Imagine that you are in the middle of a forest. You look up and all you see are limbs and leaves. There is just enough light filtering through to prove the sun is in the sky. Twisting, you see more trees and thick shrubs, and over your shoulder is no different.
You are lost.
The way out is lost.
Looking down, you see no trail. With a couple hesitant steps, you slowly move forward. You turn around and go back. You pivot and try a new direction. Still nothing.
A couple more frantic steps. A scared run.
A rustling sound behind you causes a startled gasp to jar your senses. Turning around, you notice a fine mist appearing. It grows. Larger and thicker until it forms a human body.
As you stare with shallow breaths, it looks at you. Studies you with empty eyes.
Opening its mouth, the spirit commands you in a faint whisper, “Go.”
You don’t move.
The spirit squints its eyes and dons a firm expression. Raising its arm and pointing off into the distance, it continues, “Travel. There. No other.”
You stare. Not daring to look away.
With a soft breeze, the spirit evaporates. Catching your breath, you turn your eyes towards the direction the spirit pointed. And you start walking.
Feeling lost is never good. Every step you take seems to lead in the wrong direction. Part of the problem is you don’t know what the right direction is.
Scared families routinely grasp for quick solutions. They defer student loan payments, consolidate debt, take out payday loans, and visit pawn shops. Some of these actions help to stop by pain, but are they really solutions?
Budgeting is the plan that leads you in the right direction. It is hard work, and it takes time. As long as you know that you are taking steps in the direction you want to go, the frustration and that lost feeling goes away.
Having a plan in place comforts us when it seems like everything else is out of control. Not knowing what lies ahead of us is scary, but if we know what action to take when we hit those bumps in the road, we gather strength and confidence.
This story is not to teach anyone that life is simple or easy. It teaches us that knowing which direction to take that first step is worth something. In fact, it’s worth a lot.
If you feel lost with your money and your finances, please try budgeting. Give it 3-4 months to start working. Whether you get a book from the library or read other blog posts, just try.