Why Mistakes are One of the Tools in my 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.

(It was a GREAT conference, by the way.  ::thumbs up::  Check out the XO conference speaker, Jimmy Evans, and his “Three Levels of Communication” in marriage and money.)


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.




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.)

2.  Savings Goals –  “Written goals are like mile markers on a highway.” – Michael Hyatt.  Why are Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps to Financial Peace so effective?  They offer a step by step method of arriving at your destination.

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.


In the comments, tell me one financial mistake from your past that has helped you make better decisions today?

Share and Enjoy !

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