Snoop Dogg says it best, “I got my mind on my money, my money on my mind.” This has been me for at least the past 5 years of my life. After making some really poor financial decisions (never loan money and NEVER co-sign for anyone), the recovery process has been long and challenging. I am finally getting to the point where I feel confident with myself and my dolla billz. But these past few weeks have had my head spinning with thoughts about expenses, working poor, and wages.
I know the old adage that money can’t buy happiness. But money problems definitely take a toll on your life. They bring unhappiness. And anxiety. And depression. And a loss of hope.
I’m sure my story isn’t unique. I graduated University several year ago with a reasonable amount of student debt (thankfully, not as high as many other people I know). I got a great paying government job. I was living the dream. Instead of paying off my loans, I did what I wanted. I traveled a lot, spent money recklessly, and ended up dating someone who saw this as a great opportunity for themselves. (Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence. Read about it over at the National Network to End Domestic Violence).
A downward spiral ensued a few years later. 9 months of unemployment, an ex who stopped paying his car loan, a racked up credit card from cash advances for said ex, and a hefty bill to avoid bankruptcy. Not only was I facing a legit mental health crisis, I was also in a financial crisis and struggling to stay afloat.
I gotta tell you, this was not only the hardest time I have ever had to overcome, it was also the most rewarding. Those hard lessons made me learn how to manage my money like a boss.
This doesn’t mean I have all of my debts paid off and am basking in rich glory. Not at all – I pay my bills on time, budget in a way that’s almost unhealthy, am steadily paying off the last of my student loan, and am slowly working on saving for a down payment. I use You Need A Budget to keep myself accountable, to track every expense, and to set goals.
This week, talk of the $15 minimum wage in Ontario took over my newsfeeds. And then anxiety about finances took over my life.
I started stressing about all the negative rhetoric; how this move will have devastating consequences. Not only for business owners, and minimum wage workers whose jobs will get cut, but also for me. My wage won’t be worth the same anymore. My buying power will go down. I will start creeping back towards the financial hole that I just worked really hard to get out of.
I’m not sure what’s actually going to happen. Groceries, utilities, rent, fuel – these costs already seem out of control and are increasing at an alarming rate. Will there be a big impact once wages increase? I don’t know.
What I do know is that I’m going to spend the next year and a half doing just what I have been doing: budgeting. Setting goals. Dreaming bigger dreams. Keeping myself accountable. And making sure that I am confident that I’ll be ok, even as the prices of everything continues to rise.
What do you think about this wage increase announcement? Does it scare you? Do you believe any of the repercussions that you’re reading about? Do you think it’s a positive step in the right direction?
Keep your heads up, darlings. We’re all in this challenging economy together.