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Doing basic financial skills training...

Thank you @BuildingSelf24 that's very helpful.

I think I definitely need to keep a spending journal and write down all the weird array of emotions that go with it.

I rarely buy anything non-essential anyway... and I'm loathe to give up those few tiny "luxuries"... It feels like going back to the neglect and deprivation of childhood.

I think there's a ton of feelings bubbling around with every purchase/ non-purchase and I don't usually even face them openly... They sort of bubble in the background and I ignore them as best I can, I think... I think even just getting more conscious/ aware/ insight/ intentional would be a big improvement...

On a positive note: I didn't spend any money at all today.

I earned $ 20 doing some tutoring and got taken out to dinner as a thank you for some volunteer work I do
 
Okay, I think I've had a slight epiphany about this... I'm going to try and view money coming in and money going out sort of like food... Like calories going into my system and calories being used up for stuff...

Calories are adjustable and fluid and it's a biological thing that's in flux and it can be adapted to suit the given situation...

Somehow, that feels less threatening and scary to me...
 
Okay, so this seems helpful:


I've found budgeting so stressful and useless,, everytime I've tried it throughout my nearly 3 decades of adulthood.

As is pointed out in the video, not only is life too messy for a "forecasting" type budget... but I find life with PTSD is definitely too messy for that kind of budget... My life has never, ever, ever lined up with what I would set down on paper....

So maybe this new approach will work better for me...?
 
I think I've identified another aspect of money/ finances/ spending, for me...

Long ago, I made a choice to invest in healing from childhood trauma and I knew that would vastly decrease the money I had left over for other things.

I made a concious choice that I'd not be buying a house, buying new cars, buying new furniture, etc... I've always made do with 2nd hand stuff... Also, apart from travelling a bit when I was in my early 20s, I've never spent money on holidays, expensive clothers or other luxuries.

My luxuries are things like buying books or buying healthy food or having a dog. And my budget has always been super tight.

I've made sure to always live within those tight means and not to get into debt (except for a conscious choice about taking up a loan a few years ago to finance living on a farm).

Money for me has been a tool to "solve problems" or "fix things".

So for example, housework is a big trigger for me and my brain shuts down when I need to do it... One way I've found dealing with clothes that's much, much easier for me is not to hang them on a washing line to dry, but to put them straight on coathangers and hang those up to dry and then to take the (dried) clothes on the coathangers and hang them straight in the wardrobe. (Sounds complicated it, when I write it out, but it's so much easier for my brain... No need to fold it and for my brain to have to work out where to put what... Just shove it all on coathangers and transfer to wardrobe when dry...) So, buying new coathangers for the new rental place is a way of "fixing" that particular problem.

Using money in this way - identifying a problem, working out what would fix it and then buying that solution (whether it's a product or a service) makes me feel strong/ powerful/ in control/ grownup/ proactive/ self-efficacious.

Which is a feeling I love compared to the feeling of childhood of feeling powerless, helpless, unable to change things.

But just cos I love that feeling, I can't just go around replicating that and "fixing as many problems as possible" cos my budget doesn't allow for that.

So I need to try and get that feeling from other things. One of those things can be being in control of my finances, having a successful budget, having an emergency fund, having savings set aside for foreseeable costs, getting out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, making rational, safe, sensible, helpful financial choices, not having to lay awake at night, worrying what would happen if some big expense suddenly turned up, etc...

I think using the YNAB method, I might finally also be able to create a PTSD-compatible budget... so one that's truly tailor-made to MY needs... PTSD makes me crave having an emergency fund so that when I start to panic about things, I know I've got that emergency fund as a safety net. PTSD makes my income frustratingly small, but I need to accept and own that - it is what it is. Some comfort-spending on days when I'm suicidal is also a very real part of my monthly budget. It's not a bad thing. It's not something I need or want to get rid of. Buying something nice to eat or buying a book I've wanted for ages is a GOOD self-care thing, on a day where I'm very suicidal and struggling to stay safe and stay alive. It's just something that I need to budget for.... Those kinds of things make me feel like I could create a budget that truly suits me... which could be another source of feeling empowered and like I'm good at fixing things...
 
I started my training yesterday. Had a one-on-one with the moderator the day before and she’s super nice and supportive and very understanding. We had a good amount in common in terms of getting out lives back on track after divorce and also ages of our kids. She said most of the participants are recovering from trauma and that unhelpful narratives about money are frequently tied to childhood trauma.

The meeting last night was on zoom . It was about banking and budgeting. I am good on the banking part but the budgeting I have a ton of work to do to practice those skills. Kind of overwhelming.

