated to being happy “right where you are” in this flick. Of course, Moana is not singing this song because she is longing for adventure elsewhere. However, I do think there is wisdom here that can’t be ignored. Even if you are adventurous and dreaming of a bigger life, you must be happy with your present life or you’ll forever be chasing happiness that will remain elusive.
    5. Follow your intuition – Despite all the warnings from her father, the chief, and the other islanders, Moana feels a calling to the sea. She can’t explain it but she knows that that ocean is calling her and beckoning her beyond. 
    6. You may have to go by yourself – Most people won’t dance to the beat of their own drum. They will do as they are told. They will do what everyone else is doing because they just think that’s the way it is. When Moana sets out the restore the heart of Ta Fiti there is no one else to go with her. It’s scary and lonely, but she knows she’s the person for the job. *The chicken, Hey Hey, ends up on board, but he’s not much help. 
    7. You will fail – When pursuing your dreams there will be times when you will fall flat on your face just like Moana does when in the middle of the ocean. And, that’s ok. Falling on your face means that you are trying to do something that you have never done. Embrace that failure and learn from it so that you can do it better the next time.
    8. Don’t take things that aren’t yours to take – Maui caused this whole big mess when he stole the Heart of Ta Fiti. Without her heart, Te Fiti turned into a mean ol’ witch. Maui took the heart because he thought he was doing a good thing serving the humans, only it wasn’t his to take. Darkness took over the whole area.
    9. Say who you are and mean it – When Moana is going through one of those fall-on-your-face moments on her outrigger in the middle of the ocean she starts chanting her mantra “I am Moana of Motunui, aboard my boat, I will sail across the sea and restore the Heart of Te Fiti.” She knows who she is and her goal. She states them proudly over and over until she believes in herself again. We can do the same thing. Say your destiny aloud as you have already accomplished it. Show yourself that you have full confidence that you can, and will, do it.

And, in conclusion, here’s my favorite song from Moana, for your listening pleasure: