the tightwad ditch

calculating kids

here’s one thing i often forget about money management: the whole point of financial freedom is to be free.

i’m going to use a common youth group analogy to help explain this one.

every path has two ditches, right? so the path of financial freedom is the same.

one ditch is the party ditch. the one you fall into while you spend more money than you have on things you don’t even need. that’s the ditch that people like me avoid at all costs. what can i say, i’ve never been a partier.

but the other ditch traps you in the same way that all ditches do, it just feels a little more right as you’re falling in. if you fall into this ditch, you may not have debt. you may have a large savings account. you may, by all evidence, be financial “free.”

i fall into the latter ditch. and speaking directly from the tightwad ditch [as i affectionately call it] it’s still quite ditchy.

there are days when i don’t feel free at all. i feel bogged down by trying to figure out how every last penny can contribute to our savings account. i feel tired of compulsively checking my bank account and updating my check register and wondering why nothing has changed in the last hour. i get so easily obsessed with our finances that our budget sheet is almost constantly up on my computer. it’s a dark, damp ditch that isn’t the least bit encouraging or freeing.

and then i remember what i always forget. i remember that it’s pointless to try. so. hard. at this whole staying out of debt thing and this being wise with money thing if i’m just going to fall into the tightwad ditch. if i’m constantly stressed or obsessed with the bottom line, that isn’t freedom.

i think there are physical reasons to be stressed about money, like not having enough to pay your bills each month. but i’ve never experienced that, so i’m pretty sure the cause for my stress is completely mental. and therefore, i’m completely mental. i will drive myself crazy if i don’t lighten up on myself.

jeez, this sure turned into a rant to myself, so i guess i’ll just go with it:

note to self: don’t be such a tightwad.

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