I grew up with a family that never had extra cash. I learned lots of good budgeting and frugal living lessons from my mom. I might have been the only person doing the envelope system with my 50 cent allowance at age 5. I made it most of the way through my 20s with a savings account and no debt. I was on top of this stuff! But then I encountered real grief for the first time. No one mentioned emotional health and it's effect on your finances.
My dad died every suddenly in 2008. I went through all the emotional stages. They took longer than I thought. And I wasn't prepared that the resulting depression meant I wouldn't care. I am not the type to not care. I didn't budget. I didn't track. I didn't care.
For the rest of the year and the following two years, I didn't track anything. I traveled, I shopped, I ate out. I had never carried a credit card balance in my life, but somewhere in there, I let the balance roll over. I budgeted sometimes, but only to make sure I could make the next minimum payment. (I never missed any of those thankfully.)
I finally started to care again in 2010. I was scared by what I saw in my accounts. I moved to find cheaper rent at the beginning of 2011. I cracked down and restarted my mint.com account several months later and studied where my money was going. I found a LOT of money in my budget that is now going towards erasing those credit cards.
You might ask what being single has to do with anything.
To generalize, the single girl is selfish and unaccountable. My paycheck is solely to take care of ME and NO ONE else knows what's going on in my finances. This probably applies to guys as well, but I'm a girl, so there we go. If I had been married when my dad died, there would be a husband to see and identify my depression and protect the budget from me. And if I had a family to think of, I would have faced my financial issues sooner instead of indulging in my selfishness.
There is a spiritual side to finances (my money is not my own), but I wasn't paying attention to that either.
When Brittany Spears went crazy a while ago and shaved her head, her father was appointed her conservator. I thought that was controlling and weird, but I get it now. We know that we can't live in a vacuum, that we need relationship and support. And now I know that includes finances. I've learned that a level headed girl with a decent income needs accountability.
My single status is not all that single now days. The Boyfriend and I have talked about finances. It's been good. It's made me stop and think about my spending so much more. It's made me count the cost of overspending. And the cost is steep.
Have you seen your emotions effect your finances? Have you considered accountability as a safeguard?