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Nickel and Dime Yourself to Life, Part 1

I have an embarrassing confession. It has taken me nearly eight months to write this. I’ve written and rewritten this column--heck, this sentence--more times than I care to admit. My original plan was to write a blog-like series in which I presented money management tips that I would actually follow myself, to be kicked off with some sage advice about making financial New Year’s Resolutions. Yeah, I know. Missed the boat on that one. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

A couple of weeks ago I thought I had finally produced a piece ready to submit for publication--until my “editor” (aka, my daughter, an English major and accomplished writer) got ahold of it. After some beating around the bush to avoid any hurt feelings she admitted to me that she hated what I had written because, as she put it, “You’re trying too hard. It’s not real.”

She was right. I was trying too hard. Trying to impress you. Because I’m not what you probably expect to find here in the "Your Money" advice/articles section at Finance Globe. I’m not exactly a financial whiz. To be perfectly honest, budgeting makes my head hurt, so telling you what to do with your money when I haven’t always been so great with mine felt intimidating, not to mention hypocritical. And that’s why it’s taken so long to crank this out. I’ve been so worried about saying just the right things that I haven’t managed to say anything at all. That, and trying to get full cooperation from my husband has gummed up the works a bit, but that is a topic for another post.

By now it should be clear that if you came here looking for a conventional article with conventional tips from a conventionally trained financial expert you clicked the wrong link.

So I don’t have a Wharton School MBA, but what I do have to offer is real advice from real experience. I’m a woman who has seen the ins and outs of money trouble and this is my foot hitting the ground--because I’ve had more than enough of this circus act called “getting by.” I don’t want to just “get by,” hanging on by the skin of my teeth every other week, wondering how on earth I am going to pay my bills with a budget stretched tighter than Honey Boo-boo’s momma’s pants. I want to live in control of my money, not let it go by nickeling and diming myself to death, wondering what happened when it’s gone. I want to make small, simple changes in my spending habits that add up to big savings. In other words, I want to nickel and dime myself to life.

Aaannd... here we are. You, the determined, diligent audience; I, the tardy, harried resolution-maker. August is looming and it’s blistering hot outside rather than snowy and the New Year ball dropped well over six months ago, but who says we’re only allowed to begin positive life changes on January 1st According to, only 8% of New Year’s resolution makers actually achieve their goals. Given those odds, it appears January 1st may not be the best time for resolving to do anything. Instead of making empty promises to do something different or better just because tradition and a brand new calendar say we should, why not wait until a time when we're truly ready and able to make a commitment to change? Why not establish our own definition of “new year”? Businesses and government entities do it (they call it a fiscal year), so why can’t we? Why not now? Captain Obvious picked on the wrong girl.

Tune in next week for Part 2, in which I officially kick off the first day of my new fiscal year with a SMART resolution. In the meantime, I want to hear from you. What financial bad habits do you want to shed? What could you do to kick off a new fiscal year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Monday, 13 July 2020

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