Three Things I Never did to Fix My Finances

by David Bakke

fix my financesEverywhere I look I see all the ways there are under the sun to fix your finances. You have to do this, you have to do that. You have to track this, you have to stay on schedule for that.

As someone who dug themselves out of a financial hole as deep as they come, I thought it might be helpful to tell you about some of the things that I NEVER did to fix my finances.

Here goes:

Put Myself on a Budget-Believe it or not, I never did this. I know that this might be needed for some, but honestly I never needed it. I knew that the reason that I got in so deep financially was because of reckless spending and not being organized (there is a difference between being organized and being on a budget). Also, I started to actually care about my finances. If you focus completely on eliminating unnecessary spending (which is probably pretty significant if you’re in debt) then putting yourself on a budget becomes irrelevant.

Tracking My Expenses-This kind of build upon the last point. If you concentrate on eliminating spending rather than tracking what you do spend, then you can take the “tracking” exercise out of the equation. I knew that I spent too much on “convenience” items (Cokes, sweets, etc), so why should I write it down? Rather, I just worked on ways to eliminate them entirely.

Setting Goals-Yes, that’s right, I never ever set a goal for myself. Except for the obvious one of getting out of debt. At my worst point, I was probably about $30K in debt, so I didn’t see the point in saying “OK, in six months, I only want to be $25K in debt” and so on and so forth. The numbers were just too huge.

Rather, I stuck my proverbial head down, dug in, and plowed forward until it was over with. And until it was over with, a big part of me didn’t want to know where I was at financially.

Now, I know a lot of this flies directly in the face of most solid financial advice out there, I am just telling you what worked for me. If you need any of the tools mentioned above, by all means use them. I just knew that for me, most of this stuff did not focus on the end result, which was getting out of debt for good.

Agree? Disagree? Please give me your feedback below

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January 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm


1 George January 18, 2010 at 5:36 am

Since this flies in the face of most personal finance advice out there, I assume lots of people will disagree. But I like the approach of not setting a budget and not tracking all your expenses. When I do these things, I find it difficult not to obsess about every little detail. And this is neither healthy or particularly fun. So I try to avoid it. Simply having a good idea of how much money you have available to spend every day/week/month and then sticking to it without being a slave to the minutia can be very helpful.

As for not setting goals, when you have that one major goal of getting out of debt as soon as possible, and you’re focused on it, I don’t know if it necessarily matters if you set interim goals.

2 Lana - DreamFollowers Blog January 18, 2010 at 9:22 am

hmmmm, interesting approach, as always this is another proof that there is not one “truth” out there and everyone has to find exactly what works for them. Thanks for sharing, David!
.-= Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..I Don’t Believe In Religion But I Talked To God Today =-.

3 David January 18, 2010 at 10:21 am


Well, I think it also shows that we all need to take a “whatever works for you” approach in anything that we do.

Thanks for following

4 David Bakke January 18, 2010 at 10:26 am

George, you really hit the nail on the head. Budgeting and tracking is neither healthy nor fun.

And to me, sometimes, short-term goal-setting can get in the way of reaching the overall goal.

I’ve gotten a lot of heat on this position, especially in other arenas where I’ve discussed my approach. I actually plan on a follow up post discussing my views further.

Thanks for sharing, stay focused on your long-term stuff and stay tuned for my follow up post.
.-= David´s last blog ..Three Things I Never did to Fix My Finances =-.

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