I make no secrets about it. A sis was broke. Poor. Down and out. With a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out of….
And while we can easily connect that to my childhood because I grew up in poverty, this reality carried over into my adulthood too, through a lack of knowledge, understanding, skills, and more.
And, if I’m being really honest, there are times when that shadow is circulating real close…too close for comfort…even now as a CEO and Professor.
Also, some of it is based on this capitalistic society. Some of it is based on the fact that I like nice shit (heck - I’m an #8 in numerology AND a Virgo which equals a broke budget hahaha!). Some of it is child-rearing (my parents couldn’t teach what they didn’t know…but what they did teach, stuck with me: Pay your bills before you hang out…and don’t use your credit card unless you have money to pay it off by the end of the month). And, lastly, some of it is, to put it simply, a lack of budgeting.
Yup, budgeting. I mean…what the heck is budgeting? It’s nothing but another layer of discipline, restraint, and a headache that just won’t let me live. :)
But, you know, that budgeting piece seems so logical, right? I mean, I have a budget for Onyx and we rock out. I have a mental track of what is due each month and that has been helpful too. And, I teach my children about budgeting and they actually do it (well for the most part). However, your sis right here...ha, she plays too many games with money.
And, this is a vulnerable post so if I see you laughing at me, we are going to be fighting in the streets. So, have empathy and compassion for me as I walk you through my realization of budgeting, ok? Ok. Thank you :)
This year, I had to start thinking about all the expenses for 2022, to include my daughter heading off to college, my wife’s birthday trip to South Africa, my son’s sports team and travel, my own desires…and more. And, while I am not the sole breadwinner in my household, I do take on more responsibility because I am the biological mother of both kids (that’s a blog for another day…but remember we all have choices and this one is mine). Nonetheless, I had a clear picture and $$ amount of what 2022 would look like…and a clear picture of what I had and didn’t have…and shit got real…because I had more wants/desires/needs than…cash.
Ok. Let’s pause here.
So, I started a fasting group for some people that are close in my life. Each Wednesday, we fast for 12-24 hours, pray for ourselves and each other, and strive to get closer to God through obedience, silence, clarity, and peace. And for months, my prayer and fasting has centered on God’s use of my finances and my obedience to financial discipline. And let me tell you, it’s been a powerful thing.
So, I hear God and the ancestors. And the first thing I heard was: Create a budget.
OMG, that’s so simple…right? Why are they making me do that? Well I’ll tell you, it’s because we can’t change what we don’t force ourselves to look at. Just like in therapy, we can’t change a behavior if we don’t force ourselves to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings.
Nonetheless, I decided to be obedient and create a budget for myself. It was intimidating to know that I could be spending more than earning, spending more than saving, and just spending more…But it forced me to also look at what I was spending on…and WHY. That “and why” piece is what’s actually changing my life. Am I spending because I’m being impulsive? Am I spending because I had a bad week and want something nice? Am I spending because all the commercials say, “I deserve it?” Am I spending because I’m super generous? Am I spending to impress others? Am I spending because…I can and there was a point in my life when I couldn’t?
Over the past couple months, I’ve asked myself all these questions and got answers for most…and that makes me feel good because this task to budget also connects to my spirituality, my child-rearing, my position within systems, and my core thoughts and behaviors which all leads to…drum roll please…self-awareness.
Yup, you got it folks. Budgeting is more than just management of something external…it has full connections and correlations to…self.
So, as you proceed with this month, this year, and the upcoming years, please ask yourself…do I budget? Why or why not? What does this mean to me? And…how does this impact my own self-awareness?
See you soon folks and don’t forget to register for our “Black Mental Health x Black Relationships, Part 2” panel on September 16th at 7pm. :)