I had the flu the first week of spring semester. It’s a rarity for me to miss three days of work in a row for illness. Especially at a busy time. But the flu is the flu. I didn’t want to share it.
While I was recovering I couldn’t help but think how the flu is like an onion. It’s layer after layer of symptoms. As soon as the fever broke, I realized that I was light-headed. When I was finally able to breathe again, I realized that I was achy. It was just layer after layer of symptoms, and the more difficult outer ones were distracting me from the lesser ones hidden underneath.
Money works like an onion too. Big financial challenges make you ignore smaller ones that really deserve your attention. A giant pile of credit card debt distracts you from the fact that you haven’t started saving for retirement. You worry about your student loan balance so much that you fail to pay other bills on time. You’re so concerned about paying the rent for the whole semester that you forget to budget enough money to buy groceries. There’s always another layer.
Luckily money is a little easier to deal with than the flu. If you look at things right it’s possible to see all of the issues. It’s like taking a knife and chopping through the onion so you can see all of the layers at once. You can (should) make a list of all the different money issues that are concerning you and tackle them in an order that makes sense for you. You don’t have to peel away the bigger outer layers first. A budget (or spending plan if the B word scares you) can help you plan your attack. Putting it all out in writing (or spreadsheet) can make a world of difference in seeing where you stand and where it makes sense to start.
So many things in life are layered like an onion. But with your finances, you are able to chop it up and attack it in a way that works.