The Day It Clicked

I had a very interesting conversation with a good friend yesterday.  We were talking about our finances (he reads No Credit Needed and I asked his permission to share a bit of our conversation with you guys) and he said –

I think that the most important thing, no matter the system that you use for managing your money, is that you have to have a day where it just “clicks” – a day when you decide to take control of your finances.  After that, it’s all a matter of finding a system that works for you.

I think there is a lot of merit to what my friend said.  For me, it clicked more than four years ago, when I decided to put my credit cards in my wallet and get out of debt.  Since then, I’ve learned a lot about personal finance management, but nothing that I have learned has been as important as that initial decision to actually do something about my situation.

In a strange way, even though it took me nearly a year to get out of debt, I was already free that first day.  Just knowing that I had decided to make a change – and that my life would be different from that day forward – was powerful, in and of itself.  Now, of course, I had to actually go about the business of getting out of debt, but that was the easy part.

When I look back, I’m shocked that it took me so long to get my act together.  I’m sure that some of you feel the same way, about yourselves, as well.  Thank goodness for second (and third, and forth) chances!  At this point, I’m just happy that it finally did click!  The system may change, over time, buy my commitment, born that day four years ago, never will.

10 thoughts on “The Day It Clicked

  1. We will be celebrating our first anniversary of The Day It Clicked next month. In June of 2008, we suddenly realized we’d never be able to reach our goals unless we made some major financial decisions. 11 months later, we’ve saved up an emergency fund and shed about $18,00 in debt.

    We’re different now – much more careful with our money, and more creative about having fun on the cheap.

  2. Loved this post, I almost cried because I applied to every area of my life where I am struggling and you are right – CLICK – I am free the moment I make that commitment….thank you for sharing!


  3. That’s the thing about personal finance – people have to realize they have a problem before they can do anything about it.
    I’ve tried helping out my brother but he doesn’t think he has a problem. He seems to think that he was rights to own certain things … even if it means going in debt.

  4. One of my friends had been building debt for years, interest (30% rate), and missing payments. A year ago, he had a life changing event (engagement) that made him want to take control of his finances. He now has two jobs and expects to be debt free in 3 months. I think its really some life-event that causes someone to take control of their finances.

  5. Interesting post….. I think the time when it clicked for me was twofold… or two times…. once, for investing: sometime early in 2008, I realized how much more I needed to ramp up my investing. And the second time, for debt reduction, almost exactly a year later, when I saw ahead three years into the future and knew I didn’t want to have to deal with these cc balances anymore. But I was never in much financial trouble to begin with, so these “clicks” weren’t very dramatic. But still important for me…

  6. I have ALWAYS been in control of my finances (although that doesnt mean i’ve saved as much as i could have).

    That’s because lack of control was a signature feature of my childhood, with early divorce, 3 different step parents, a kidnapping by one parent over visitation issues with the other, and frequent moves injecting instability and upheaval into my life in a really big way.

    Controlling my financial future and security, as well as buying my own home as a single woman, were big deals to me, given my background. I’ve never earned much more than average, but am very good at saving; right now, i save about 45% of my income, mainly becus my biggest life goal is financial independence in 10 years time.

  7. I do financial counseling with people in financial trouble, and I agree with your assessment that it needs to click. So often I get the “deer in the headlights” look from people who just don’t get it, or don’t want to get it. But then sometimes there comes a moment – maybe after drawing up a budget and showing them that they are $200 – $400 a month negative, that it begins to dawn on them that the ship is sinking.

    Thanks for a great post.

  8. November 15th, 2007

    The day I said “enough!”. The day I bought Quicken. The day I started tracking every penny earned and spent. The day that changed everything.

    The day it “clicked”…

  9. I’m so glad it clicked too! It clicked for me almost two years ago when my sister mentioned perusing personal finance blogs. I never knew such a thing existed. Less than three months later I had started a budget for our family (our first), had started my personal finance blog and was well on my way to ridding my family of debt. Now, we are debt free but mortgage and working to build our emergency fund. Thank God it clicked for us! And thank you for your No Credit Needed Network. Seeing that purple pie piece shrink each month was very motivating! And that yellow pie is heavenly!

  10. In August 2007 I became aware that a couple of hedge funds at Bear Stearns had blown up. Having seen more than one Wall Street induced financial crisis I thought “Not again.” As I learned more about what the banksters had done, I quickly realized that this was orders of magnitude worse than anything I had seen before.

    By September 2007 my husband and I had done a complete financial assessment. We moved our investments to cash and committed ourselves to getting totally out of debt. By September of this year we will have reduced our total debt, including the house, by half, leaving us on target to be completely out of debt by early 2011.

    This has required some sacrifice and some extra work but has defintely been worth it. We have a mini-cash buffer now that could cover about 3 months of expenses if needed and have so much less debt that, so far, we are living through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in calm.

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