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Fixing the Curtains

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CurtainsWhat do curtains have to do with personal finance?  Let me explain…

I was making some soup one day (Kale and Red Lentil from the Oh She Glows cookbook) and I was thinking about a blog I had written earlier that day about if when you are in a relationship should only one person handle the money.  I was thinking about why someone would want to give up control regarding money.  I’d never done that so I was trying to step back from my own personal situation to understand the logic for it.

The Curtain Conundrum:

Then I looked down at the curtains in my kitchen that were dragging on the floor and it clicked.  We hung some curtains in our kitchen and they were about 1 inch too long.  I really liked them but didn’t like that they dragged so I said that I would fix them instead of returning them.  However I made that promise to myself and Scott a month ago and still nothing was done.

Why hadn’t I addressed the Curtains?

I had no idea how to fix them.  Should I shorten them from the top or the bottom?  Do I need a sewing machine or could I do it by hand?  There were so many options to fix the problem but I couldn’t figure out the right one to pick.  But every time I looked at them I would feel frustrated with how they looked, frustrated with my lack of ability and then I would walk away and not deal with them because it was too overwhelming.  But let’s be serious they are curtains, how hard could it be?  I honestly believe you might be saying that to yourself right now.

Avoiding the Problems:

But here’s the thing MANY people feel the same way about money.  For example, you don’t like that you have credit card debt so you look at your statements, try to add it all up and then try to sift through a ton of information on how to solve the problem.  But just like my curtains there are so many ways to solve it.

Should you pay off highest balance first or highest interest charge?  Should you get a line of credit or consolidation loan so you are making one payment instead of several?  Should you roll the payment onto your mortgage, get a second job to pay your bills, negotiate your interest rate and so on and so on.  All of this information is overwhelming so you throw the bills in a drawer and try to forget until the next month when you see it again and the cycle continues.  There are too many options and you don’t know how to handle so you give up instead of trying.

Sometimes is takes a push from another person:

Eventually Scott put the curtains onto the weekend to-do list (yes I have a weekend to do list or I don’t feel productive) and then my hand was forced to figure it out.  I couldn’t walk away from fixing them.  In all honestly I was still avoiding it but then Scott had called me down as he had taken them off the rod so it was now or never to figure this out.

So I used some safety pins at the top and that allowed the rod to slide through a higher hole.  Is it perfect – no, but it looks a heck of a lot better than it did before and it’s progress.  If I’m being honest I likely would have ignored the curtains again for another weekend and then I would have gotten frustrated with myself over the lack of progress every time I was in the kitchen to see the curtains hanging on the floor.  I needed his support, since he knew I wasn’t thrilled with how the curtains looked, and he called me on fixing them.

Perfection isn’t your friend:

I do think many of us have the habit of avoiding things we aren’t good at especially if we have a bit of a perfection streak.  Many times I have been afraid to even start something for the fear of not doing it right.  One of the most powerful things I heard recently was “progress not perfection”.  I heard this from Marie Forleo and it changed the way I look at things.

Side note: Marie Forleo is super awesome and a super inspiring entrepreneur making a difference.  You should really check her website out.

This isn’t about doing a PERFECT job of paying off your debt, fixing a broken financial situation or fixing curtains.  It is about making progress and doing SOMETHING. You can always go back and adjust the plan if it didn’t work but you made progress instead of not doing anything.

[bctt tweet=”Consistent action is more important than a perfect plan.” username=”coupleofsense”]

You’re feeling overwhelmed:

So if you are feeling overwhelmed with your money situation or level of debt I encourage you to try to start doing something about it.  Stress over money is a huge issue in today’s society and doing something is better than doing nothing.  The reason why there are so many options to pay down your debt is because we are all different.  Different plans work and motivate us in a different ways.

There are also a ton of free resources on the web that you should check out.  On this site we have a free budget template and tons of posts about money and our experiences of how we handled the situations.  Also if you sign up for our newsletter we give you even more free tips right away.

If you feel like you need a kickstart:

If you are feeling overwhelmed and looking for some EXTRA personal support we have a solution.  We a program called the Budget Breakthrough: Take Control of Your Money in 30 Days.  We have designed it so it is easy to follow, helps you to learn or refine the basics of money management and keeps you accountable to your progress.  Communication is 100% via e-mail so you can progress and work on your budget when you have time.  We will have checkpoints throughout the 30 days to encourage you and answer any questions you might have.  Think of it as a 30 day budgeting class with your teacher on speed dial.

The focus is on learning the main skills we feel are important to money management: consistency and prioritization.  This is an investment in yourself and financial future so check out the page to learn if it is right for you.  There are more details about the program, FAQs and even a preview to the program guide.

Fix it:

Make sure you really understand what you are doing but do something.  Try to fix something today that you have been avoiding addressing.  Fix the curtains.  

Do you avoid things you aren’t sure how to fix, money or otherwise? Let me know in the comments below. 

Quote of the Week: “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.” Seth Godin

Take care  – Sarah

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  1. NZ Muse says:

    Oh man, this so perfectly sums up how I feel about like, every practical DIY task around the house!

    Great post and definitely insightful (as someone whose partner is definitely not money minded…)

    • Couple of Sense says:

      Thanks for sharing! Normally I love DIY but this stumped me for sure. I imagine that is how a lot of people feel about money.

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