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21 May 2014

Change Yourself – Change Your Budget

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by Jesse Mecham

Hey YNABers! Annie here.

A couple of years ago I was dealing with some health issues that kept me from doing my own yard work (we have an extensively landscaped yard which can get annoying). While I was bummed about the health issues, I was kind of a relieved that we could just pay to have it done. I didn’t really think that I could keep it up to par even if I was in good health. It scared me.

Well, now that I’m in better health, I had to look at that monster on the budget and decide how I was going to kill it. So I decided that I’d invest the $220+ a month that we were spending on landscaping and basically start from scratch with the lawn to make it less labor intensive and more drought tolerant. It was a pretty big task, but it would all be worth it in the end.

So I was at the park after school the other day chatting with another mom about these plans. Mind you, I know nothing of this landscaping venture. Nothing. At all. I’ve killed aloe vera, people. Aloe, flipping, vera. This was a leap of faith.

What I am doing, however, is trading skills with a very talented friend of mine. For her I’ve done a couple of simple wood-working projects, and in return she’s gracing my garden with her vast knowledge of all things Texas-native.

Back to the park, this sweet friend of mine seemed a bit overwhelmed at all of this. Her face contorted when I spoke of digging up shrubs, building a rock wall, and planting things. “Oh gosh, I know nothing about keeping plants alive. I’m just not a yard person.”

“Girl, I’m not a yard person either!” I reminded her of the aloe vera that I killed.

And I reminded her of my three secret weapons:

  1. my friend with whom I bartered
  2. the internet and books 
  3. hard work

It’s true – I’ve not historically been a “yard person”, and to be honest, I’m a little worried that I’m going to wake up in a week and everything will be dead. But I don’t think I’m beyond learning a skill that hundreds of generations before me have mastered. If so many other people can do it, then I can probably learn, too, if I put the effort into it. 

I think most of us are intimidated by things that we are totally capable of learning. 

We are so incredibly blessed to live in the age of the internet! We can learn just about anything that we want or need to. What stops us, however, are those expensive, little, defeatist phrases that we allow to escape our mouths and cement into our subconscious.

We really don’t give ourselves enough credit. We encourage our kids to push themselves and try new things, and yet we don’t venture out into the unknown. We’re more capable than we think we are a lot of the time – it’s true. 

So what are YOU intimidated to learn that could save you some cash if you just bit the bullet?  

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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