The Diary of a Budgeter – Day 43

Bobbi Olson Articles, The Diary of a Budgeter

Giving money a “time out”

Woo hoo! Tax season has finally begun! I’m so excited; I did my taxes on January 31st, but have been waiting to file, since they delayed the start date this year. In a week or two, the refund should hit my bank account! I’d love to have it today, but I can wait.

What if I felt like I couldn’t wait? What if I was stressed about making ends meet? It would be tempting to take advantage of the refund loans/advances that seem to be gaining popularity. It’s a nice thought, great for those who are stressed about money, but what’s the cost?

I hate to be a cynic, but I always question these things – nothing is that easy. You’re telling me you’re going to advance my refund out of the goodness of your heart? What fees aren’t you telling me about? What’s the interest on this loan?

Truthfully, I haven’t looked into this very much, so maybe there is someone out there who’s willing to advance this money without any fees or interest, but I highly doubt it and would carefully read the fine print, before signing up for this!

It’s so sad, because a lot of people are hurting financially right now – and this seems like a quick fix to the pain they’re tired of dealing with. But desperate times result in bad decisions – decisions that are highly regrettable later because they were made in a moment of panic.

I’ve learned that, in these moments, the best thing I can do is give my money a “time out;” send it to the corner and tell it not to come out for at least an hour. That gives me time to really think through the decision.

The problems I’m facing now will still be there in an hour. If I don’t give in to the pressure of someone telling me to decide right this minute, I won’t be any worse off. That pressure is a red flag and I refuse to respond to it.

This certainly doesn’t mean push it aside and refuse to deal with it. That can be worse than bowing to the pressure. But I believe one of the smartest things we, as individuals, can do is take the time to think through any significant financial decision. Anyone who won’t allow you that time is suspect, in my view.

It’s amazing what a brainstorming session can do – even if you’re just brainstorming by yourself – although an extra pair of eyes/ears is always helpful for more ideas. It may be that there’s a much better alternative than taking a loan or advance against your tax refund.

So give your money a “time out” and use that time to think rationally. Then, make the best decision for your money and your life!

If you want an extra pair of eyes/ears for your brainstorming session, reach out to me and let’s chat!