Safety net... "a safeguard against possible hardship or adversity."
This year I cut up my credit card, removed it from my internet banking and made the call to the bank to say - cancel the card I no longer want it! It was easier than I thought... the pain is what has followed with the adjustment of 'living within my means'!
So, 2018 I decided was my year! A year to not repeat habits of old, learned behaviors, keeping up appearances, buy now and pay later, the list goes on... My financial advisor has heard all of my justifications, excuses, seen my gains and losses, and she has worked with me to ensure I look at my finances as a way to set myself up for the future not just for today. I won't lie, it is a big learning curve to adjust to life without the 'safety net' as we so often know a credit card as.
Having done this is both freeing and stressful, questions such as "how will I get on if something suddenly happens" or "what if I need to buy new shoes" (walking 80 odd km a week this is quite a frequent activity...) or just "what if ...", there are so many words to fill in and justify the blanks.
My biggest over the last few years was 'But Chris I really need the card for work-related expenses", which was true, but I also couldn't be trusted with only using it for work, breaking that cycle of 'buy now and worry about it later' is a tough addiction to break. I can now also reflect that by being in this habit I was afraid of my money, it had a massive mental control over me - to the point that I wouldn't want to look at what my bank balances were telling me.
All of these excuses I could easily justify to myself and keep myself in that cycle, even though I knew that I had a great financial plan in place and I was perfectly fine without having a credit card - of which I am - and along with that I am reprogramming my brain with budgeting and living within my means, often this means making deals with myself and ensuring I am spending my money on what is important - health and the future!
On reflection, I realise that growing up schools never taught anything to do with financial literacy and we would learn from those around us - the good and the bad, that along with our personality type when it comes to finances plays a massive part in how we are programmed to view money - I remember my brothers always being great savers and I was always a great spender...
Now with the evolution of technology, there are awesome companies like Spriggy and Banqer where teaching children how to manage money is their sole purpose and these can be used at home or in schools, it would be great to see the uptake increase and for the generations growing up now to be growing up with a great understanding of what money is, how we get it and how we can make it work for us.
Having gone through this cycle, recognising the pattern and now working on why the pattern occurs is keeping me focused on the goal in front of me - Kokoda and what gear I need to complete, training and a year of only buying what needs to be replaced.
So, with 2017 being the year of zero alcohol and 2018 the year of 'deleting the credit card' I wonder what 2019 will be...