Confession: I Let Money Control My Life

Confession: I Let Money Control My LifeI’ve talked about not letting money control your life before, and I recently came across the topic again.

The other day someone told me it’s impossible for a personal finance blogger to not worry about money. They were saying I should be telling everyone that being controlled by money is actually a good thing.

I have to disagree though.

I don’t think that in order to be in charge of your financial well-being that you have to bow down to money and let it completely control your life.

Even though I say that though, I still let money control my life a little bit.

I’m not as bad as I used to be, but I still let money control my life more than I should.

Here are some of the things I constantly think about: 

  • I worry about bad business months. Yes, I know I publish my monthly income reports and I am doing well, but as a freelancer I still have the occasional week or two almost every month where everything seems completely dead. Also, sometimes I think about how life is almost TOO good to be true, and I wonder when it will all come falling down on me. I know, I am such a Debbie Downer!
  • My emergency fund is too large. Yes, that IS possible. Our emergency fund is around a full year of expenses right now. I am weird and I just don’t feel comfortable with it being any smaller. This means that I’m not investing this money more aggressively even though I am young. I am losing out on money and I don’t know if this is something I can ever change.
  • Home repairs. I sometimes act like my home is going to collapse. I don’t know why I’m like this. We’ve never really had anything major happen with our home, but whenever the smallest thing happens, I tend to worry that it’s going to cost $10,000 to fix. In reality, there would have to be something significantly broken in order for it to cost that amount!
  • I sometimes compare myself to others. When I say “compare,” I’m talking about comparing how I am financially doing to how others are doing. I read a lot of personal finance blogs and it just seems like all of these people are professional savers, whereas I’m just nowhere near as good as they are.

 

Here are some of the things to think about if money is controlling your life.

 

Money is just money.

This is something I always have to tell myself when I start having a money control freak out. Money is JUST money, and nothing else. Money doesn’t lead to happiness. Sure, it can make life easier sometimes, but life isn’t all about it.

Life will go on and freaking out about money doesn’t change the situation you are in. You need to actively change your life.

For me, I would always calculate our budget. I’m talking like every single day. I would spend hours upon hours trying to figure out our budget, financial goals and more. And, if I wasn’t on track it would upset me.

However, living with regret and being upset doesn’t change your situation!

If you want to see change, you need to actually do something.

 

I need to stop comparing myself.

I’m not talking about comparing myself in a keeping up with the joneses way. I’m talking about comparing myself to others who may be doing better financially.

For example, I came across an article recently that stated that the average person my age should have like $200,000 saved for retirement already. I thought that amount was absolutely insane, and I felt upset that I’m not at that level. Then, I started reading the comments and others who were even younger than me were saying that $200K seemed low.

HA, who are these people?

I then all of a sudden wanted to start saving even more. Yes, I make a decent income, but all of that is before taxes (and taxes take out a significant chunk). For me to have been at the level that these people were talking about, I would have had to take some drastic measures by now.

 

Does money dominate your life? In what ways? Are you trying to change that?

 

Image via Flickr by TaxCredits.net

Six Questions To Know More About You

Six Questions To Know More About YouHello everyone! I hope everyone is having a great week. I recently realized that I haven’t done a Question and Answer post with all of you in a long time.

As always, I love hearing more about all of you.

Answer the questions below (skip any if you would like) and lets all get to know each other a little bit better.

1. What’s your name, and what do you do for a living?

Well, I’ll start off with an easy question. In case you didn’t know, my name is Michelle. For some reason, people don’t think that’s my real name, but it is! Even though I started off “anonymously” blogging, I always used my real name.

I am currently a full-time freelancer.

I have been freelancing for a few years now, but I just recently switched to only freelancing in October of 2013 when I left my day job to pursue this full-time. I provide a wide range of services. These include: managing my own websites (I have several); managing websites for others; staff writing; social media management; and more.

2. Do you want to follow your passion? If so, what is your passion?

This is my passion. I really enjoy what I do and I’m still happy that I left my day job to do this full-time. I don’t ever see myself going back and working for someone else again! :)

Read Pursuing What I Love or What Brings in the (Stable) Money if you are interested in hearing more about this topic.

3. How much debt do you have?

My student loans are completely paid off (thanks to side hustling), but we do still have a mortgage.

We are not trying to pay it off quickly though because we do plan on buying a home within the next 2 years. I believe our mortgage right now sits at around $112,000. We live in St. Louis where housing is very cheap.

4. Where do you want to live? Do you live in your dream location?

Right now, we live in St. Louis. Around one year ago, we were looking to sell our current house and buy a second one in the St. Louis area, but we decided to stop.

While we do love the St. Louis area, we have been thinking a lot about moving to a different state.

