Why Mistakes are One of the Tools in my Financial Toolbox

5 Must-Haves in our Financial Toolbox

I blew it this month. We didn’t budget for Valentine’s Day. Yep. I said it.

We planned a night in anyway, but at the last minute signed up for a Valentine’s Day marriage conference at our church. Plus a special dinner beforehand. Plus the babysitter – now we’re talking $85 we didn’t budget.

Back to not budgeting…

Our money was there, but it had a different name on it. We didn’t follow the original plan. If we were to keep that up, eventually an overdraft would be inevitable.

Mistakes happen. I like for them to be few and far between, but they do happen. That’s why I’ve decided to include them in our financial toolbox.

image of tools including hammer, screwdriver, nails etc. Text reads 5 Must-Haves in our Financial Toolbox

5 Must-Haves in our Financial Toolbox

Our financial toolbox is what we do and the things we have learned to get control of our finances. As you learn more it’s like adding tools to your toolbox. Here are 5 must-haves.

1.  Monthly Budget

A written budget is your steering wheel, giving you the power to navigate to your destination. Your hands can’t leave the steering wheel or you won’t make it. I drove my financial steering wheel mostly “hands-free” until I was 24.  I hope you have more to show for those years than I do.

Creating and sticking to a budget puts you in control of your finances. Telling your money where it’s going before it hits your account makes it super easy to stick to it. The easier it is to stick to the more likely you are to do it.

2.  Savings Goals 

“Written goals are like mile markers on a highway.” – Michael Hyatt. You need a step-by-step guide to get to where you want to be if you want to achieve your financial goals.

Try driving from California to Maine without mile markers.

The first time my husband and I had $1000 saved up in our emergency fund, we felt empowered by our accomplishment. I felt secure. Capable. So many good things.

When we saved up and paid $22,000 to get out of debt over the next 2 years, we felt like rock stars.

Goals are powerful.

3.  Cash Envelopes

We use cash for food, clothing, entertainment, gifts and spending money. It keeps our debit cards from getting “swipe happy”.  See why using cash vs. credit is so beneficial here.

4.  Mistakes 

Don’t believe me that “mistakes” should be in your financial toolbox? I have 2 reasons why they’re in mine:

 Mistakes happen. They’re coming. It’s our choice what to do when they do. Act shocked and cast blame? Or learn from them together?

– Mistakes are a measure. Years ago, I lived paycheck to paycheck. Overspending could have crippled me. However, when my husband and I forgot to budget V-Day this year, we had money to back it up. Measuring our progress from then til now inspires me to do even better.

We measure our progress from our mistakes.

5.  Forgiveness

Always. Always. Always. You cannot carry #4 in your financial toolbox without #5. Dare I say, #5 is the TOOLBOX itself.

Tell me one financial mistake from your past that has helped you make better decisions today?

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