Before I got married, I'd say my role in relationships could be described as always being the one to take and never being attuned to give. It must have been draining for the other person. I realize now that this kind of attitude to relationships seems to have shown up in another neglected area of my life: money.
I didn't care about money. I never gave it that much thought. It was around when I needed it. I didn't make any attempts to nurture it. During high school I started to understand its necessity but couldn't get it to work to my advantage. I had terrible planning skills and was impulsive as most high school kids are. My brain didn't have the capacity to look beyond what was happening right NOW, NOW, NOW. I spent my allowance on things like make-up and clothes. The same still holds true, except now in my 30's it doesn't fly as easily as when I was 16. I'm expected to make better, more adult, choices. I bought stuff I didn't need. Here, during my most formative years, was when my perception of money became skewed.
At my weakest point, I lived paycheque to paycheque without the smallest inclination to save. It was all about spending. University was a reality check into money as a necessity and the importance of controlling it. Of which I did not do. I lived with pennies in my account and spent it on all the wrong things. I went on trips to Value Village and my diet consisted of nuts, rice crackers, and coffee.
I graduated, moved back home and continued doing what I did best. Not saving. They say that money is root of many marital problems. I could say the same about the relationship between parent and child, at least in my case. My parents and I did not see eye-to-eye when it came to money. My dad had a career as a tax lawyer - you get the idea. They saw my spending habits with no plan in sight. It caused a rift between us. Eventually I moved out after a few blow ups. As much as I was independent in the small sense of the word, my parents were still very aware of my terrible money management. We weren't living in the same house but the same arguments kept coming up. The issues between us went deeper than just money but much of it erupted when my bank account was involved.
Being truthful, it has only since I got married that my relationship with finances has changed.
So what happened? I was finally accountable for how I was managing my money. We had to be open about it. We had to talk about it. Our marriage wouldn't make it if we were living merely by paycheque. I'm still adjusting to being more frugal, saving, and making wise choices. As evidenced by my last post, I've had hiccups and haven't gotten it all together yet. I'm not exactly where I want to be, but I see it on the horizon.
Similar to making a relationship work, the same holds true for money. It takes desire, willingness to fail, and an interest to make it work. Money and I have had our ups and downs, but I'm committed to making it work. I'm in it for the long-haul, for better or worse.
Photo Credit: Sorta