You’ve probably heard the phrase “Don’t cry over spilled milk” and are wondering what it has to do with financial wellness. Let us explain. Spilled milk means things that have happened like mistakes, errors, regrets, etc. They are in the past and can’t be changed. But sometimes we continue to worry, and beat ourselves up over them, and lose focus on the bigger things ahead of us. This old, but wise, saying is suggesting we should focus on TODAY and what we can control in the future. Leave those mistakes in the past.
Let’s say you’ve created a budget for important goals you are determined to achieve (saving to buy a home, pay off debt, fun vacation, etc). You were doing well for several months, keeping a close eye on your spending, putting extra money in savings and getting closer to those goals. Then life happened and you got a little off course. Your washing machine stopped working. You’ve already stopped at the coffee shop for your favorite latte (3 times) which wasn’t in your budget. You put a few extra charges on the credit card that you didn’t plan for after some late night shopping when you received an email about a great sale going on. You anxiously check your budget and see that you’ve gone a little over, maybe even a lot over. Now you feel off track and defeated, your goals are shot for the year. Not true! This is just a little bit of spilled milk! Life is constantly changing and your budget may have to ebb and flow a little too. First of all, your rainy day fund should cover the repairs on your washer. Just remember to replenish the funds used over the next few months. Next, go back and revisit your goals. Are they still your goals? Reviewing your goals and reminding yourself why you created them will help re-energize you to get back on track. Now, review your budget. Have your income or “must pay” expenses changed? Is the amount you need for your goal still accurate? Update as needed. Adjust the other things that are not as important (and unsubscribe to those late night sale emails!) You just have to make the numbers work.
If you’re still crying over spilled milk and need help getting refocused, reviewing your goals and creating or adjusting your budget, reach out to a BrightDime coach. We are here to help.