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Old 08-28-2010, 01:40 PM   #41
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Joshua, the analogy is the overweight person who tries to diet, eats a slice of cake, feels guilty, and eats the whole cake because "Oh what the h3ll! My diet is ruined anyway!"
Yeah, you're exactly right. And no, I haven't hit the "Richest Man in Babylon" yet.

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As for the people at work, why do you think they care about your finances?
Well, most of them don't actually care, but I am in the Army, so our supervisors like to dig into every aspect of our lives to make sure there are no instabilities that will prevent us from being "mission ready." If someone has trouble with finances, and word leaks out, it can lead to a lot of harrassment, embarassment, and put-downs from insensitive superiors who are more worried about how having a soldier with "issues" is going to make *them* look rather than being concerned about the trouble that person is actually going through.

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Not liking your career is a whole different issue
Well, not that much of a different issue, actually! For the record, I find it rather satisfying, but... I work because it is the best way I have available right now to ensure the financial well being of my family. If that need is not being met by my efforts, then I wind up asking myself why I bother. If I am working constantly, but I still can't keep us above water because of bad habits, then why bother working at all? (I don't mean this literally, but follow the gist of it...)

See what I mean? It's an insidious line of thought. If the best effort I can give isn't good enough to provide for our needs, then I might as well give no effort and go live under a bridge somewhere. It doesn't matter how much I like my job or how profitable it is in raw dollar terms. It will still be a waste of time if it doesn't let me do what I need to do.

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Everything you've described is normal, and shame doesn't help. Be as honest with yourself as you are being with the forum, get back on the financial horse, and keep riding.
Yeah, I am trying to be very honest with myself about this whole thing. I have spent too long blaming it on other people. It is not completely my fault, mind you, but at the very least, I passively allowed it to happen instead of going with what my gut knew was right. What's that line? All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing?

Josh
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:19 PM   #42
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About all I've noticed so far is that when we make a budget, it lasts a few days, and then we're "surprised" by something we didn't count on, and the plan goes out the window. Or, if we're tracking expenses, one or the other of us gives it up as a bad job because it's somehow not a "normal" month, so it doesn't count... or we just get so depressed at what we've already spent that we can't stand to keep notes anymore. Every time I think I know, to the penny, what we're going to spend in the next few weeks, something crazy happens. It's like I'm not allowed to succeed.Josh
I know what you mean. Sometimes it's a gift expense or a surprise repair or a medical expense or some other thing that you don't have in the plan for the month.

Rather than feeling like we blew it or had a bad month or just can't control or predict some things, we made a spot in the budget for OTHER and budget $300 a month. This covers the majority of stuff that happens in life that isn't considered one of the regular budgeted categories.

Some months $300 covers it all, sometimes we go over. But at least we acknowledge that these things are a normal part of living, just not part of a named monthly category.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:51 PM   #43
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You are correct - I apologize. I forgot (from your earlier post) that you are in the military, and therefore live in a fishbowl much of the time. A decent career, though, as long as no one is shooting at you. Keep the faith.

Amethyst

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Well, most of them don't actually care, but I am in the Army, so our supervisors like to dig into every aspect of our lives to make sure there are no instabilities that will prevent us from being "mission ready."
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:39 AM   #44
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A decent career, though, as long as no one is shooting at you. Keep the faith.
Yeah, not bad, really. And as for the other part... heh... sometimes an honest thing like watching for ambushes seems like less stress than walking into the office.

Josh
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:17 PM   #45
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Yeah, not bad, really. And as for the other part... heh... sometimes an honest thing like watching for ambushes seems like less stress than walking into the office.
Plus you get to shoot back at ambushes...
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:45 PM   #46
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Plus you get to shoot back at ambushes...


I keep a "major expense" budget, and I swear I'm going to start tracking smaller stuff, any day now...

I figure that I'm saving a big hunk, the bills are all paid, so the rest is somewhat discretionary. I got rid of the landline and associated long distance package, since I have a mobile with free LD. Got rid of the alarm system monitoring. I pack my lunch, and only eat out once or twice a week, mostly on the weekends. The alcohol budget is manageable...

Groceries on a weekly basis are maybe $30, plus the occasional Costco run for resupply, at $100-200, which refills the freezer, and restocks coffee, paper goods, etc.

As I've gotten more decrepit, I go to the doc more often, so I'd need to track that more closely than I have been, as that may be a major expense in later life.
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:21 PM   #47
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Yeah, not bad, really. And as for the other part... heh... sometimes an honest thing like watching for ambushes seems like less stress than walking into the office.

Josh
Josh, thanks for serving!!!
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:50 PM   #48
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For me, valuing more money in the bank a lot more than buying stuff makes it very easy to spend less than I earn without a budget. That is true even when earning only a little bit. Highly doubt that making a budget outside of my own head would make personal finances any better

For others who value buying stuff more than having savings and investments don't see how budgeting would help. They've had their entire life to figure out how to maximize happiness from shopping and buying stuff. How could an hour or a day writing something down on paper be better than decades worth of experience?

That said, budgets should be seen as irrational. Though virtually impossible to argue that people are never irrational. . .
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:46 AM   #49
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Plus you get to shoot back at ambushes...
There is that...

Josh
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:00 AM   #50
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They've had their entire life to figure out how to maximize happiness from shopping and buying stuff.
That's a solid point, but I would say that people can change.

Sometimes, it's not so much what they value as the habits they were taught. They probably know that saving is good and overspending is bad, but how do they put that into practice? If you go your whole life seeing people do things an ineffective way, and you start doing it that way because it's the way your parents did it, and the way your friends do it, that doesn't necessarily mean you don't *want* to be more effective. It might just mean that you don't know what else to do. If all you've seen is the wrong way to do something, sometimes you don't even know it's wrong until you are whacked upside the head with the right way to do it.

I think that's what the self-help books, worksheets, classes, journals, and everything else are for. They're trying to find that one approach that will open someone's eyes and make him realize, "Hey! Maybe I don't have to do it this way!" and then (the hardest part) help him to keep that clear vision during the hard part of establishing new habits.

Now, if after realizing fully just how ineffectively you've been pursuing a goal (savings, investment, whatever), you persist in doing it the wrong way out of fear, laziness, wishful thinking, or just stubborn habit, then there's not much anyone can do for you.

Josh
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