I really liked the class and the other students are all pretty reap carful and have good ideas. It felt good to know that we are all trying to get better at financial literacy.

It’s weird how resistant I am to watching my money and estimating my spending. I was the same way when I had the dietitian. It took me a LONG time to develop the habit of meal planning and watching my food. I learned the skills, tried really hard, then quit for like six months, then slowly picked it back up.

Lots of spread sheets. I like your idea of a sort of budget journal @Ecdysis . Did you buy it online?

The guest speaker shared templates with us for spreadsheets.

Some takeaways I might try…
Choose three monthly expenses to pay in cash. Get envelopes and try it. Money is different when you feel it and watch it.

Put savings in the budget and pay yourself first before paying anything else.

I feel daunted by the estimating, but I remember doing my first meal plan felt really uncomfortable but I did it anyway.

That’s all for now.

Oh one more thing, some people said the app Rocket Money is good. I haven’t checked it out yet. It finds all your subscriptions I guess? So you can cancel ones you may have forgotten about?
 
Okay, so this seems helpful:


I've found budgeting so stressful and useless,, everytime I've tried it throughout my nearly 3 decades of adulthood.

As is pointed out in the video, not only is life too messy for a "forecasting" type budget... but I find life with PTSD is definitely too messy for that kind of budget... My life has never, ever, ever lined up with what I would set down on paper....

So maybe this new approach will work better for me...?
I always have an OSF (oh shit! fund) as part of my budget. To account for forgotten birthdays, pipes busting, appliances failing, a tooth breaking… the things that are NOT part of our projected monthly expenditures, but? Always seem to show up… at the worst point possible. At the end of the month anything in the OSF not spent rolls into short term savings (the oh F.U.C.K. fund), and at the end of the year half of short term savings rolls into various accounts. Long term, education, travel, medical, sports, etc.

It’s less about predicting the unpredictable, than making space for it.

Yep. This shit happens. So there’s money put aside for it.

Other people don’t need the added delineation. I do. Knowing that snowboarding costs me an average of $600 per year? Means that throwing $50 a month into my sports account covers it. Ditto other predictable expenses. By spreading them out, It’s never a painful BITE, but slow attrition.

Some takeaways I might try…
Choose three monthly expenses to pay in cash. Get envelopes and try it. Money is different when you feel it and watch it.
i pay everything in cash… but I started with “just” my household expenses in cash (groceries, etc.)
 
Great ideas @Friday ! Thanks—and love the labels! Typing that into my spread sheet will make it more fun and relatable.

Am still in the “good-for-me-I’m-*thinking*-about-a-spreadsheet” phase.
LMFAO… I accidentally changed the way almost an entire legal firm managed their banking, during my divorce. As “nicknames” for accounts was relatively new. So OSF (oh shit fund, monthly rollover) & OFF (oh f*ck fund, annual rollover) was a blink-blink-really-oh! new thing for them. It’s pretty standard, now.

ALL thanks to my accountants, who met me where I was at, and paid my bills for me and moved the rest to where I directed to them. Rather than a me-thing. Simply what I’ve duplicated in their absence.
 
So, I've found a free, basic app with which to track my spending with. Mainly just using it as a mindfulness tool to make any spending more "conscious" and less automatic.

I guess, over time, spending "patterns" will build up and I can analyse those with the coach.

I'm trying to view it (finances) kind out like a diet (calories in/ calories out) cos food/ diets are one area that ist *not* trauma-related or stressful for me. So viewing "healthy spending" akin to healthy eating gives me a good inner "sense" of what I'm aiming for.

And just like the occasional overindulgence of ice-cream/ chocolate/ chips/ etc is not a problem, making it a regular habit is.

This analogy gets me away from black or white thinking about spending being "bad" or "allowed" but turns it into something more fluid/ organic/ adaptable.

Lots of steps still to go on this journey, undoubtedly including some uncomfortable ones, but this feels like one step taken well.
 
Hi @Rose White I'm using a non-English, European one... I've just had a look and a similar English one seems to be "MyMoney - Track Expense & Budget" (Google Play Store for Android). Alternatively, just google it, I guess... I wanted to use Monefy, but unfortunately that one's not free... nor is the YNAB App... When you're seriously trying to save and budget, spending money on a budgeting app seems too ironic... (I realise it could be a justifiable investment... but I'm opting for a free app instead). YNAB offers lots of great free stuff on their Youtube Channel and blog posts tho...

Hope you enjoy your class tomorrow 😊

I'm starting to feel less triggered and less shame associated with this topic... hope you find the same...

If there's interesting stuff in your class tomorrow, feel free to share - I'm very curious! 😁
 
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