At first, we were thinking about moving to Florida (Florida is still at the top of our list), but now we are really interested in Colorado. We went on a 2 week road trip and saw a lot of Colorado, and it made us really interested in moving to the state. There are just so many amazing outdoorsy things to do there and the weather is wonderful.

What’s your favorite town in Colorado? If any of you live there, where would you recommend?

We want a place with a nice view, a place that is safe, good schools in the area (we do plan on having children in the future), and somewhat nice weather. We’d prefer it to not be 30 or 40 degrees in the summer time! :)

5. What are your summer vacation plans?

We have done a good amount of traveling so far this summer. We went to Colorado for two weeks in June, and we just got back from an 8 day cruise to the Caribbean in July.

Wes is going on a week long hike with a friend on the Colorado Trail (they’re not doing the whole trail as it’s around 500 miles), but they do plan on doing as much of it as they can.

Then, we are going to Belize to meet with a potential client of mine in the next few weeks.

Lastly, we have FinCon which is in the middle of September in New Orleans. Wes is coming with me because he is in the beginning stages of creating his own website. I am excited to share his blogging journey with all of you and I can’t wait to share his website.

I’m loving all of the traveling that we have on our calendar for the next few months. We will be quite active. However, I am a homebody and I usually get home sick haha!

6. Would you rather have a part-time job or a side hustle?

The other day I published an article about why I started a side hustle over a part-time job. Different people have their own preferences, but for me, I am happy that I started a side hustle.

My side hustle eventually led to me freelancing online full-time, and I am now having the best time of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Read my article on my other blog Why I’d Rather Have A Side Hustle Than A Part-Time Job.

Answer away!

Update: Nine Months of Being Self-Employed

Update- Nine Months of Being Self-EmployedMy last day at my day job was in the beginning of October of 2013.

That means it’s been around 9 months since I left my day job to pursue full-time freelancing.

It feels like it’s been much longer than nine months though. Time is flying by, but it also feels like it’s been forever since I drove to work and sat in my office unhappily for nine hours each day.

I still remember when I first told my employer that I was leaving. I was dreading the day. I was extremely nervous about what my bosses would say (in my head I was a complete wreck), and I kept saying to myself “Six months from now all of this will be long forgotten.”

Now, it’s been nine months and I haven’t looked back once. I still have no regrets and I am EXTREMELY happy with the decision I made.

Self-employment is still going very well. I am enjoying each and every single day. I enjoy waking up, working, having a flexible schedule, and everything else that has been going on.

Below is my update after being self-employed for nine months.

 

Not having a commute is still wonderful.

I don’t see this ever changing. Yes, I like car rides but I don’t like them when the end goal is to take me to a boring and stressful job.

Being able to just wake up and get straight to work is a great thing. Yes, this usually means that I stay in my pajamas for a good portion of the morning (hmmm maybe into the afternoons), but it’s nice to be able to complete so much work in the early mornings.

 

I’m still getting in more “socialization” even though I work from home.

When I decided to make the switch to working from home, many people seemed worried that I would be bored and lonely.

The truth has actually been the exact opposite.

When I had my day job, there was no talking whatsoever. It was extremely boring and not having a single office friend (I worked independently in a field filled with men who were 45 and older) got old really quick.

Now, I can see my friends and family during the day when they are off from work (I have too many nurse friends). I also talk to other bloggers and readers pretty much all day long as well.

 

The thought of unstable income.

The unstable income is something that still gets me every now and then. There are weeks where I will make hardly no money, and, of course, times like those can make a person nervous.

As a freelancer, I’m sure these slow weeks make most nervous because it almost feels like everything has dropped off the face of the earth.

 

Traveling and being location independent.

One big positive of self-employment for me is the fact that all I need in order to work is a laptop and an internet connection. This means that I can pretty much work from wherever I want.

I have been traveling a lot so far this summer (one week in Vegas, 2 weeks in Colorado, one week in the Caribbean), and I worked nearly the whole time as well. I just scheduled as much as I could ahead of time, and then I brought my laptop to complete tasks along the way as well.

I would like to become more location independent then this though. We have been thinking about taking a long hiking/camping trip where we would drop off our car someplace and hike on some amazing trail that is thousands of miles long (okay, maybe just hundreds of miles to start off with).

I’m just not sure how that would work though as I, of course, still need to work.

Any ideas? Or is this completely hopeless? Haha a girl can dream right?

 

I still enjoy freelancing.

When I publicly announced that I was making the switch, I had many people tell me that I would grow to hate freelancing. That has not been the case at all.

I still love freelancing, and I enjoy it more and more every day. It’s great to actually be my own boss. I love how everything I do affects my business and that I am actually growing a business of my own.

 

What else do you want to know about my nine months of being self-employed?

How is self-employment treating you?