My three older kids were all potty trained right around their second birthday. It’s actually pretty wonderful (and it saves money too)!
Once they get the hang of doing their business when they need to, they start to get a little lazy. Or maybe they are just over-confident. Either way, they don’t want their business to interrupt their fun, so they wait. They just can’t stop what their doing to be bothered with bodily functions. Simply put, pottying isn’t a priority.
Until it is.
And then sometimes it’s just too late. Which is unfortunate.
At some point the kids learn to embrace the subtle signs their bodies give before they escalate to emergency status. It’s a wonderful milestone.
While my four-year-old has been completely potty trained day and night for over two years, he still makes nearly every trip to the bathroom into an emergency. He waits until his bladder is nearly bursting, hurries into the bathroom, then proceeds to dance in front of the toilet for another twenty to thirty seconds (that’s a long time, when you’ve gotta go). The sound of his thumping feet gets my attention every time.
My first thought is: Why didn’t you go sooner? Surely you had plenty of warnings before the situation became so extreme!
My second thought is always: You’re there now, stop dancing and GO ALREADY!
What does this have to do with finances?
Financial problems don’t usually come on like a sudden heart attack. Like the urge to “go,” problems with money typically come with many warning signs and opportunities before disaster strikes.
Sure, terrible financial things do happen that can suddenly catch us off guard, but more often it starts subtly. Major problems can be avoided when we make proper preparations, pay attention to warning signs, and take advantage of the resources right in front of us.
Start Thinking Ahead
Before piling in the car to head out on a family excursion, we have the kids go to the bathroom and try, even if they are sure they don’t need to go. This forethought has prevented countless potty emergencies.
Thinking ahead and preparing will prevent financial emergencies too. Look ahead in your budget to address cashflow problems before all your bills are overdue and your pantry is empty. The time to save up an emergency fund is before there is an emergency. Without an emergency fund, everything becomes an emergency.
Stop Denying the Signs
“But I don’t need to go!” If you’re a mom, I’m sure you’ve heard that line. For us it’s often at dinner time that a child is having trouble sitting still and is showing obvious need-to-go signs. When confronted, the child inevitably denies up and down that he or she needs to go. Without fail, within twenty minutes, that same child is running off to the bathroom in a hurry. I’m not a prophet, but I am quick to pick up on the signs.
Financially speaking, are you in denial that there is something you need to address? Maybe you’ve had a gut feeling that you need to get serious about saving for retirement. Maybe it’s time to take inventory of all of those unopened credit card statements and collections letters that you’ve been stashing in your desk drawer.
Just like a child caught up in a fun game, are you too distracted by what’s going on in your life to take care of financial business that could become an emergency in a matter of time?
Use the Resources Right in Front of Us
The part that is especially comical about my four-year-old is that his near accidents (and occasionally an actual accident) happen when the resource he needs is right in front of him. He is there– right where he needs to be– but he can’t stop dancing long enough to pull down his pants!
Are the resources or opportunities to fix your finances staring you in the face? Maybe you have purchased budgeting software, but haven’t started using it. Maybe you are desperate to free up some funds in your budget to get ahead (or keep from getting behind), but instead of cutting the cable you’re doing the potty dance in front of the TV. Maybe you even have my book, but haven’t worked through all 28 days yet.
It’s time to use the resources and opportunities that are readily available to you instead of dancing around in discomfort.
Stop Doing The Financial Potty Dance
Reducing your expenses and sticking to a budget are great places to start. My book, Frugal Fresh Start leads you down a practical path for reducing your expenses and building a budget, by giving you actionable challenges that can be customized to your situation.
You might think that your finances aren’t in a good place because you don’t make enough money. However, before focusing on earning more income to help you improve your finances, you need to make sure you’re making the most of the money that you already have.
I’ll Remind You!
As I’m working to train my kids to be responsible and timely bathroom users, instead of potty dancers, I do lots of reminding. I remind them to think ahead, stop denying the signs and use the resources that are right in front of them.
I don’t stop there though. I try to help them see the bigger picture and realize the broader benefits of not having to risk an accident with the potty dancing
I guess that’s what I do here too! I want you to be successful at transforming your finances and reaching your financial goals. I write my posts and emails to help remind you to, essentially, stop doing the financial potty dance. I want you to start working to fix your finances now instead of waiting until you have a financial emergency on your hands. By setting goals you’ll be able to focus on the bigger picture which is made up of your daily decisions.
As in most things that are worth doing, it’s easier said than done, but don’t let that hold you back. You can do this!
How about you?
- In what ways have you caught yourself doing the “financial potty dance?”
- What do you need to fix in your finances now before you have an emergency on your hands?
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